Silencer Tech Paves Way for New Mufflers
11/18/2016 6:11:31 p.m. - Hobbs, NM. [Story by Curtis Wynne, Hobbs News Sun]
Years ago, the U.S. Army developed silencers for weapons used by special forces in military applications.
Now, through agreements with New Horizons Foundation, Hobbs-based Pemco of New Mexico is using that technology to create the prototype of a noise-reducing muffler for internal combustion engines.
The New Horizons Foundation was formed and funded in 2011 by the Lea County Commission and New Mexico Junior College as a non-profit research foundation, a new initiative to use research discoveries and new technologies to diversify and expand the county's longstanding oil and gas economy.
Hosting a team of senior research officials from the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) Wednesday at the invitation of NHF, Pemco owner Garry Buie said the muffler could eventually reduce noise created by anything from oilfield and mining equipment to home lawn mowers and chain saws.
The muffler is one of two such projects spinning off military applications in which his company is involved. The other, called cold spray, is a metal working technology that Buie described as enabling the repair of obsolete parts when those parts are no longer available on the market.
The ARDEC team both develops armaments and shares declassified technology with the public.
Dale Gannaway, executive director of New Horizons, told the News-Sun during the Pemco tour, "(New Horizons is) actually the intermediary with the Department of Defense laboratories. We already have agreements with ARDEC and the Army Research Lab where companies like Pemco, can come through the foundation and don't have to create agreements with these labs."
On Tuesday, New Mexico Lt.Gov. John Sanchez and Economic Development Department Secretary Matthew Geisel announced at a Roundhouse meeting in Santa Fe that the state has issued a letter of support. The letter endorses the New Horizon Foundation's initiative to make the program available to other local economic development organizations around the state.
"It's all about diversification of the economy. It's like Garry with that muffler. He's helping us develop a prototype," Gannaway said. "The private sector is the driver of the economy. Technology is the driver, many times, that companies can use to drive the economy. We're trying to hook progressive thinkers like Garry Buie and companies up that want to drive and grow their companies."
Also participating in Wednesday's tour was Rep. David Gallegos, R-Eunice.
"I think this is a really great opportunity. The muffler piece will give us an opportunity to keep our people out of hazards," he said. "It's hard enough on the derrick as it is. The sound suppression that it's going to give us is going to revolutionize what we do in the oilfield. I think we're touching the rest of the United States and possibly the world."
ARDEC and ARL team members had been instructed to avoid talking with the press due to their top secret work, but Tim Witting, Maryland-based technology advisor for New Horizons, spoke for them.
Witting said, "I've been working with these guys for 20 years. It's part of their mission in life to take technology created for military purposes, where we all spend money paid to the government, and find things that we can use here."
Lea County Commissioner Rebecca Long, joining the tour, anticipates New Horizon to affect many operations in the county.
"The vision and where this is going is exciting to watch," she said. "Honestly, the sky's the limit for these guys."
Curtis Wynne may be contacted at 575-391-5436 or firstname.lastname@example.org.