Victorian and NSW Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) Pentarch has won two major Industry Land Forces 2022 Innovation Awards for their project that safely, and remotely, handles and ‘de-fuzes’ 105mm artillery rounds. Pentarch won the National Innovation Award and the SME Innovation Award categories.
Their novel multi-system process, known as Project Damocles, removes and interrogates fuzes fitted to artillery projectiles using automated robotics and vision systems, and delivers them via un-manned conveyors for reuse or disposal.
Executive Director, Pentarch, Chris Deighton said he and his team were “delighted with the acknowledgment”, describing it as “testimony to the power of bringing technical specialists together” to solve a longstanding problem for their client, the Australian Department of Defence.
“The cost of R&D and achieving compliance with Defence requirements, especially where human safety is the overriding priority, can be demanding and often financially challenging for SMEs,” he said. “As an SME ourselves, we’ve worked closely with very wide range of small businesses to develop our solution from a concept around the challenge faced then designed and integrated multiple sub systems in a fully automated process that can be transported and assembled at the required locations,” he said.
The bespoke robotic system is operated remotely and moves pallets of ammunition within storehouses, conveys them to a process area that extracts ammunition boxes from the pallets, ammunition tubes containing the rounds from the boxes, removes the projectile from the inner packaging (tubes), then de-fuzes the round. The fuze is positioned for X-ray where it is determined to be in an ‘armed’ or ‘unarmed’ state, then repacked for re-use or sent to disposal. At each site the whole process is contained by a modular HESCO barrier system.