Orange County Business Journal

U.S. Recalls Ceradyne Armor Plates

Jane Yu Monday, November 26, 2012

Thousands of body armors made by Ceradyne Inc. have been recalled after the U.S. Special Operations Command discovered what it called a manufacturing defect.

Costa Mesa-based Ceradyne makes ceramics-based products for uses by the defense, industrial and commercial markets. It is widely known as maker and supplier of defense-related equipment, and has been supplying the U.S. military with armor plates, helmets and other products. Defense makes up about 40% of Ceradyne’s overall revenue, which was $572 million last year.

Ceradyne was acquired by St. Paul, Minn.-based 3M Co. in October in an $860 million deal. Its stock price dipped during early trading but jumped back to a level about flat from the previous closing, with a market value of about $837 million.

Officials of the Special Operations Command said a glitch was found in the lamination of ceramic and steel portions in roughly 5% of the armor plates from Ceradyne.

There haven’t been any injuries or deaths due to the defective armor plates, according to Kenneth McGraw, spokesman for the Special Operations Command.

“The manufacturer has provided the government all information that applies to the defect and has developed a corrective action plan designed to solve the delamination problem,” McGraw said.

Ceradyne is expected to manufacture replacement plates according to revised guidance, although a separate contract has been granted to Leading Technology Composites Inc. in Wichita, Kan. to make replacement plates.