Author Topic: Sheridan company uses whiz-bang material to protect lives, valuables  (Read 1285 times)


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Kennon engineers embedded the cover material with ceramic plates to ward off mice teeth, and slathered a test piece with chocolate-and-peanut butter candy and left it in a field to see if the mice liked it. They tried to eat it but couldn’t. A new Kennon product line was born.
As Hall showed off U.S. Air Force unit symbols hanging on the wall, Kensey was on the phone in the back of the shop. It sounded like a customer.
The Kennon Aircraft Covers research and development chief is designing what may be the lining of the future for a Marine transport aircraft — lining that would stop an enemy bullet from hitting troops flying aboard the plane.
Yet not everything the company takes on ends up with a working solution. Kennon couldn’t get right an aircraft covering that would protect a plane from hailstones falling at 120 mph, not even after the company built a snowball-flinging cannon to simulate blows from hail.
He pulls out a jar full of bullets, flattened into heavy, mushroom-shaped slugs from slamming against the material.
“It’s pretty cool,” Weitz said of his job. “Sometimes it’s like, ‘pinch me.’”
Kennon said the company has greatly benefited from cooperation with the University of Wyoming and federal Small Business Innovation Research grants, which help fund the company to take on new challenges for the federal government, and strong support from city officials and Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming.
“This is like a Norman Rockwell town compared to the streets of Los Angeles,” he said.
The company got into the military aircraft business when the Gulf War against Iraq in 1990-1991 baked military jets in the punishingly hot Saudi Arabian sun.
The company also designed and now sells a suicide prevention door. The doors have a strong but pliant foam core that attaches to door frames using powerful magnets and collapses if a patient attempts suicide.
That’s a good thing.
Kennon Aircraft covers was founded in 1984 in a garage in Temple City, Calif., a Los Angeles suburb, by Paul Kennon Chaney and Ron Kensey. They came up with the idea of aircraft window sun shields that would fit inside the window frame without the use of fasteners. Kensey later bought out Kennon, and in 1989, Kensey and his family picked up their lives and his business, packed them into an old school bus, and moved to Sheridan.
SHERIDAN — Inside a one-floor, nondescript building off Main Street, Mark Weitz hasn’t yet figured out how to shoot a bullet through a layer of quilted fabric.
“I’m here all the time,” he told the caller. “We’re always open.”
Kennon also designed and built a natural gas wellhead cover that Velcros together and protects the wellhead from mice. An oil field operator approached Kennon to make the covers after work crews had to fight off rattlesnakes that climbed inside the existing wellhead covers on the hunt for nesting mice.
Kennon Aircraft Covers may be the name of the business, but the company does far more than build covers and window shields for aircraft — its first mission. From the small building in Sheridan, Kennon uses fabrics and other materials to protect anything valuable. The list goes on and on: Marines, mental institution patients, gas wellhead covers, aircraft windows, airframes,代考ORACLE, jet engines and city-cruising tricycles powered by pedals and solar panels.
The inside of most of the building looks like a sewing shop, with employees in front of large industrial sewing machines surrounded by islands of flat space on which to lay fabrics. Holly the shop dog patrols the floor. Kennon employs 30 to 35 people, with one out of four working on the engineering and design side in rooms adjoining the sewing floor.
Aircraft protection was Kennon’s first job and is still the core business. Kennon covers them all — from windows and parts of relatively tiny Cessna 180 personal aircraft to the Defense Department’s Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which can fly at nearly Mach 2 and carry 15,000 pounds of bombs, missiles and ammunition.
The tax climate was friendly, product transportation wasn’t a problem and Kensey could get the employees he needed. Also, it was better for his family, Kensey said.
“We sell a lot of these,” said Dale Hall, Kennon’s vice president of business development, as he illustrated how the door works.
“We’ve been stopping a lot of these,” he said.
Kensey and Hall said the company is always open to coming up with solutions for new needs. Kennon is currently working on a design bid for the redesign of cold water survival gear for Navy fliers, but there’s always another customer who needs the company’s expertise in protecting life and valuable property.