Short notice, low volume requests for military equipment require all the precision and durability of a piece of kit with years of planning, but are often needed in a fraction of the time. One of the company’s most recent projects was a periscope for an armoured vehicle.
To supply 25 castings in just three weeks the firm from St. Asaph, Denbighshire, turned to rapid prototyping, tooling and manufacturing specialist ARRK.
Kent Periscopes built up its 3D CAD designs in SolidWorks and AutoCAD, and then passed the data to ARRK, who moved the job to its in-house foundry based in Gloucester that it uses to cast in aluminium or zinc. The next step involved producing a standard stereolithography model, from which patternmakers and foundrymen produced a tool to obtain the casts.
Short notice, low volume requests for military equipment require all the precision and durability of a piece of kit with years of planning, but are often needed in a fraction of the time
The urgent operation equipment, designed for immediate use in Afghanistan, was to be in a finished condition including inserts, alochrome and paint. This was further enhanced down to the last details of being sprayed with a non infrared detection coating to help hide from night imaging devices.
By having the periscopes speedily put together through the in house process, a lot of time was saved over the usual process – a typical investment casting process can take up to ten weeks.
Foundry manager at ARRK PDG John Hill, said: “Using ARRK’s RPM service to deliver aluminium castings the client is able to validate the original SLA master very quickly before committing to further downstream processes,” adding that having SLA and foundry specialists working together has other benefits. “They are able to advise on the manufacturability of the client’s design so that if any modifications are required it is done at this stage rather than later where the client will have lost valuable time and money.”
The final products have already been shipped out to troops, ready to be fitted to an undisclosed type of armoured vehicle for immediate action in the ultimate testing ground – military action in Afghanistan.
ARRK gives Kent Periscopes the winning edge in the design battle