Reusable MATPAC Packaging System for Expeditionary Airfields
AREA(S): Air Platform, Battlespace, Materials/Processes
PROGRAM: PMA251 Aircraft Launch & Recovery Equipment (ALRE)
Develop a reusable packaging system for shipping and storing AM2 MATPACs.
The Expeditionary Airfield (EAF) Integrated Product Team (IPT) team and the
Fleet have identified a need for a reusable securing system for shipping and
storing AM2 MATPACs. The EAF Marines are tasked with rapid deployment and
operation of expeditionary airfields in any feasible location around the world.
A MATPAC is eighteen (18) sheets of either 6 or 12-foot aluminum AM2 mat,
stacked and bound. It can also be a package where AM2 mat is used as dunnage to
create a secure box to ship lighting and accessories. AM2 mat is either 6’ by
1.5” by 2’ (weight 75 lbs) or 12’ by 1.5” by 2’ (weight 150 lbs).
The heaviest MATPAC, a version that contains lighting fixtures, has a total
weight of 3,500 lbs. The most lightweight version contains 6’ AM2 matting and
weighs 1,475 lbs. Current reusable pack banding technology, like ratchet
strapping, is not strong enough and is too flexible to handle the weight of the
MATPAC. These options are also not suitable for the ultraviolet (UV) conditions
MATPACs are exposed to since they are stored outside in the elements. The
currently fielded securing method is to use steel banding, which results in
excess dunnage for the receiving location. The large number of MATPACs and the
frequency of shipping have also resulted in excessive impact on the EAF budget.
The banding on MATPACs in storage must be broken and replaced annually, further
impacting cost and labor.
Currently, EAF is spending $1.37 million annually on steel banding, which
breaks down to $20-$35 per MATPAC for standard banding and $5 per MATPAC for
“belly banding.” The standard banding method is to stack the mats, place steel
end frames on either end and band the end frames to one another in an “X”
across the front and back of the stack. This prevents the mat from shifting
around in transit. “Belly banding” is used when the mat is sent back for
refurbishment. This involves stacking the mat and simply banding around the
stack twice, no end frames. Standard banding uses 75’ of banding for 6’ MATPACs
and 120’ for 12’ MATPACs while belly banding only uses 20’. When the MATPACs
arrive on site and are cut open, the discarded banding can result in 4-5
truckloads of banding that has to be removed.
The EAF Marines are an expeditionary force so a premium is placed on weight,
size, and maneuverability, which impose a few constraints on any solutions. EAF
Marines must be prepared to operate in any feasible climate, a requirement that
extends to their equipment as well. Any securing system proposed must be
capable of withstanding the temperature, humidity, and UV conditions that it
will be exposed to during shipment and in operation. MIL-STD-810G Part Three
[Ref 1] contains information regarding climactic conditions. EAF equipment must
function in all four climactic design types (Hot, Basic, Cold, and Severe Cold)
to include all daily cycles [Ref 1 - A1, B3, B1, B2, A2, A3, C1, C2]. The mats
are placed on a flat rack for shipment and to save room they must sit flush
next to each other. The solution must be low profile and cannot protrude out at
all from the MATPAC itself. Storage space is limited so when not in use, the
solution should be able to be stored or shipped back easily. The solution can
utilize the current end frames but that is not required as long as the solution
protects the edges of the mat, secures the locking bars shipped with the
MATPACS, provides a surface for identification markings, and fully encloses the
ends of the MATPACS. A locking bar is .188" thick, .625" wide and
comes in lengths of 1, 2 and 6 feet. The number and size of the locking bars
included will depend on the contents of the MATPAC. The options are:
20 2-foot locking bars
22 6-foot locking bars
56 1-foot locking bars
36 1-foot locking bars
40 1-foot locking bars
31 1-foot locking bars and 2-foot locking bars
144 1-foot locking bars
120 2-foot locking bars
MATPACs are moved by a forklift and stacked on top of one another so the
securing solution must be able to withstand these types of normal operation as
well as accidental drops from the operational height of the forklift tines
(approximately 10 feet). Currently the end frames provide space for forklift
tines below the MATPAC and self-align MATPACs as they are stacked, so this can
be done with a single forklift operator. The end frames have a notch on the
bottom edge and a tab on the top edge so when they are stacked, the notch and
tab align, guiding the MATPAC being stacked into the correct position. If the
end frames are not utilized, the solution should provide these capabilities as
The solution should lower total ownership costs and the logistics footprint.
The EAF team would like to see a return on investment in no more than 3-5 years
if the upfront cost is higher than what is currently spent on banding.
I: Provide a conceptual design and prove the engineering and economic feasibility
of meeting the stated requirements through analysis and lab demonstrations.
Identify specific strategies for meeting performance and reliability goals.
Provide top-level costs for the proposed design. The Phase I effort should
include prototype plans to be developed under Phase II.
II: Develop a prototype securing system and demonstrate prototype performance.
Provide an estimate of cost, including manufacturing. Provide a failure
analysis, service life estimate, and assessment of meeting stated requirements.
III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Demonstrate the technology at a Technology Readiness
Level (TRL) 6 or 7 for transition to the Expeditionary Airfields program. This
technology can be used to replace disposable banding methods in any industry
that ships or stores large equipment, such as construction materials, and wants
to decrease long-term spending and maintenance.
“MIL-STD-810G Environmental Engineering Considerations and Laboratory Tests.”
Department of Defense. (2008). http://everyspec.com/MIL-STD/MIL-STD-0800-0899/MIL-STD-810G_12306/
“Expeditionary Airfields.” NAVAIR: Patuxent River. http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.displayPlatform&key=6B70537D-9AA8-4032-9497-F3033942A78E
“Galvanized Steel Strapping Skid Lot - 1 1/4" x .031" x 760'.” Uline
Shipping Supply Specialists, 2018, p. 294. https://www.uline.com/Product/Detail/S-14381S/Steel-Strapping/Galvanized-Steel-Strapping-Skid-Lot-1-1-4-x-031-x-760?keywords=s-143815
“Semi-Open Metal Seals - 1 1/4".” Uline Shipping Supply Specialists, 2018,
p. 294. https://www.uline.com/Product/Detail/S-833/Strapping-Seals-and-Buckles/Semi-Open-Metal-Seals-1-1-4?keywords=S-833+Semi-Open+Metal+Seals+-+1+1%2f4%22
Banding; Securing System; Expeditionary Airfields; EAF; MATPAC; AM2
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