One technology innovation that sets IBC apart from the rest is its success in pioneering a method of precision casting ultra-stiff and ultra-lightweight parts made of a combination of beryllium and aluminum into a material called Beralcast®.
These two metals are very difficult to bring together as there is a difference of nearly 600° Celsius between the melting points of beryllium and aluminum. That makes the process of precision casting highly complex geometries very challenging.
IBC’s process of pouring molten beryllium-aluminum alloy into molds, and making near-net-shape components, contrasts sharply with the traditional method of making these parts, utilized by IBC’s primary competitor. IBC’s competitor combines elemental powders into a steel can, uses Hot Isostatic Pressure (HIP) to consolidate the can and powder into a block, chemically strips the steep can off, rough cuts the material to a block shape, and then machines out the part from the block of alloy. That approach creates significant waste and can take weeks to complete for each part. Parts made in this fashion also tend to be much more expensive for the customer than IBC’s precision-cast version.
IBC’s proprietary beryllium-alloy cast material is known as Beralcast®. Electro-Optical Targeting System, or EOTS. Thanks to IBC’s product, the EOTS system enjoys greatly reduced vibratory “noise” that causes “jitter” in long range imaging systems. That, in turn, allows the EOTS sensing systems to see much further into the threat environment and with higher accuracy. The result? A 7X increase in standoff distance for weapons acquisition and release. That greatly increases the platform’s effectiveness and allows pilots to ‘fire and forget’ from a much farther, and safer, distance.
Lockheed Martin examined and tested IBC’s precision cast product over a period of several years. These initial qualification processes are very difficult for small companies like IBC to navigate. However, Beralcast® passed with flying colors.
IBC also is making components for Raytheon’s ATFLIR system from Beralcast®. More information on that work can be seen here.