Edwards Design and Fabrication, Inc., specializes in the design and fabrication of equipment for commercial businesses and government R&D organizations. We are the licensed manufacturer of the Modular Protective System (MPS) suite of armored protective shelters. Our fabrication capabilities include 5-axis Mazak CNC machining, manual and robotic welding, assembly, and commercial finish painting. Edwards Design and Fabrication, Inc., is located at 120 Commissioner Dr., Meridianville, AL, one block west of Highway 231/431, six miles north of Huntsville. We have been in continuous operation since January 1994.
We make machined parts, weldments, and systems incorporating pneumatics, hydraulics, and/or electronics for other businesses. Many of these parts are designed in-house using SolidWorks. We generally do not accept retail walk-in jobs.
When a special process or machine is required that we do not have in-house, we rely on our large network of other businesses in North Alabama to get coatings, galvanizing, heat treating, sand blasting or laser cutting accomplished.
Some examples of the commercial products we have made are shown in the slides.
Slide 1 – An IR (infrared) telescope housing including all the threaded rings to focus and secure the IR lenses. Parts are black anodized.
Slide 2 – Heavy aluminum weldment ramps for a relocatable bridge.
Slide 3 – Safety glass tacker clamps integrating electronic and pneumatic controls.
Slide 4 – Plastic pipe repair kit integrating hydraulic for joining plastic pipe.
Slide 5 – Aluminum ladders for crossing over a long run of 60 in. pipe.
Slide 6 - Fixtures for holding automobile pistons for backup on the production line.
Slide 7 – After-market window crank handle for the hot rod and custom car market.
Modular Protective System
The Geotechnical and Structure Laboratory in the Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has directed, designed, tested, and funded the development of the Modular Protective System (MPS), and they are working to get MPS established in the Army Materiel System. Edwards Design and Fabrication, Inc., is the licensed manufacturer for MPS, and we are licensed to sell MPS to government and commercial customers. We have been associated with MPS from its beginning by fabricating all test, demonstration, and deployed MPS hardware. We also have contributed to the design and many manufacturing innovations during the development.
Shown in the first slide is 100 ft. by 8 ft. MPS wall constructed with two MPS kits and two MPS units. Part of the fiberglass armor panels have been removed to show the inside structure. The basic unit is 5 ft. sq. unit that is 4 ft. tall. It can form a straight wall, form an attached wall at 90 degrees, add a buttress to a straight wall, and form a wall at 60 degrees. Walls can also be constructed at heights of 4, 8, and 12 ft.
An MPS wall is shown with no armor panel attached. The wall structure is assembled first and then the armor is added. Each MPS unit consists of the 5ft. sq. frame, leveling pads to adapt to uneven ground, Z-bars that hold and attach the armor panels to the frame, and walk boards for standing inside the wall during construction. A wall is constructed with no special tools or equipment. Only soldier power is required.
A fully constructed wall is shown on uneven ground. Note that no earth-filling is required. The wall can be disassembled, and it can be set up in a new location when no longer needed.
Components of an MPS wall kit are shown in a Tricon ISO container. (Three Tricons can be attached to make up a standard 20 ft. ISO container.) One MPS kit holds the components to make a 45 ft. by 8 ft. wall including double armor panels on each side. This includes: 18 frames, 20 leveling pads, 36 Z-bars, 36 upper panel brackets, 18 walk boards, 6 end stabilizing bars, and 72 4x5 ft. armor panels.
The amount of armor attached to the MPS frame is flexible, and it can be adjusted to compensate for the anticipated threat. A baseline consists of two 1/2 in. thick fiberglass panels on each side of the frame with a 5 ft. space between each side of the wall. Steel armor plate may be added for up armoring or one fiberglass panel can be removed for a lessor threat.
An Overhead Cover (OHC) provides protection from over-head threats such as mortars. The top layer activates the mortar fuse, and the second layer stops the mortar shrapnel. A 40 ft. by 30 ft. OHC is shown mounted on an MPS wall that is 8 ft. tall. The OHC is available in widths from 52.5 ft. (external dimensions) in increments of 7.5 ft.; i.e., 52.5, 45, 37.5, 30, and 22.5. The length may be as long as desired with extension kits in 10 ft. lengths.
Shown in the second slide is a partially completed OHC on an 12 ft. high MPS wall. The end wall and blocking walls were left off for a demonstration.
The third slide shows two OHC set up in a training area to demonstrate both a 52.5 ft. and a 30 ft. OHC attached to different types of walls: a 12 ft. MPS wall, a 12 ft. concrete T-wall, and a Hesco wall.
OHCs are packed in crates, and the crates are shipped in 20 ft. ISO containers. Each crate is labeled, and the labels are shown on an assembly diagram. The assembly instructions as well as a document identifying the contents of each 20 ft. ISO container are in the first container (so labeled on the outside), and these items are in the crate labeled "Read First."
The OHCs have been extensively tested with explosives simulating different types and sizes of mortars, as well as at different locations on the OHC. Shrapnel has not penetrated the second or arresting layer. It works!
MPS Mortar Pit
An elevation view of the mortar pit shows the layout of the 8 square frames and 4 triangle frames relative to the Tricon that contained the total kit. The MPS Mortar Pit can be set up in 45 minutes. No digging is required. It can also be recovered and moved to a new location.
The MPS Mortar Pit is one frame tall (4 ft.). It provides protection from small arms fire while the crew is setting up the mortar and firing it. There are 2 armor panels on each side of the frames with a 5 ft. spacing between the sides that is not filled with earth. As with all forms of MPS, the frames sit on leveling pads to account for uneven ground. The space between the frame bottom and the ground can be covered with sand bags when time is available. Empty sand bags are supplied with the MPS Mortar Pit. No special tools are required for set up.
The components for an MPS Mortar pit are loaded in a standard Tricon ISO container. Everything needed fits in one Tricon. The empty Tricon is kept with the MPS Mortar pit for ammunition storage and to close off one end of the pit.
MPS Guard Tower
MPS Guard Towers are designed for forward basing camps. They can be set up quickly, and the whole MPS Guard Tower is contained in one Quadcon. The Quadcon is the base for for the guard tower. The MPS Guard Tower has 4 panels of fiberglass armor protecting against small arms fire. It also has two machine gun mounts on each side located inside the armor wall.
All of the components of the MPS Guard Tower fit inside the Quadcon. A guide is included to show how it is set up and how to repack the components.
Slide three shows the four layers of armor and the machine gun mount inside the protective wall. The space between the armor layers is there by design. The first armor layer slows down a round and causes it to tumble, and the second armor layer stops the tumbling round.
In the fourth slide, an installation of a bench completes the protective wall, and it holds the armor layers in place. It also provides a working surface.
An overhead protective layer is supported by a substantial structure. It is designed to hold one layer of fiberglass armor, but it can hold addition protection in the form of sand bags.
The armor panels slide into place while standing in the MPS Guard Tower. Once the top is in place, the setup is complete. A separate kit of camouflage screening is available that conceals the visual location of guards in the tower. Attachment points are located on the beams that hold the roof.
In the last slide, a completed MPS Guard Tower is shown in operation with soldiers on duty.
Our first CNC machine was a Mazak VTC 200B purchased in 2005, and we have added machines as our business has grown. We now have four Mazak milling machines: two 200Bs, one 160B, and one 300C. The 300C was added after other milling machines were purchased to handle larger parts. It also has a higher spindle speed of 15,000 RPMs.
We have two Mazak lathes: a Quick Turn 250 and a Super Quick Turn 250M, one of which has Y-axis milling capability.
Our most recent Mazak CNC machine was a 5-axis machine: an Integrex 200i. It has two turrents, reducing the number of milling and lathe set-ups need on complex parts.
The CNC plasma table holds a 5-ft by 10-ft sheet metal plate. It has both an arc and a torch cutting capability. It is used when tolerances are not critical, when the part is to be machined, or when we have tight-time constraint.
We have purchased and will be installing by November 1, 2019, a CNC router that has a 5-ft by 12-ft work table. It also has 11 inches of Z-axis giving it 3D capability. This CNC router provides in-house ability for rapid prototyping of items requiring aluminum frames.
We have two large Miller Perform Arc (Model PA 1100SS) operational robot welders, and each has a 10 ft span between the trunnions. There are two sets of trunnions on each robot welder so that welding can proceed on one side while loading is performed on the other side. We make special fixtures that hold the parts to be welded, and a welding programmer writes the welding procedure. Then an operator loads the parts to be welded and unloads the finished weldment. We also have an induction heater, a Miller ProHeat 35, to heat parts (if required) prior to robot welding.
Manual welding is the foundation of our welding capability. MIG and TIG welding are the basic capabilities along with oxyacetylene welding/cutting. Our welders have obtained certification for welding the materials called for in jobs. As a practice, they obtain new certifications when required.
A few examples of manual welding are shown in the slides.
Our first robot welder was for small parts on the MPS frame. It was a Lincoln Arc Mate 100ic. We have added a second robot welder for small parts; a Miller PA350S which is very similar to the Lincoln Arc Mate 100ic. Both robot welders have two stations; one for the robot to weld, shielded from view, and one for loading small parts. A welding programmer writes a welding procedure for the small parts, and a non-welder loads parts to be welded and removes the welded parts. A turntable rotates the parts from the loading station to the welding area.
The last slide shows the robot welder following a program to weld two small parts for an MPS frame. The parts are mounted on a fixture, and clamps onto the fixture hold the parts in place for welding.