Solving Defense Sector Safety Challenges with Metal Formed Solutions

Finished Turret Bulkhead

Solving Defense Sector Safety Challenges with Metal Formed Solutions

Spincraft prides itself on working closely with our customers to solve their most advanced metal forming challenges using our unique capabilities and industry expertise. A prime example of putting our precision engineering experience and expertise to the test is collaborating with customers in the defense sector where quality products are absolute requirements. One such recent customer we seek to highlight, Kongsberg, produces remote weapon systems solutions delivered to nearly 30 countries worldwide.

The Problem Presented

In 2018, this customer was keen on looking into defense manufacturers that could manufacture fabricated turrets for armored fighting vehicles. With Spincraft’s history supporting the defense sector, we were approached about revising a critical part of the vehicle’s design.

When looking at an armored fighting vehicle, a turret with its weapons system and munitions storage sits on top, and typically, crew members operate from within this turret. Our design was focused on a new way of thinking that would provide a much higher level of protection for the crew by enabling them to remain completely within the hull of the vehicle using a remote weapons system and keeping them away from the munitions storage. A critical part of the crew protection system is the armored bulkhead which is the barrier between the crew and ballistic or explosive threats acting on the turret.

A typical conventionally fabricated armored turret bulkhead will need to allow full articulation of any weapons systems in the turret including large angles of elevation. This causes a significant loss of crew space beneath the turret or requires a higher vehicle silhouette, neither of which are good solutions. By collaborating with the customer, Spincraft was able to provide design for manufacture guidelines to develop a high integrity, geometrically optimal bulkhead. This meant that full weapon system functionality could be accomplished without the need to compromise on crew safety, crew compartment space or vehicle silhouette.  

The main weapon system elevation requirement encroaches into the crew area in the vehicle hull.

Initial Bulkhead vehicle design

New spun formed solution allows full elevation, maintains low vehicle silhouette and maintains the crew’s safety.

The Spincraft Solution

Spincraft delivered a first-of-its-kind solution as the only company in the world that has spun formed armor plate offering the following combined value proposition:

  • Greatly reduced product cost with a near-net offering
  • Uncompromised part strength with a single-piece construction that eliminated welds and potential failure points of a fabricated approach
  • A complete ‘assembly ready’ solution with a slew-ring mounted armor hatch, latching system, locks and handles, painting to NATO specifications and all markings and labels added for vehicle fitment readiness
  • Spinning to a complex contour that enabled greater headspace inside the armored vehicle and permitted the crew to maneuver the remote weapons system to reach a broader range of angles
UK Defense Solution

We connected with Swedish Steel, a supplier of our leading Oil & Gas spun solutions, as they make a wide variety of armored plates. They were able to supply trial material for Spincraft to perform a formability assessment. These sub-scale parts were supplied for careful evaluation using industry-standard ballistic testing methods and test criteria. After successful outcomes from both forming trials and ballistic assessment, our engineers discussed outcomes with Kongsberg and were able to recommend design edits that ensured we could meet their design briefing most cost-effectively.

With a few modifications to meet the outcomes of trials, Spincraft first manufactured a stainless steel demonstrator and then an armored plate demonstrator unit that successfully met our customer’s requirements and solved their challenges.

Contact Us

Standex Engineering Technology Group and its Spincraft businesses are a proud strategic manufacturing partner to leading defense OEMs and Tier 1s across the world. To tackle your most challenging metal forming designs in the most cost-effective manner, reach out to our expert metal forming colleagues today.