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Urbana’s own Ultra-met honored

By Christopher Selmek

Ultra-met carbide technologies, Urbana, has received the Defense Manufacturing Achievement Award from the U.S. Department of Defense for its role in reducing the production cost of the next generation of advanced armor piercing ammunition. The contract Ultra-met has with the Department of Defense represents approximately 10 percent of its business, and 30 additional full-time manufacturing employees are being sought to handle the volume.

“We were approached by the Department of Defense engineering team,” said company president Neil Cordonnier. “They needed some assistance solving how to manufacture large volumes of advanced armor piercing ammunition components. They had come up with a design that performed very well. The problem was that it cost them $25 a piece to make. The problem you run into, obviously, is if you have to supply a $25 round to the entire U.S. military, that turns into an amazing amount of money in a very short period of time, so they needed to radically drive the cost down.”

After sharing the classified design with Ultramet and asking for a proposal, the engineering team managed to reduce the cost of production by 90 percent. The Department of Defense accepted the proposal and sent the company orders. Cordonnier said Ultra-met has been manufacturing the advanced armor piercing component approximately 16 months. He said he is not certain whether Ultra-met is the exclusive manufacturer.

“I am very proud of the team’s work on the Department of Defense project for advanced armor piercing components,” he said. “We were able to support our fighting men and women of


From left are Ultra-met employees Brad Jamison, Tim Ramsey, John Krabill, Tom Huelsman, Jeff Fox, Neil Cordonnier, Lacy Davis, Justin Evans, Rodney Wrocklage, Susan Chamberlain, Shannon King, Dan Morrow and Diana Shirley with their Defense Manufacturing Achievement Award from the U.S. Army’s Armament Research Development and Engineering Center.

Christopher Selmek | Urbana Daily Citizen

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the armed forces with a component that vastly improves the performance of existing ammunition against battlefield threats that are using the most advanced body armor.”

According to Cordonnier, the new ammunition design is an improvement on the old one because Tungsten has minimal environmental impact, unlike depleted uranium.

Ultra-met has 122 employees on three shifts to run the mostly automated process of manufacturing these items, but seeks more employees. Cordonnier said that the company offers full training and that the manufacturing floor is clean and climate controlled.

Ultra-met was founded in Urbana in 1965 and has seen a 900 percent growth in the last 25 years. The company produces about a million pieces a month for use in transportation, aerospace, general machining, oil and gas, mining, and power generation industries, and ships all over the world.

Christopher Selmek can be reached at 937-508-2304

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