Prototech Laser, one of the longest running metal fabrication companies in the State of Michigan was chosen by NanoSteel, a research-based steel products company, as its selected fabricator to help with the prototype and eventual production of the Joint Modular Intermodal Container (JMIC) for the United States Military.

With the unique characteristics of NanoSteel material, and the extensive fabricating experience of Prototech Laser, the companies partnered with the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NAVSEA) to design a collapsible, re-usable container for the shipment of ammunition for use by the American Military.

This container, the Joint Modular Intermodal Container (JMIC) is capable of total payload of 4,500 pounds and can be easily secured into ships, aircraft and trucks. The previous JMIC’s did not have the puncture resistance to withstand the harsh environments encountered with heavy loads and sharp corners of payload such as an ammunition can/container.

NanoSteel was founded in 2002 to develop steel products based on research completed at the U.S. Department of Energy, NanoSteel launched its initial products in 2003 as steel-based coatings while continuing to expand the technology into sheet steel. NanoSteel has created an extensive portfolio of over 100 patents worldwide (filed & granted) supporting its sheet steel technology.

NanoSteel steels are comprised of microstructures containing grain and matrix sizes smaller than 100 nanometers (10⁻⁹m) – up to 3 orders of magnitude smaller than conventional steels. These nano-scale microstructures are the basis for the unique mechanical and physical properties in the Company’s materials. Through the development of a unique strengthening mechanism, the product is able to achieve very high strength while providing high levels of formability (elongation), not previously possible from sheet steel.

As the JMIC design was finalized, the use of NanoSteel and the required development to manufacture a product with a new material required a trusted partner. NanoSteel found that partner in Prototech Laser who was able to develop bending, welding, machining, and painting procedures for the initial JMIC design. “Prototech, with its extensive fabricating experience, specifically with exotic materials, was the perfect partner for this project”, declares NanoSteel President Craig Parsons.

Prototech Laser, a Michigan based metal fabricating company specializing in laser technology, was the perfect partner for NanoSteel on this project. “We’ve been working with specialized types of steel for many years in this industry, so when we got the call from NanoSteel to assist in this project, we jumped at the opportunity” states Ed Genord, Prototech’s President.

Prototech was involved with the manufacturability and product design of the enhanced product and the build of the initial prototypes for functionality testing. The operations included; laser cutting, metal forming and bending, machining, welding and assembly.

The initial design was modified for manufacturability and cost optimization by the Prototech and NAVSEA teams. The JMIC destructive and non-destructive testing procedures demonstrated a need for several modifications. “The turnaround time from Prototech to make these changes and the functionality of the improved product made it possible to have a JMIC ready for final testing well in advance of the schedule”, states Parsons. “This was a big feather in our cap moving forward. It substantially increased our credibility with the decision makers.”

The initial JMIC was presented to the US Marine Corps at the September 2019 Modern Marine Show. The design and quality fabrication provided by Prototech were noted by all. The revised design JMIC is in the final stages of destructive testing prior to the construction of pre-production models that will be provided for USMC Fleet Testing.

The partnership between the NAVSEA, NanoSteel, and Prototech demonstrated a true partnership and reduced the time from design, modification, to testing.

Prototech Laser is a national leader in full-service metal fabrication and laser cutting in Michigan, the Midwest, and Beyond. Our innovative team is particularly adept at taking existing technologies and modifying or customizing them to meet unique customer needs. If you have any questions regarding metal fabrication and laser cutting services call 586-598-6900 and speak to a Specialist today.