ExLab Solution

5590 USB Power Supply

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Challenge
Soldiers carry a variety of electronic devices that use USB cables for charging during missions, but it is difficult to find charging stations for these technologies in the field or at remote bases.
Solution
The Lab staff developed a converter that can be attached to the readily available 5590 battery.
Operational Impact
Any electronic device that uses a USB cable can be charged using the 5590 battery.

M249 Bipod Link

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Challenge
The standard issue M249 bipod attachment does not allow for horizontal movement, restricting the weapon capability.
Solution
In less than one week, the Lab developed and fit a new attachment that extends the range of M249 movement.
Operational Impact
The M249 can shoot in multiple directions without having to be manually repositioned, reducing the time it takes to engage a target.

Handheld IED Detector Light Mounts

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Challenge
Soldiers using handheld IED detectors at night could not illuminate the ground beneath the sensor without interfering with the systems.
Solution
The Lab staff used the 3D printer to prototype several iterations of tactical light mounts.
Operational Impact
Soldiers can now attach 3 lights to the detectors. The demand outpaced the Ex Labs production capacity, and REF partnered with the Dept. of Energy to print and deliver approximately 500 mounts.

Valve Stem Guard

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Challenge
The exposed valve stems on military vehicles were easily torn off by obstacles, deflating the tire and preventing automatic re-inflation.
Solution
The Lab staff used 3D printed prototypes to design and fit metal guards specifically for these tires.
Operational Impact
More than 100 of these protective guards have been installed. No issues or broken valve stems have been reported on the trucks receiving the guards.

MK-48 Mounts

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Challenge
Soldiers prefer to use the MK-48 on dismounted missions, but the REF-provided, Ironman backpacks are designed to feed ammo to the 240B and 240L machine guns.
Solution
Within 3 weeks, the Lab staff designed and fitted a 3D-prototyped bracket. They went on to produce and distribute 44 aluminum MK-48 adaptors.
Operational Impact
Soldiers can now use a variety of weapons with the Ironman backpacks. Additional mounts have been requested by units in the field.