South African defence company setting up ammunition filling plant for foreign client

13th September 2017 By: Keith Campbell - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

South African defence company setting up ammunition filling plant for foreign client

A view of part of the new Universal Filling Facility
Photo by: Rheinmetall Denel Munition

South African defence company Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM) announced on Tuesday that it was in the final phase of commissioning a new Universal Filling Facility, which will serve the needs of an international client. “We have worked with this client over the last four years to bring this world class manufacturing capability to reality,” reported RDM CEO Norbert Schulze.

The facility will be able to fill various types of munitions, ranging from aircraft bombs to medium- and large-calibre shells. Its establishment in the client’s country is being directed and overseen by RDM engineers and artisans, who are active on the site.

“This greenfields project was designed, manufactured and fully tested at RDM facilities in South Africa prior to dispatch,” he highlighted. “It is one of 39 similar facilities RDM has produced worldwide. This plant engineering competence within RDM has provided customers on all major continents with a turnkey solution in their quest for autonomy.”

Over the next few weeks, all the outstanding filling, assembly and packing equipment for the facility will be placed, secured and connected. Then will follow the engineering commissioning phase, which will see the separate testing and de-bugging each of the equipment modules, to check that each is operating properly.

Thereafter, there will be the process commissioning phase. In this, the correct and proper operation of the entire system will be checked, including ensuring that all the interrelated interfaces function within the established standards and specifications and completely conform to the agreed performance for the system.

The client’s personnel are also involved in these commissioning phases. “RDM provides on-the-job training to the client in terms of the operation of the plant, maintenance thereof, fault finding and corrective actions required,” he explained. “It is imperative that once RDM hands over such a facility, the client is trained and competent to continue with production of quality products in a safe environment.”

The final quarter of this year will see RDM carry out the factory acceptance testing and pilot runs. These will guarantee a balanced system, meeting all the set parameters and achieving all quality requirements.

“RDM will also manufacture the first pilot lot together with the client to prove user requirements have been met,” stated the company in its press release. “These samples are subjected to dynamic testing with the end-user. On successful completion of the proofing, the client will be in a position of self-sufficiency, boasting the latest filling technology for [the] loading, assembling, packing and testing of a variety of ammunition types.”