Minnesota Wire’s R&D Division Wins U.S. Army Research Contract

IDGA Editor

St. Paul, Minnesota: 09/08/2010 – Minnesota Wire’s R&D division, Minnovate, today announced that it was awarded a Phase One Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract by the U.S. Army’s Program Executive Office (PEO) for Aviation. The R&D project is titled "Lightweight EMI Resistant Wiring Solutions." Its objective is to demonstrate and develop technologies to reduce the electromagnetic interference (EMI) susceptibility and impact of both existing and future power wiring harnesses on Army aviation platforms.

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 recent example is the company’s iStretch ™ 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."

Minnovate has won nearly $6 million in federal R&D contracts since 2003, including SBIR contracts and Broad Agency Announcements (BAAs) from the military services; and in 2007 Minnovate won the coveted national Tibbetts Award for R&D excellence. Minnesota Wire is a vertically integrated, custom manufacturer for wire, cable and interconnect assemblies to the Medical, Defense and Industrial markets. The company is a market and R&D leader in: electrical signal integrity; low noise cable; radio-translucent wire; and innovative connections for wearable electronics, patient monitoring systems and leading-edge medical devices.

The 30,000 square foot headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota boasts a full R&D and test and measurement center, an Electromagnetic Capabilities (EMC) chamber for electronic pre-compliance testing and a "wet lab" for its nanotechnology applications. Another high-volume, 58,000 square foot focused-cell, lean production facility is located in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. MWCC is ISO 9001: 2008 certified, ISO 13485: 2003 compliant, ROHS compliant, and is a MIL-STD and IPC-620 certified harness manufacturer.