Minnesota Wire’s R&D division, Minnovate, has been awarded a Phase One Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract by the U.S. Army’s Program Executive Office (PEO) for Aviation. The objective of the R&D project, titled “Lightweight EMI Resistant Wiring Solutions,” is to demonstrate and develop technologies that can reduce the electromagnetic interference (EMI) susceptibility and impact of both existing and future power wiring harnesses on Army helicopters.

Minnovate’s R&D Team will examine possible solutions for the Army’s needs, ranging from exotic coatings to innovative packaging techniques for wire harnesses. Minnovate was selected for the highly competitive contract in large part based on its proven successes with similar programs such as: Prognostic Health Management (PHM); Fatigue Resistant Wire (FRW); extremely lightweight non-metallic wire; and the use of carbon nanotube (CNT) material for advanced conductors and shields. Some of Minnovate’s R&D efforts are now being commercialized for medical and industrial products. One re-

cent example is the company’s “Stretch” wire for applications that include apparel, earphones and medical interconnects. The elastomeric properties of the wire, now under a patent pending, began with an Army need for improved electrical assemblies on its Future Force Warrior vests for Soldiers.

According to Chip Laingen, Communications Director, the latest program will be dubbed “Wakanda,” a Sioux name meaning “possesses magical power.” “The research will be used primarily to benefit the Army’s helicopter fleet that is growing in size and technical complexity, and hence the use of a Native American name,” said Laingen. “U.S. Army helicopters are named for tribes, such as Apache, Lakota and Chinook.”

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