Australia’s Frontline Manufacturing is commissioning a brake press at a cost of $1.42 million, of which the Commonwealth is contributing 50 percent for the purposes of bending armour plate. The press, being made by the Belgian company LVD Group is in production and due for installation at Frontline’s Meadowbrook defence manufacturing plant in November 2020.
Frontline Manufacturing was announced in April as the recipient of a SICP Grant as part of the Land Combat Vehicle and Technology Upgrade Priority. Specifically, the grant was awarded for the creation of an integrated processing armour plate capability in Australia, supporting LAND 400 all the way from the manufacturing phases through to maintenance and future upgrades. The grant funds the purchase and commissioning of a 1,500 tonne brake press with an automated angle correction system able to accurately bend heavy armour plate.
The grant was awarded to close the loop in Frontline’s in-house manufacturing capacity. While already possessing laser cutters and other equipment, the company lacked the ability to bend the high cost and complex armour plate which will be required for sovereign manufacture of the CRVs and IFVs under LAND 400.
Matthew Ellis, the founder of Frontline and current special projects manager, said “high tolerance bending has been a key part of Frontline’s internal capabilities for many years through our CNC controlled brake presses. However, the complexity in folding heavy armour plate, and the high cost of error, meant it was not viable for Frontline offer a fabricated armour plate solution without this level of control. The Commonwealth’s support in this has been instrumental in us having the integrated fabrication capability – not just at Frontline, but as far as I am aware, in Australia. All of us at Frontline take this responsibility gravely and we will put everything into justifying Defence’s faith shown in us.”