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Automated coating removal from germanium-based substrates



OBJECTIVE: The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) seeks to provide responsive, best value supplies consistently to our customers. DLA continually investigates diverse technologies for manufacturing which would lead to the highest level of innovation in the discrete-parts support of fielded weapon systems (many of which were designed in the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s) with a future impact on both commercial technology and government applications. As such, advanced technology demonstrations for affordability and advanced industrial practices to demonstrate the combination of improved discrete-parts manufacturing and improved business methods are of interest. All these areas of manufacturing technologies provide potential avenues toward achieving breakthrough advances. Proposed efforts funded under this topic may encompass any specific discrete-parts or materials manufacturing or processing technology at any level resulting in a unit cost reduction. Research and Development efforts selected under this topic shall demonstrate and involve a degree of risk where the technical feasibility of the proposed work has not been fully established. Further, proposed efforts must be judged to be at a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6 or less, but greater than TRL 3 to receive funding consideration. TRL 3. (Analytical and Experimental Critical Function and/or Characteristic Proof of Concept) TRL 6. (System/Subsystem Model or Prototype Demonstration in a Relevant Environment) 

DESCRIPTION: The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) is seeking to identify a domestic capability that demonstrates the ability to develop an automated coating removal system from germanium substrates. Automated coating removal system is critical to preserve the germanium substrates from traditional methods of coating removals, such as chemical etching or excessive grinding. Many of these coatings contains thorium, a radioactive and hazardous material and the proper removal ensures that the germanium substrate could be re-used or recycled into new products. Defense weapon systems use germanium in various forms and proper recovery of germanium from demilitarized weapon assemblies create secure and reliable supplies and could facilitate the establishment of a viable, competitive domestic supply chain. The best candidates will identify and develop automated removal process for coatings that includes but are not limited to thorium and carbon black. 

PHASE I: Determine, insofar as possible, the scientific, technical and commercial feasibility of the concept. Include a plan to demonstrate the innovative discrete-parts manufacturing process and address implementation approaches for near term insertion into the manufacture of Department of Defense (DoD) systems, subsystems, components or parts. 

PHASE II: Develop applicable and feasible process demonstration for the approach described, and demonstrate a degree of commercial viability. Validate the feasibility of the innovative process by demonstrating its use in the production, testing, and integration of items for DLA. Validation would include, but not be limited to, prototype quantities, data analysis, laboratory tests, system simulations, operation in test-beds, or operation in a demonstration system. A partnership with a current or potential supplier to DLA, OEM, or other suitable partner is highly desirable. Identify commercial benefit or application opportunities of the innovation. Innovative processes should be developed with the intent to readily transition to production in support of DLA and its supply chains. 

PHASE III: Technology transition via successful demonstration of a new process technology. This demonstration should show near-term application to one or more Department of Defense systems, subsystems, or components. This demonstration should also verify the potential for enhancement of quality, reliability, performance and/or reduction of unit cost or total ownership cost of the proposed subject. Private Sector Commercial Potential: Material manufacturing improvements, including development of domestic manufacturing capabilities, have a direct applicability to all defense system technologies. Material manufacturing technologies, processes, and systems have wide applicability to the defense industry including air, ground, sea, and weapons technologies. Competitive material manufacturing improvements should have leverage into private sector industries as well as civilian sector relevance. Many of the technologies under this topic would be directly applicable to other DoD agencies, NASA, and any commercial manufacturing venue. Advanced technologies for material manufacturing would directly improve production in the commercial sector resulting in reduced cost and improved productivity. 



2:  (The) 2015 Strategic and Critical Materials Report on Stockpile Requirements


Vaibhav Jain 

(571) 767-8839 

Brian Gabriel 

(571) 767-0868 

Denise Price 

(571) 767-0111 

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