Recovery Vehicles Case Study
Working alongside one of Brisbane’s major, tier-one suppliers to the Australian Armed Forces for specialist equipment was an exciting challenge.
Having spent several years completing design concepts, the Australian Armed Forces provisioned a tender for the complete manufacture of an aluminium superstructure for “63 specialist medium recovery vehicles”, vehicles that operate directly in the field to both service and recover the armed forces fleet – throughout the world.
Further to the submission of a compliant tender, Metlink identified that the design for the vehicle could be further enhanced to suit more modern technology and manufacturing processes. Proposing therefore a second non-compliant document to demonstrate improvements in the manufacturing process and significant reductions in the cost of the tender package overall, Metlink were then directly engaged on a 6-month basis to completely re-design the unit.
The biggest challenge was in reducing the weight of the finished structure, as these vehicles needed to be shipped worldwide and tackle difficult terrain. Using our expertise and knowledge to advise our clients on how we felt the product could be enhanced by using the latest technologies in manufacturing we worked to improve the overall appearance and performance of the Superstructure and reduce the time and cost of manufacture.
By introducing specialised lightweight materials and fully utilizing our specialist in-house CNC machinery, we were able to dramatically reduce the number welded joints and improve on the overall rigidity of this light weight structure by introducing stiffening folds in the correct structural areas; furthermore we were also able to challenge the metal thickness on the unit achieving a very significant reduction in overall weight of this vehicle.
Having successfully completing this new design contract we then re-entered into a second round of tender submission which we were successful in winning.
Having manufactured every part of the superstructure including its interchangeable parts on specialist jigs to allow for any kit-parts to be replaced when damaged, the unit performed on its requirements to be easily assessable by its operators and its multiple compartments waterproof for the storage of radio communications apparatus. The significant weight reduction in the manufactured components further enhanced the vehicles capability now allowing this newly designed superstructure to tow, carry full fuel tanks and carry all the necessary spare parts.
Metlink are very proud of our achievements in both designing and manufacturing this highly specialised medium recovery vehicle to the very high quality standards set by the Australian Army.