As part of our ongoing effort to promote U.S. Manufacturing, each month we highlight companies that provide innovative and unique products that make a difference in people’s lives. We encourage our readership to both buy and promote products made in America. Here’s our hip find for the month:
This month we’re deviating from the normal “product” type article we usually do and focusing instead on a discovery that will save countless lives. Given the recent horrific bombing in Boston, we believe this to be a significant discovery that is both timely and vital to our national security.
A Sandia National Lab engineer who trained U.S. soldiers to avoid improvised explosive devices (IEDs) has developed a fertilizer that helps plants grow but can’t detonate a bomb. It’s an alternative to ammonium nitrate, an agricultural staple that is also the raw ingredient in most of the IEDs in Afghanistan.
Researchers from Sandia National Lab in Albuquerque, New Mexico have discovered that mixing iron sulfate (a waste product from steel factories) with ammonium nitrate fertilizer changes its chemical composition, keeping it from detonating homemade explosives. This formula was made by request from the Department of Defense. Sandia National Laboratories is operated and managed by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation. Sandia Corporation operates Sandia National Laboratories as a contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and supports numerous federal, state, and local government agencies, companies, and organizations.
We learned about this discovery from MIT’s www.technologyreview.com – “Ammonium nitrate is commonly used to make powerful bombs in Afghanistan and other countries, and it was used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people”.
IEDs have killed more American troops than any other weapon during the 11-year war in Afghanistan. About 1,900 troops were killed or wounded in IED attacks in 2012, 60 percent of American combat casualties.
Why does Sandia deserve applause? They could have patented the formula but opted to waive ownership rights for humanitarian reasons. “One of Sandia’s priorities is deploying the technologies that result from our research for the public good,” said Pete Atherton, senior manager of industry partnerships at Sandia. “We think that making the fertilizer formula as accessible as possible is the best way to accomplish this mission.”
Sandia optical engineer Kevin Fleming actually developed this new fertilizer formula that is as good as, if not better, than ammonium nitrate, but not detonable. At a meeting last year in Crystal City, Va., Fleming sat next to an ex-Marine who had lost both legs trying to find IEDs:
He had a metal detector, but some bombs are chemically initiated with no metal parts. He stepped on a non-metal trigger and set off a blast that took off both legs. He became a double amputee in milliseconds. So when I sit next to him and see the aftermath of an IED, I have to think of any way possible to keep this from happening.
Thank you to Kevin Fleming and Sandia National Labs!
Raphael Iuzzolino is the Sales Associate at Accelerated Buy Sell, Inc. as well as a contributing author to the blog. He helps spread the word about the “Accelerated Group of Companies” that provides tools and services to help manufacturers grow and exit strategies to maximize dollars when they are ready to retire or sell their manufacturing business. Accelerated’s group of companies that provide services to the manufacturing industry includes:
www.AcceleratedBuySell.com – Provides Online Industrial Auction Services, Used Equipment Auctions, Capital Equipment Auctions, Plant Liquidations, Industrial Plant Cleanout Services, Used Machinery Location Services, Certified Machine Tool and Equipment Appraisals, and more.
www.AcceleratedMfgBrokers.com – Specializes in Manufacturing Business Brokerage and Mergers and Acquisitions. We help manufacturers develop exit strategies to maximize retirement dollars, and successful manufacturers expand through acquisition of other manufacturing companies, product lines and customer lists. Manufacturing Companies for sale throughout the United States are listed on this site.
www.AcceleratedRE.com – Provides Industrial Real Estate Brokerage Services, Online Real Estate Auctions, Sealed Bid Real Estate Auctions and complete industrial facility cleanout services.
www.IgniteMfg.com – Provides funding for products made in the USA, and engineering/manufacturing educational needs through Crowd Funding.
www.MfgWebSolutions.com – Provides web development and social media services for manufacturers at under-market rates.
Raphael Iuzzolino is a contributing author to:
blog.AcceleratedBuySell.com - A site that provides the latest manufacturing news, statistics and opinion. It also provides information on how to grow a manufacturing business, and what to do if you are a manufacturing company that needs to close.