Shi­tij Chabba

Global Busi­ness Seg­ment Di­rec­tor, Life Pro­tec­tion, DSM Dyneema

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SP’s Land Forces (SP’s): Could you give us a brief pro­file of DSM Dyneema with a fo­cus on its “Life Pro­tec­tion” busi­ness?

Shi­tij Chabba (Chabba): DSM Dyneema is a busi­ness group un­der DSM N.V. a global sci­ence-based com­pany ac­tive in health, nu­tri­tion and ma­te­ri­als. DSM Dyneema is the in­ven­tor and man­u­fac­turer of Dyneema, the world’s strong­est fi­bre TM. Dyneema is re­spected as the pre­mium brand of Ul­tra­High Molec­u­lar Weight Poly­eth­yl­ene (UHMWPE) and we man­u­fac­ture and sell prod­ucts in sev­eral forms in­clud­ing fi­bre, tape and uni­di­rec­tional (UD) sheets. The Dyneema brand is used in a wide range of ap­pli­ca­tions such as ropes, slings, cut-re­sis­tant gloves, commercial fish­ing and aqua­cul­ture nets, and per­for­mance ap­par­els as well as ve­hi­cle and per­sonal bal­lis­tic pro­tec­tion.

In the life pro­tec­tion seg­ment, DSM Dyneema fo­cuses on de­vel­op­ing a sus­tain­able life pro­tec­tion busi­ness to­gether with our cus­tomers (who are in­dus­try lead­ers in their re­spec­tive coun­tries) through driv­ing in­no­va­tion for stronger, lighter, more ro­bust per­sonal and ve­hi­cle pro­tec­tion so­lu­tions to safe­guard the lives of the ‘he­roes on the front­line’ (mil­i­tary and law en­force­ment).

Com­pared to tra­di­tional ma­te­ri­als in the mar­ket such as steel and aramid, Dyneema® is up to 15 times stronger than steel and 40 per cent lighter than aramids on a weight-for-weight ba­sis. This un­matched strengthto-weight ra­tio al­lows ar­mour de­sign­ers to se­ri­ously cut weight with­out sac­ri­fic­ing bal­lis­tic pro­tec­tion, dura­bil­ity and com­fort.

DSM Dyneema’s leading class of in­no­va­tive life pro­tec­tion ma­te­rial prod­ucts and so­lu­tions are well suited for both per­sonal (vests, hel­mets, in­serts, shields) as well as ar­mor for air, land and sea ve­hi­cles and have been com­bat proven glob­ally.

Based on di­verse needs of the mil­i­tary and law en­force­ment op­er­a­tions in the re­gion, DSM Dyneema has a di­verse soft and hard bal­lis­tic port­fo­lio which ranges from the high­est per­for­mance to prod­ucts and so­lu­tions for ev­ery budget/per­for­mance level that en­able bet­ter pro­tec­tion of lives and en­sure greater op­er­a­tional ex­cel­lence.

DSM Dyneema’s con­tin­u­ous fo­cus on in­no­va­tions and closer col­lab­o­ra­tion with our cus­tomers to ad­dress ever-chang­ing mar­ket needs is well-proven. We are known to be ‘with you when it mat­ters.’ SP’s: Glob­ally, which are your key mar­kets and which are the fu­ture mar­kets that you are bet­ting on? Chabba: Glob­ally, DSM Dyneema is com­mit­ted to in­no­va­tions for per­sonal and ve­hi­cle pro­tec­tion so­lu­tions that can deliver higher bal­lis­tic pro­tec­tion and lighter weight so that mil­i­tary and law en­force­ment of­fi­cers on the front­line are bet­ter pro­tected. In Asia-Pa­cific, we are fo­cus­ing on sev­eral mar­kets. In­dia is an ex­cit­ing mar­ket for DSM Dyneema with sig­nif­i­cant growth po­ten­tial. In ad­di­tion, Korea, Malaysia, Thai­land and Aus­tralia are also im­por­tant to us.

SP’s: You re­cently en­tered into a joint ven­ture in Ja­pan. Could you give us an up­date on that and also whether it will be ser­vic­ing the Asian mar­ket and be­yond?

Chabba: DSM Dyneema has been in the Asi­aPa­cific re­gion since the early 1980s and is a part­ner in a man­u­fac­tur­ing joint ven­ture with Toy­obo in Ja­pan which has ex­isted since 1986. This joint ven­ture fo­cuses largely on the pro­duc­tion of UHMwPE fi­bres and also the de­fence mar­ket in Ja­pan. In terms of ser­vic­ing the in­no­va­tive and mar­ket needs in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion, DSM Dyneema has four of­fices in this re­gion – Sin­ga­pore, China, In­dia and South Korea.The in­tro­duc­tion of our new Asia-Pa­cific Tech­ni­cal Cen­tre in Sin­ga­pore on Jan­uary 11, 2013, is an im­por­tant step in our strat­egy of hav­ing lo­cal teams and fa­cil­i­ties to sup­port our grow­ing cus­tomer base in the re­gion.

SP’s: In­dia has huge per­son­nel of armed forces, para­mil­i­tary forces, etc. What is your cur­rent foot­print in In­dia and what kind of pen­e­tra­tion do you hope to achieve in the In­dian mar­ket?

Chabba: DSM Dyneema is ac­tively present is In­dia across the mil­i­tary and law en­force­ment seg­ments with prod­ucts and so­lu­tions to pro­tect the lives of the In­dian he­roes on the front­line. Dyneema is well-known in In­dia since the 1990s as the ma­te­rial of choice in many de­fence pro­grammes which re­quire higher bal­lis­tic pro­tec­tion at a lighter weight. The value of our in­no­va­tions, prod­ucts, so­lu­tions and col­lab­o­ra­tive fo­cus for stronger and lighter per­sonal and ve­hi­cle ar­mour­ing prod­ucts/so­lu­tions is well-known among key de­ci­sion-mak­ers within our tar­get cus­tomer, OEMs, part­ners, as well as end-user or­gan­i­sa­tions (mil­i­tary and law en­force­ment). In ad­di­tion, the in­tro­duc­tion of Dyneema Force Mulit­plier Tech­nol­ogy will en­hance In­dia’s de­fence sec­tor with a new in­no­va­tive di­men­sion to meet their cur­rent and fu­ture re­quire­ments, and set new bal­lis­tic pro­tec­tion stan­dards for the In­dian de­fence mar­ket.

SP’s: What is your strat­egy for the In­dian mar­ket? Would you con­sider In­dia as a pos­si­ble cen­tre for man­u­fac­tur­ing and/or a R&D cen­tre? If yes, what route will you take?

Chabba: In­dia is an im­por­tant mar­ket for DSM Dyneema and we are work­ing closely with lo­cal strate­gic cus­tomers, OEMs, part­ners to pro­vide in­no­va­tive ma­te­rial so­lu­tions that can meet the needs for In­dian po­lice and mil­i­tary cus­tomers for both per­sonal pro­tec­tion and ve­hi­cle pro­tec­tion. DSM Dyneema is a part of Royal DSM NV that has a sig­nif­i­cant pres­ence in both man­u­fac­tur­ing and R&D in var­i­ous states in In­dia.

SP’s: Dyneema is said to be world’s strong­est fi­bre. Can you give a few out­stand­ing ex­am­ples of life pro­tec­tion wherein the fi­bre has proved what it claims to be – life pro­tec­tion? Chabba: Dyneema won best light weight pro­tec­tive prod­uct for the sol­dier in the Sol­dier Tech­nol­ogy Awards.

From a real life sto­ries, we have a num­ber on our web­site which high­lights real life sit­u­a­tions where the user’s live was saved as they were wear­ing ar­mour with Dyneema made by our cus­tomers. http://www.dyneema. com/apac/sto­ries/life-pro­tec­tion.aspx

SP’s: Which are the key ap­pli­ca­tions for Dyneema and which is fast-mov­ing for the com­pany?

Chabba: The num­ber of ap­pli­ca­tions with Dyneema is rapidly in­creas­ing. Dyneema is used in a num­ber of in­dus­tries in­clud­ing per­sonal pro­tec­tion (vests, in­serts, hel­mets), ve­hi­cle pro­tec­ton (land ve­hi­cles, air­crafts and ships), high per­for­mance ap­parel in­clud­ing cut re­sis­tant gloves and commercial marines and sports.

Due to the unique prop­er­ties of our ma­te­rial as a stronger and lighter so­lu­tion, and our in­no­va­tion port­fo­lio, all seg­ments are hav­ing sig­nif­i­cant growth and our most re­cent in­no­va­tion for life pro­tec­tion, Dyneema Force Mul­ti­plier Tech­nol­ogy is set­ting new stan­dards in bal­lis­tic pro­tec­tion world­wide.

SP’s: The com­pany has re­cently in­tro­duced the Force Mul­ti­plier Tech­nol­ogy. Could you give some of its salient fea­tures?

Chabba: Dyneema Force Mul­ti­plier Tech­nol­ogy fuses break­through poly­mer sci­ence, next-gen­er­a­tion fi­bre tech­nol­ogy and unique uni-direc­tional en­gi­neer­ing to deliver the very best in bal­lis­tic pro­tec­tion: V-50 per­for­mance that is off-the-charts. Light­est weight/low­est pro­file pro­tec­tion ever demon­strated. All of this en­ables the cre­ation of new ar­mour that meets to­mor­row’s threats and de­sign chal­lenges.

SP’s: What kind of growth around the globe do you ex­pect in the next five years in us­age of ul­tra-high molec­u­lar weight poly­eth­yl­ene fi­bre, driven by de­fence and se­cu­rity needs?

Chabba: The per­for­mance and en­durance of mil­i­tary, law en­force­ment and se­cu­rity per­son­nel have al­ways been af­fected by the weight of their gear. To­day, how­ever, ma­jor trends are in­ten­si­fy­ing the im­pact of weight and un­der­scor­ing the ur­gent need for new, lighter ma­te­ri­als that can deliver top pro­tec­tive per­for­mance com­bined with us­abil­ity. Mul­ti­ple global govern­ment ini­tia­tives are un­der­way to re­duce the weight of per­sonal pro­tec­tive equip­ment for soldiers. DSM Dyneema sees the adop­tion of next-gen­er­a­tion lighter ma­te­rial tech­nolo­gies as an im­por­tant part of the an­swer. This view is sup­ported by ex­perts, who pre­dict the use of UHMWPE ma­te­ri­als in body and ve­hi­cle pro­tec­tion will show dou­bledigit growth in the next five years.

PHO­TO­GRAPH: DYNEEMA

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