Customised pre-assembled panels solution enabling maximum protection and cost savings
Providing a service that goes beyond standard solutions, ballistic protection specialist CeramTec-ETEC builds fully customised pre-assembled ceramic armour panels for armoured vehicles, enabling time and cost savings for customers. Part of the industrial ceramics manufacturer CeramTec, the company uses high-performing ceramic materials based on alumina and silicon carbide for its ceramic protective equipment components, which are a key element in modern composite armour systems, delivering weight reduction while retaining the same level of protection as steel.
Due to its material characteristics, ceramics has largely replaced the steels previously used for light armoured vehicles and personnel protection, but also for vessels and helicopters. Integrated into armour composite systems, ceramics can reduce the total system weight up to 50% and increase the protection level especially against armour piercing ammunition, compared with conventional steel armouring solutions. Manoeuvrability and allowable payload for a vehicle are thus positively affected.
“The protective panels that we assemble for our customers out of individual ceramic parts are like a highly complex puzzle where each piece needs to fit perfectly to create the best possible end product.”
Björn Wagner, Sales Manager Defence, at CeramTec-ETEC in Lohmar, Germany
Close customer cooperation to achieve premium end product
CeramTec’s pre-assembled panel offering revolves around close cooperation with customers. Based on their drawings, CeramTec provides CAD construction to develop and deliver a product to the customer’s specifications that is “ready for integration” in composite systems. “The protective panels that we assemble for our customers out of individual ceramic parts are like a highly complex puzzle where each piece needs to fit perfectly to create the best possible end product,” explains Björn Wagner, Sales Manager Defence at CeramTec-ETEC in Lohmar, Germany. “The difficulty is that during the production process of ceramic components, the material shrinks in the sintering phase so that an initially square piece of ceramic is not 100% even anymore, which naturally affects the alignment when assembling the ceramic panels. Our special expertise lies in laying out these components in such a way that we still achieve a very uniform tiling pattern over the entire surface of the panel without larger gaps, which ultimately means better protection against threats.”
Helping customers save time and cost
CeramTec’s pre-assembled panels service allows customers to not only comply with the required maximum protection level at the lowest weight possible but also to be more cost-effective, as they save on the design and assembly step, which improves their chances in the public tenders they need to compete in. The company mainly works with European customers and adheres to the strict export controls that are in place in the defence sector. This includes delivering in countries that are part of the NATO and EU or that share the respective value systems. “We are highly aware of the sensitivity of the industry we are operating in and always work in coordination with the respective national authorities,” affirms Björn Wagner.
Depending on customer requirements regarding the protection class and individual price considerations, CeramTec-ETEC uses either its ALOTEC® alumina or SICADUR® silicon carbide material for the pre-assembled panels.