Global Business Segment Director, Life Protection, DSM Dyneema
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.