Custom Fabrication Effort for DLA


The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) had a long open solicitation for a Smoke Blocking curtain produced from a legacy drawing. The company that previously provided this part was no longer bidding, and it had been open for a considerable amount of time. The curtain required a number of materials that were missing cage codes, included wrong part numbers, and did not have material usages listed. At the same time the curtain also has a large form factor which increases the manpower needed to perform standard functions such as sewing.


There were a number of difficulties associated with this project, a select group has been listed below.

  • The majority of the curtain required a coated PVC material, the producer of which removed themselves from the coated fabric market and was bought by a larger group.
  • One of the materials on the drawing had an incorrect part number and no cage code listed
  • One of the materials on the drawing was no longer produced by its manufacturer and no replacement was given.
  • One of the companies listed on the drawing claimed they could no longer quote the material due to supply chain issues.
  • The hems on the outside edges of the part required a very thick layering of material at the corners.
  • One of the materials was a leather which comes in hides rather than rolls, and the pieces needed for the curtain were larger than most hides could accommodate which meant there was a lot of scrap material.


Zippertubing needed to come up with solutions to each of these problems and more in order to complete this project. Below are the solutions we came up with.

  • After reaching out through many different avenues we were put into contact with someone who was able to provide us the original spec sheet for the materials, we were then able to track down an equivalent material from a current supplier.
  • From an old listing stating what the correct part number should be, we were able to track down the original supplier and source from them.
Custom Manufactured Smoke Curtain
  • Through reaching out to a few of our suppliers we were able to track down a supplier with surplus of the original material.
  • Based on their spec sheet we were able to track down the company who supplied the listed supplier and purchase directly from them.
  • By adjusting our material cutting files we were able to streamline the process and reduce scrap from what was originally called out on the drawing.


 The manufacturing of legacy parts can be a difficult journey with a variety of problems.  Zippertubing was able to leverage its experience making products for the DoD to solve these very diverse and challenging issues.  Zippertubing has design engineers and expert production staff to bridge the gap between old incomplete drawings and manufacturing finished parts.  The DLA was appreciative of Zippertubing being able to produce these parts and fulfill their demand for this particular material.  These parts ultimately support the US military so they can continue operations and critical missions with all the hardware and supplies they need.

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    Henry Shrock - Design Engineer

    Written by Henry Shrock - Design Engineer