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JOCG Continuous Mixer and Extruder User’s Group Conference 29-31 October, 2002 Processing M206 Infrared Decoy Flare Composition Through a Twin Screw Mixer/Extruder Timothy E. Dawag Warheads, Energetics and Combat-support Center Armament Systems Process Division US Army TACOM-ARDEC

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JOCG Continuous Mixer and Extruder User’s Group Conference

29-31 October, 2002

Processing M206 Infrared Decoy Flare Composition

Through a Twin Screw Mixer/Extruder

Timothy E. Dawag

Warheads, Energetics and Combat-support Center

Armament Systems Process Division


Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey 07806-5000




Program Objectives


The Method

Twin Screw Extruder Facility

Continuing Efforts


Committed to Excellence


Program Objectives

Baseline a continuous manufacturing process for M206 IR Decoy Flare composition which is transferable to production-scale facilities

Produce material to press and load into casings for flight testing

Committed to Excellence


Background –M206 Decoy Flare

Current manufacturing method is a Batch operation

  • Personnel Concerns
  • Extensive operator exposure to
  • hazardous materials and operations
  • Decanting bulk quantities of flare
  • composition
  • Drying composition in large walk-in
  • ovens with solvent vapors
  • Environmental Concerns
  • Large amounts of organic solvents utilized (hexane and acetone)
  • Large quantities of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released to the atmosphere

Committed to Excellence


Background –TSE Processing

  • Eliminate Incidents
  • Several incidents have occurred over
  • the past 5-years, many involving
  • fatalities
  • Environmental Benefits
  • Eliminate hexane, which reduces total
  • quantity of solvents
  • Decrease amount of acetone
  • Incorporate solvent recovery system
  • Enhance Safety
  • Reduce operator exposure to hazardous
  • materials/operations
  • Minimize transportation of “static
  • sensitive” intermediate products

Committed to Excellence


Background –The Method

Raw Material Characterization

Inert Simulant Identification

Rheological Study

Mathematical Modeling

Inert Processing

Modeling Validation/Update

Live Processing

Product Analysis

Committed to Excellence


TSE Facility

  • Twin Screw Extruder
  • 40-mm Baker Perkins
  • Clam shell design
  • Double end bearing with side discharge
  • Loss-in-weight feeders
  • Solid/Liquid/Viscous
  • Solvent recovery system
  • In-line granulator
  • Product conveyors
  • Vibratory dryer

Committed to Excellence


TSE Facility Upgrades

  • Kemutec – Cone Mill
    • Replacement for Prater granulator
    • Increased functionality
    • Particle size consistency
    • Improves safety standards
  • Autokinetics – Conveyor System
    • 3 Conveyors with variable speed drive

Committed to Excellence


TSE Facility Upgrades

  • Carrier - Vibratory Dryer
  • Single/Double pass
  • Non-contact steam
  • Product conveyors from bottom of
  • unit to the top
  • Drying capability of product with up
  • to solvent level of 20% by weight
  • FlexKleen - Dust Collector
  • Bag house dust collector
  • Captures residual particles from dryer

Committed to Excellence


TSE Facility Upgrades

Committed to Excellence


TSE Processing

  • Inert Processing
    • Define process conditions
      • Feed rates
      • Screw speed
      • Barrel/Die temperatures
      • Solvent recovery/vacuum level
      • Granulation
  • Mathematical Simulation Model
    • Verify model with inert processing
      • Solvent Level
      • Temperature/pressure readings
    • Modify screw configuration
    • Update processing conditions and verify changes

Committed to Excellence


TSE Processing

  • Transition to Live Processing
    • Conducted 3 live formulations runs to date
    • Transition successful
      • Little variation in process conditions
      • Safely
  • Product Analysis/Testing
    • Testing by Picatinny Arsenal Pyrotechnic Division
      • Pressed and finished flare grains
      • Tested for ignition time, burn time and IR intensity spectrum
    • Side by side comparison of batch and TSE manufactured material
      • Both met the performance requirements of military specification
      • Batch
        • More statistically variant
        • Intensity levels higher than TSE
      • Twin Screw Extruder
        • Statistically consistent values of intensity and ignition times
        • Longer burn time than batch
        • Slower rise times than batch
        • Inconsistencies attributed to particle size of composition prior to pressing

Committed to Excellence


Continuing Efforts

  • Live Processing
    • Manufacture 75-pounds of M206 flare composition for pressing
  • Product testing
    • Test composition at Picatinny Arsenal to assure product quality
    • Verify particle size distribution of composition attributed to inconsistencies observed between batch and TSE processing
  • Product Finishing
    • Ship granulated material to Kilgore Flare Company for pressing and finishing
    • Kilgore Flare Company conducts onsite performance testing
  • Flight Performance Testing
    • Finished grains shipped to US Air Force at Point Magu for flight testing

Committed to Excellence



  • Stevens Institute of Technology
  • Highly Filled Materials Institute
    • Material characterization
    • Rheology
    • Mathematical modeling

Technical Consultants, Inc. (TCI)

    • TSE processing expertise

Kilgore Flares Company

    • Press and finish grains
  • TACOM-ARDEC, Picatinny Arsenal
    • R&D and testing
    • Pilot scale processing

U.S. Army ManTech Manager

    • Army Funding

U.S. Air Force at Point Magu

    • Flight testing

U.S. Air Force at Wright Patterson AFB

    • Leveraged ManTech Funding

Committed to Excellence