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A shelter for soldiers made entirely out of glass-fibre-reinforced resin and polyurethane foam composites is now available and provides some of the best protection on the market.
(Published on March 2006 – JEC Magazine #23)
In today’s conflicts around the world, soldiers have obvious needs for a safe and mobile shelter. A new type of shelter that offers nearly everything the military could want was officially launched in January 2006. With an area of 76m2, the command post has enough space to fit 30 people and includes computer desks and telephones. It provides a safe setting to undertake highly specialised tasks, particularly in extreme weather conditions. Toutenkamion said the structure underwent 10,000 hours of 3D CAD (Computer Assisted Design), prototyping and testing to reach the required level of performance.
Composites for greater mobility and protection
The materials consist of panels made primarily of glass-fibre-reinforced resin and polyurethane foam composites, and allow the structure’s volume to be multiplied considerably without the help of supporting columns.
The materials also make the two-piececonnected structure incredibly mobile and lightweight. It can be assembled in two hours by only four people, yet remains a strong, safe structure. Entirely waterresistant, it can protect from rain, snow, and – perhaps most importantly – a chemical or biological attack.
Expanding into the UK
The shelter was created by Toutenkamion, a European firm that manufactures specialpurpose trucks and mobile shelters.
Toutenkamion originally focused on the French, Belgian and German markets but, according to its marketing manager, Cyril Bonnaire, the success of the products in these countries encouraged the company to explore the British market. Its products are now being distributed in the UK by the British firm Angloco, which specialises in rescue and fire-fighting products.
Toutenkamion, based in France, Belgium and Germany, is a major designer and manufacturer of a wide range of products that include mobile shelters and pool covers.
The 70-year-old company’s composite machining centre is equipped with seven machine heads.
These can work with foams, plywood, fibre, particulate boards, aluminium, and glass-fibre-reinforced plastic (GFRP) laminates. Toutenkamion has a turnover of nearly €7 million and employs 82 workers. It sells most of its products in Europe, and has sold 30 similar shelters in the past two years – many of which were for the French army.
“The success of our products has shown us the potential in developing the British market. An important advantage is the real synergy between Toutenkamion and Angloco; this complements our products and convinced us of the benefits of joining forces,” said Mr. Bonnaire.