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ZARGES is working with the Bundeswehr (German Army) to develop special containers

Customised logistics solution for weapon technicians and inspectors

Base for the weapon mechanics box: ZARGES K 424 mobile box

Special tools can be sorted by weapon groups.

ZARGES box replaces previous models mainly consisted of wood and plastic.

At the end of 2019, around 3,200 soldiers of the Bundeswehr (German Federal Armed Forces) were deployed across three continents. The logistic handling and transport of equipment needs to be tailored to the specific purpose and cargo at every site.

Special tools in particular, for example for hand weapons, that do not comply with the standard size and shape, usually cannot be transported in a space-saving and suitable assembled manner. In addition, climatic conditions or restrictions on transport volumes and weight that vary depending on the place of use. Furthermore, products need to be adapted to current legal requirements, especially with regard to occupational safety, ergonomics and environmental protection and should comply with the latest technical standards. In order to meet the specific needs of weapon technicians in the field, the packaging and transport specialists at ZARGEShave teamed up with the Bundeswehr to develop a customised transport and storage box.

Within the framework of two sub-projects based on a public tender, the foundations for the individual transport and storage container were laid from March 2018.The challenge in the planning phase was to sort the special tools according to weapon groups and to pack them in a clear and space-saving way. In addition to compliance with the current quality standards, a corrosion-resistant, lightweight and modularly expandable solution was required. This should, if needed, also allow cost-effective expansion according to the modular principle during the production process and in small and test series. "The aim was to standardize, modernize and streamline the work and transport of the special tools and to introduce a standardized transport and storage container that can be equally used by the weapons mechanic and the weapons inspector ", says Robin Kettel, government technical adviser and project manager for machine guns at the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support. The solution is based on a modified ZARGES mobile box from the K 424 series, which was modified and fitted with a front compartment and two drawers to ensure clear and rapid access to the tools.

"The user-specific ZARGES transport box replaces the previous models that mainly consisted of wood and plastic and were equipped with additional materials such as foam. The aluminium construction of the new transport container also allows a higher additional load and a division according to application groups, sizes and requirements. This makes the work more efficient and due to the appropriate division of the special tools more ergonomic. Furthermore, the modular configuration of the measuring and testing equipment allows the same basic configuration of the transport box to be used for several applications, resulting in a reduction and streamlining of product variety and logistical effort.” The international operation sites of the transport and storage containers have different climatic conditions and thus different loads on the material, that had to be taken into account in the design. Further significant factors were the reliable protection against external influences according to protection class IP 65, IP 67 and IP 54 as well as the space-saving shape that allows easy loading even by airway.

The next steps are already being planned

After thorough planning and a series of tests, the customised transport box was successfully implemented and field-tested. "We are especially impressed by the excellent collaboration and the great problem-solving expertise”, says Mr Kettel in summary. "The ZARGES team understands the unique characteristics and challenges faced by the Bundeswehr. The target-oriented teamwork led to a great result which is quite remarkable.” This was evident throughout the project period. In addition, the Bundeswehr is also planning to work together with ZARGES on further projects and to configure individually customised transport and storage boxes for various applications, such as for carrying tool kits or spare parts packages.

"With the special production of the weapon mechanic box for the Bundeswehr, we have created a milestone that is a useful addition to our portfolio”, says Mareike Bleile, Product Manager Logistics Industry at ZARGES.  The product joins the current range of housings, special containers, boxes and cases offered by the packaging and transport specialist. Since January 2020, ZARGES has its own foam manufacturing facility in Weilheim at the site of the tried and tested transport boxes. “As a manufacturer with our own foam production facilities, we offer our customers further advantages such as shorter lead times, more specific production know-how as well as all relevant work steps, thus providing a complete solution from a single source. We look forward to our further collaboration and the new challenges that lie ahead.”