Kevlar Fabric and the Manufacturing of Ballistic Panels

Ballistic Kevlar Fabric & Aramid Fabric Weaving

Hard Shell has an international reputation for innovation and quality, supplying a wide range of high-performance technical textiles for critical military applications to diverse markets around the world. Woven knitted, dyed coated and finished fabrics form the basis of our product range, supported by superior specifications, raw materials and efficient component design.

When it comes to body armor, we believe that there is no room to compromise on safety. Hard Shell relies on innovation and advanced technology to manufacture body armor with tried and tested materials. One of those materials is Kevlar which stands out with its unmatched strength and resilience.

What is Kevlar?

WHAT IS KEVLAR

In simple terms, Kevlar is a synthetic fiber known for its remarkable strength and heat resistance. It was developed by DuPont in the 1960s, and within no time it found its way into various applications, including body armor, aerospace, and sports equipment. The molecular structure of Kevlar consists of long chains of aromatic polyamides, giving it the strength that it is known for. You will be surprised to know that this unique arrangement responsible for Kevlar’s exceptional tensile strength can make it five times stronger than steel of the same weight.

Is Kevlar Different From Aramid Fiber?

Although Kevlar is a type of aramid fiber, the names are sometimes used interchangeably. Basically, a category of synthetic fibers known for their extreme strength and heat resistance is called aramid fibers. Kevlar is one of the most well-known types of aramid fiber, which is highly valued for its remarkable ballistic capabilities. Some of the other aramid fibers include Twaron and Technora. Even though they have some comparable properties, but they differ from Kevlar in certain aspects such as tensile strength and modulus.

Weaving of Kevlar

Weaving is the technique that turns unprocessed Kevlar fibers into a robust ballistic fabric. At Hard Shell, advanced looms are utilized to delicately weave Kevlar threads to form a dense structure resistant to ballistic threats. For ballistic materials, the most popular weaving patterns are plain weave, twill weave, and satin weave. Every pattern has its unique characteristics and differs in strength, flexibility, and weight.

Kevlar the fabric that saves life

Plain Weave

A plain weave creates a simple but robust fabric by having each warp yarn pass alternately over and under each weft yarn. If durability is what you are looking for, this weave pattern’s exceptional abrasion resistance and uniform strength distribution make it the perfect choice.

Twill Weave

Twill weave creates a diagonal pattern, in which filling threads pass over one and under two or more warp threads. While keeping the high tensile strength of the fabric intact, this method of weaving improves the fabric’s flexibility and drapability. Ballistic vests and helmets often use twill weave fabrics to provide the wearer with the best possible comfort and movement.

Satin Weave

Satin weave, which is produced by floating warp strands across several weft yarns, has a glossy appearance and a smooth surface. Satin weave fabrics are less dense than plain or twill weaves. However, they drape better and provide superior flexibility, making them good for applications where comfort and style are prioritized over protection.

Manufacturing of Ballistic Panels

To create a Kevlar ballistic panel, several steps are employed, which are broadly described below:

Preparation of Kevlar Yarn

This step involves spinning raw fibers into yarns of the required strength and thickness. To ensure consistent quality and performance, these yarns go through extensive testing.

Weaving Process

With the help of advanced looms, Kevlar strands are woven into the desired pattern, which can be plain, twill or satin, as discussed above. The focus is to maintain tight tolerances and structural integrity during the weaving process, which is monitored by skilled professionals.

Lamination

At this stage, the focus is on improving the ballistic resistance of the fabric. Lamination or resin impregnation is the process of using specialized adhesives to bond several layers of Kevlar fabric to form a composite panel that can withstand ballistic threats.

Cutting and Molding

Using computer-controlled cutting equipment, the coated or laminated Kevlar layers are precisely shaped. Post-cutting, these panels are molded together to provide a snug and ergonomic fit, conforming to the contours of the body or any specific equipment.

Quality Control 

The final step in the making of a Kevlar panel involves putting it through a rigorous testing process to ensure its ballistic performance and durability before it is deployed in the field. Quality control includes dimensional accuracy checks, environmental exposure tests, and ballistic impact tests, among others.

The Hard Shell Advantage: A Leading Manufacturer

Hard Shell is one of the world’s most vertically integrated companies by having the in-house ability to weave high-performance ballistic Kevlar fabric in its state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities. Soft Armour made with Kevlar really makes a difference. Vests made with Kevlar performance technology are among the lightest in the world. Solutions with Kevlar can be tailored for a wide range of threats, without compromising the highest comfort level. 

The fields of applications of these fabrics are as follows:

  • Individual Protection: Lightweight Bullet Resistant Vest, Ballistic Jackets, Hard Armour Panel, Bomb Suppression Blankets, Shields, Helmets and Combat Shoes.
  • Vehicle Protection: Armouring of Civil and Military Vehicles.
  • Aircraft Protection: Seat, Floor and Wall Armouring.
  • Boat Protection: Bridge, Storage Compartments and Common Center Armouring.
  • Building Protection: Armouring of Industrial and High-Risk Sites.