Additive Manufacturing for High Performance Systems

Solicitation number EN578-170003/08

Publication date

Closing date and time 2018/08/23 14:00 EDT

Last amendment date


    July 25, 2018

    The closing date for this challenge has been extended to August 23, 2018 at 14:00 EDT.


    This Challenge Notice is issued under the Innovative Solutions Canada Program Call for Proposals (EN578-170003/B).

    Please refer to the Solicitation Documents which contain the process for submitting a proposal.

    CHALLENGE TITLE: Additive Manufacturing for High Performance Systems

    CHALLENGE SPONSOR: Department of National Defence (DND)

    Steps to apply:

    Step 1: read this challenge

    Step 2: read the Call for Proposals

    Step 3: propose your solution

    Funding Mechanism: Contract


    Multiple contracts could result from this Challenge.

    The maximum funding available for any Phase 1 Contract resulting from this Challenge is $200,000.00 CAD (plus tax) including shipping, travel and living expenses, as applicable.

    The maximum funding available for any Phase 2 Contract resulting from this Challenge is $1,000,000.00 CAD (plus tax) including shipping, travel and living expenses, as applicable. Only eligible businesses that have completed Phase 1 could be considered for Phase 2.

    This disclosure is made in good faith and does not commit Canada to contract for the total approximate funding.

    TRAVEL:  No travel anticipated.

    Problem Summary Statement

    The Department of National Defence (DND) is seeking new solutions to advance the field of additive manufacturing technologies for the fields of defense and security.

    Problem Statement

    Additive manufacturing technologies (AMT) have seen major advancements, however the use of AMT in armour systems is mostly unexplored with challenges present in the range and precision of achievable mechanical properties and fabrication. DND wishes to advance AMT to enable its application to the design, fabrication and evaluation of advanced physical protection systems (armour systems for personnel and platforms) against battlefield threats such as projectiles, fragments, and blast overpressure. This includes the use of AMT for the manufacturing of bio-simulants (e.g. bones, skin, soft tissue, brain, etc.) which are used to assess body armour performance against those same battlefield threats.

    Outcomes and Considerations

    The desired outcome is the demonstration of AMT that expands the range and precision of obtainable material properties and structures in support of the following short and longer term objectives:

    Short term outcomes:

    • Printing of complex geometries that increasingly replicate both the morphology and dynamic material behavior (including failure), of an anatomical structures of the human body (e.g. printing of high fidelity replicas of the skull)
    • Printing of components that demonstrate a significant advance towards obtaining material level or system level (e.g. by exploiting novel geometries, meta-material design, biomimetic approaches, etc.) mechanical properties relevant to mitigating threat effects on the soldier or other military platforms.

    Longer term outcomes:

    • Multi-material printing of complex, biofidelic anatomical structures of the human body including, for example, both bone and soft tissue and the interfaces between the two.
    • Printing of complex, seamless armor systems using high performance materials that can match or exceed current state-of-the-art armour to defeat ballistic and blast threat effects.

    The technology for printing biofidelic structures should be deployable in controlled environments such as research laboratories. It is to be demonstrated by the production of selected bio-simulants which will be subjected to validation experiments against accepted biological material datasets.

    The technology for printing armour components should be deployable in a research laboratory environment. The demonstration of advances in material properties may be done through mechanical testing while demonstration of advances at the system level will be done against select threat effects. The ultimate objective is to deploy such technologies in a military operational environment to provide a rapid repair and replacement capability for amour systems that are damaged in theatre.

    Background and Context

    Additive manufacturing technologies (AMT) have seen major development in the last decade. From the small-scale consumer level 3D printing market to the industrial printing of metallic aircraft parts and the production of various biocompatible materials, the range of obtainable material characteristics from AMT appears to be constantly expanding. Notwithstanding its tremendous potential, the use of AMT in the very demanding field of armour systems is mostly unexplored.

    The current obstacle to the use of AMT for armour systems is the range and precision of achievable mechanical properties. For example, armour systems are subjected to extreme loading conditions and require very high performance materials with a particular set of high-end mechanical properties (e.g. hardness, toughness, modulus and strength) which currently seem unattainable with AMT. With regard to the fabrication the human bio-simulants used in the evaluation of armour performance, the challenge resides in achieving the required level of precision and consistency to successfully emulate the structure of biological materials as well as their mechanical response, up to failure, over a range of dynamic loading conditions. 

    DND believes that the first step towards the application of AMT to the fabrication and evaluation of armour systems is expanding the range and precision of material properties that can be obtained. This will lead to new opportunities in the field of platform and personnel survivability and stimulate innovation in the Canadian protection industry which will translate into enhanced capabilities for the Canadian Armed Forces. DND envision that the potential benefits of AMT, when applied to protection, are:

    1. The ability to create shapes not possible with current manufacturing process for high-performance ballistic ceramics, metals, and transparent materials.

    • Enabling weight reduction, optimized protection and bespoke design of personal protection system for better fit and reduced burden.

    2. The ability to create seamless assembly of complex shapes

    • Removing weaknesses for better protection.

    3. The ability to produce armour component on-the-field

    • Enabling rapid replacement of damaged armour, on-demand production and significant logistic gain.

    4. The ability to fabricate high precision body simulants at low cost

    • Enabling low-cost destructive tests of armour system that better replicate real injury outcome, leading to optimized armour systems.


    All enquiries must be submitted in writing to the Contracting Authority no later than ten calendar days before the Challenge Notice closing date. Enquiries received after that time may not be answered.

    Contract duration

    Refer to the description above for full details.

    Trade agreements

    • No trade agreements are applicable to this solicitation process

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    Contact information

    Contracting organization

    Public Works and Government Services Canada
    11 Laurier St, Phase III, Place du Portage
    Gatineau, Quebec, K1A 0S5
    Contracting authority
    Walker, Samantha

    Buying organization(s)

    Public Works and Government Services Canada
    11 Laurier St, Phase III, Place du Portage
    Gatineau, Quebec, K1A 0S5
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