Roadside bombs and other threats place our troops and other responders in harm’s way. Advanced unmanned vehicles and robotics, like the Man Transportable Robotic System (MTRS), play a critical role in removing personnel from dangerous environments by performing tasks without the need for direct human manipulation. In 2008, the Department of Defense (DoD) determined that it needed to extend the run time of its MTRS robots. Instead of purchasing costly replacement components from the original manufacturer, DoD determined it could achieve cost efficiencies by designing a new battery box that could hold additional BB-2590 lithium-ion batteries to extend mission duration.
After developing an initial design, DoD turned to Battelle to produce multiple prototypes within 60 days After Receipt of Order (ARO) for proof of concept testing, implement design for manufacturability improvements to improve productivity and reduce cost, produce over 1900 units to meet an urgent warfighter need, and deliver a complete technical data package to the customer for future competitive procurement.
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Battelle gathered an interdisciplinary team of materials, manufacturing, engineering, and technology-insertion program experts to complete the battery box design for manufacturability, ensure feasibility, and complete production. Battelle began by developing initial production prototypes, which were analyzed and tested. During this process, Battelle identified design enhancements to improve productivity and reduce cost. Once addressed, Battelle delivered the first lot product for DoD testing and received approval. Full-scale production then began at our Dublin, Ohio facility in 2009 and more than 2,700 MK2 battery boxes have been manufactured to date.
Battelle’s team bridged design and manufacturing expertise to deliver an innovative solution that allows DoD to lower overall support costs, improve robot run time, and improve platform capabilities and reliability. The MK2 Battery Box is a robust “smart” power management system for the MK2 robotic platform developed in conjunction with Penn State University’s Applied Research Laboratory. That successful partnership and Battelle’s cost-effective production saves the government money and increases the length of time the battery can operate.