One of the oldest exhibits at this year’s Defence Systems and Equipment International exhibition in London will be a 20 year old packaging container. This Dewar Brothers’ case, along with many others, was produced 20 years ago for Australian Army chainsaws. Moulded containers, like the one on display, have been providing safe packaging for chainsaws as they are transported between user, workshops and stores around Australia. Even in the harsh environments around the country and the rough handling one would expect on deployment, the cases still have decades of usage left in them.
The case is one of the company’s Spacecase range which are specifically designed to fit into an ISO 20 ft container with minimum wasted space. Typically a container stuffed with Spacecases occupies at least 80 per cent of the space and most of that unused space is taken up by the pallets. Efficient supply chain management is now of paramount importance in both military and commercial logistics and the Dewar Brothers’ design team have listened to their customers and delivered solutions which make the most effective use of the standard ISO containers.
The best use of space is only one factor. Good, robust design, using selected robust moulded polyethylene, then ensures that the packaging cases can be used constantly over many years, especially when dealing with spares. Components can be shipped out, fitted and the used parts then returned to workshops for repair, refurbishment or reconditioning, using the same case. With equipment now being increasingly priced on “through life” costs, packaging cases which virtually never need replacing are contributing to keeping “through life” costs down. A typical application of these packaging solutions is the use of Spacecases for spare gearboxes for Pinzgauer multi-wheel drive vehicles. By using such cases the workshop knows that the gearbox will arrive undamaged ready for fitting and the case is immediately available for shipping the used part back to base for repair.
A large proportion of packaging, even those that meet various Defence Standards, is still made from timber. The Australian Government has some of the most stringent environmental protection laws which includes discouraging the use of timber as a consumable. In complying with Australian environmental protection legislation, Dewar Brothers developed their non-timber solutions for military packaging. Since then the company has incorporated Australian specifications into their polyethylene packaging solutions and in so doing have produced a cost-effective proven alternative to timber and aluminium. Dewar Brothers use polyethylene that is UV stablised and meets food grade standards. The containers are made by rotational moulding which results in an unstressed flow of material and makes the container much stronger.
Recent users of these new cases are Northrop Grumman and the US Navy. Northrop Grumman uses Spacecases for transporting Joint Strike Fighter components to the assembly plants and the US Navy uses specially designed Spacecases for transporting C130 propeller blades. One of these propeller blade boxes will be on the Dewar Brothers’ stand at DSEi, so the old will be alongside the new.
To keep up with market demand Dewar Brothers have designed and produced a four metre Spacecase with a cross sectional dimensions of 1,100 mm by 990 mm. The unparallel size of the largest of the Spacecases is due to the material used and the production process. The interior can be configurede for a range of components, spares and stores. The body of the Spacecase is easily able to hold two tonnes of equipment and is designed to be carried as a helicopter underslung load. One of the current users of the four metre Spacecases is the Australian Army which uses them for transporting deployable fuel and water handling equipment for both military and humanitarian missions
“Today’s armed forces depend on outstanding logistic support.” commented Euan Martyn, Dewar Brothers’ Sales Director, adding, “However if the stores arrive at the sharp end damaged or in poor condition all the logistic support skills will be wasted. Our role in the supply chain is to make sure that the user can open the box and the stores will be in perfect working order and ready to use with the container available to return worn or damaged parts. Minimum wastage saves money and with years of use available in each case Dewar Brothers is helping to minimise through life costs.”
Dewar Brothers was founded in 1973 in Tillicoultry as one of Scotland’s first independent corrugated sheet plants. It specialises in the design, manufacture and supply of defence packaging to the UK Ministry of Defence and its prime contractors on land, sea and air systems. By providing end to end solutions Dewar Brothers supports its customers’ requirements for through life management programmes. The company operates from two purposes built facilities in Tillicoultry and Linlithgow, where there is 75,000 square feet dedicated to the manufacturing and storage of packaging.