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News | April 5, 2022

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Fairfield Pilot Plant

By Becky Gilbert

FAIRFIELD, N.J. -- Picatinny Arsenal senior leaders participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a unique foamable celluloid pilot plant run by the Polymer Processing Institute here on February 24. 

The one-of-a-kind, 16,000-square-foot facility was established to provide a U.S domestic source of foamable celluloid, which is used in a broad range of munitions components, including combustible cartridge cases, mortar increment containers and propelling charge containers. 

Based on the campus of New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, the pilot plant was designed to support scale-up and pilot scale manufacturing of foamable celluloid formulations with the capacity to produce 1,000 kilograms of plasticized celluloid per week.

The Polymer Processing Institute and NJIT work in collaboration with U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Armaments Center and U.S. Army Joint Program Executive Office Armaments and Ammunition, based at Picatinny Arsenal, to develop advanced manufacturing technologies for the production of energetic materials.

Brig. Gen. Bill Boruff, Joint Program Executive Officer Armaments and Ammunition & Commanding General, Picatinny Arsenal asserted the importance of these key partnerships. “The long-standing relationship between NJIT, JPEO A&A, and DEVCOM Armaments Center has created a strong technical competency capable of addressing currentand future JPEO A&A Industrial Base requirements,” said Boruff. “Each technology and/or process optimization activity improves process efficiency and has the potential to generate future cost savings. These advancements improve product quality and consistency, and allow for the delivery of a more robust product to the Warfighter.”

The event was attended by representatives from Picatinny Arsenal, industry, academia, and local, state, and federal government officials, with a keynote speech delivered by U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill.

“In New Jersey we have all the ingredients we need to make ourselves the defense innovation hub for the Northeast, “ said Sherrill during opening comments atthe ceremony. “We have some of the top research institutions in the world, including … NJIT. And we have Picatinny Arsenal, which is such a crucial pillar of the U.S. military’s modernization efforts.”

The PPI facility will be a critical enabler for future foamed celluloid work, including formulation and end-item applications. It will provide thetechnology and process specifications for future transition into the industrial base.

“The foamable celluloid pilot process is the result of the development and maturation of key process technologies and represents a significant achievement for the NJIT, JPEO A&A and DEVCOM Armament Center collaboration. The process has been designed and modeled after key technologies, and were adapted from other industries because of the substantial quality, safety, and efficiency improvements they provide over legacy production methods,” said Gregory O’Conner, JPEO A&A Project Officer.

“Government, Industry, and Academia partnerships play a significant role in supporting the Army with the development, and fielding of enhanced lethality and state-of-the-art technologies that provide the Joint Warfighter overmatch capabilities,” said Boruff.

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