Welding isn’t just for aircraft carriers anymore. The U.S. Navy could be turning to ultrasonic welding to make its uniforms lighter, stronger and cheaper. And if the project by a Rhode Island company and the Navy Clothing and Textile Research Facility is a success, it could help bring manufacturing back from overseas. Welded seams are created when two pieces of fabric are essentially melted together by sound waves. They are already used in some clothing that some Americans have in their closets. Propel LLC is trying to figure out how to make the Navy’s expensive parka without stitches, which it currently buys for $190.50 each. It has spent the past year testing welded seams, adhesive techniques and other bonds using a federal grant from the Navy.
BREMERTON, Wash. (May 13, 2010) Capt. Joseph Kuzmick, commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), addresses the crew during an all-hands Navy working uniform inspection. John C. Stennis is at homeport in Bremerton, Wash., preparing for a planned incremental availability. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Josue L. Escobosa/Released)