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Tuesday, June 07, 2016

APV hosts BAE Land 400 Industry Consultation Forum

APV hosts BAE Land 400 Industry Consultation Forum, June 2nd 2016.

In the early hours of Thursday Morning the BAE Patria Armoured Modular Vehicle (AMV) stealthily made its way to APV's secure industrial testing facility in Melbourne to be unveiled to Industry. This surprisingly agile vehicle positioned itself within the industrial backdrop of the APV Test Centre to welcome a cross section of industry leaders to our facilities at Campbellfield.

The Test Centre is of course Australia's leading Dynamic, Environmental and Industrial Test Lab and the most advanced testing Lab of its type in the Southern Hemisphere. Here, APV specialises in dynamic and industrial testing. Completing testing on behalf of ANCAP, The Automotive Industry, Defence Contractors, Helicopter Seating, Child Seats, Wheel Chairs, Restraint Systems, Cargo Retention, Advanced High Speed Photography and Data Acquisition along with a myriad of advanced manufacturing and aerospace applications. It is an exciting environment where we see first hand Industry from around the world at the leading edge of technology.

So, It was with great pleasure that we could host such an event, both supporting future Australian industry participation with Land 400, but also to demonstrate APV's capabilities to Industry.

APV's business is all about Occupant Safety, Survivability and Industrial Testing. In the context of Land Military Vehicles this is all about keeping the Soldier Safe during front line operations.

We are the Market Leader in the design and manufacture of restraint systems for Military Land Vehicles in both the Nth American and Australian markets having produced 35,000 Military Harnesses over the past 5 yrs. Supplementing our 100,000 per annum specialist occupant restraint production across our other markets.

APV restraints and the seating within the Aust Bushmaster and US Navistar Fleet kept American and Aust soldiers safe during the Afghanistan conflict with no loss of life of any personnel wearing an APV military restraint within these frontline vehicles. A track record that APV, Navistar, Thales and associated seat manufacturers are extremely proud of.

Today, Survivability within front line operations has become a primary consideration in vehicle design and APV's business is firmly positioned within this market internationally.

With 200 people attending the event, representing some of Australia's leading industrial and manufacturing companies, this was a great opportunity for all involved to understand the opportunities that Land 400 would provide.

BAE and ourselves had invited a cross section of industry from our networks and via the Industry Associations. It is my belief that Australia has the manufacturing strength and capability to produce these vehicles locally and this was my underlying message for the day. So much so, that a Services Company had to ask, "What about me?". Whilst there is ample room for these guys, I am singularly of the view that Australian industry has the opportunity to prove itself here as both internationally competitive, but also well capably of building these vehicles locally.

By strengthening Australian manufacturing capability within Australia with projects such as Land 400, diversified companies such as ourselves will be better placed to compete internationally in the future. And by working together, regardless of geography all of industry will benefit.

BAE certainly took up this challenge during the day. Allowing industry to see the vehicle first hand, identifying the opportunities for local manufacture and registering their interest with the BAE team.

Similarly, but on a much smaller scale, we laid out a display of componentry that we source from Overseas to provide opportunities for industry to localise - many of which are at volumes of 100,000 p.a.

Clearly, there was excitement in the room. Perhaps a unique sense of what can be achieved.

As exciting, was also the networking opportunity for industry as we all examined the elements of the vehicle and during the industry tours of APV's facilities. This was a unique opportunity for industry leaders to meet in an industrial environment, to strengthen our networks and in turn by working together into the future - forming core capabilities of Australia's future Advanced Manufacturing Environment.

Whilst, not currently part of Land 400, I am confident that we will see significant and important testing work performed here at the Test Centre on behalf of industry for Land 400. After all we understand this environment better than any.

Due to the original Land 400 objective of procuring a proven Military Off the Shelf vehicle, it is difficult for us to provide Military Harnesses into the platform - despite us being the Market Leaders in this field. For this to occur the Australian Government and the Primes, must allow for time and therefore cost during the design phase to substitute our harnesses into the Survivability Package of the vehicle. Here we are working at a Systems Level and any change requires recertification and blast testing - I hope that after hosting the Industry Forum that the message reaches the key decision makers that Australia has the capability to manufacture this locally, and surely it will be a lost opportunity not to consider companies such as ours for core components of the build - when we have already proven ourselves as internationally competitive and market leaders in our respective fields.

In closing, I sincerely wish to thank BAE Systems for this opportunity to host their event. As an Australian Small Business (SME), it was certainly a great privilege and we wish them ever success with their proposal for Land 400 and to build these vehicles in Australia.

Harry Hickling
Managing Director


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Side Airbags in Passenger Vehicles and Seat Belts in Buses

As the Managing Director of APV Engineering and Testing Services, I am perhaps given a unique insight into the issues relating to vehicle and occupant safety. I would like to take this opportunity to share with you two very important features that we all should look for regarding safety. The first being the fitment of Side Airbags to passenger vehicles, and secondly the need for wearing and having seat belts fitted to buses.

Side Airbag Performance

Did you ever wonder how important an Airbag is for saving lives? Well the latest Australian Built Holden Commodore, tested in our lab in Melbourne shows you just how quickly the airbag deploys to save your life in a 65 kph traditional T bone crash scenario, where a vehicle runs into the driver or passenger side of a car at 90 degrees.

Of course the VF Commodore is not alone in using state of the art airbag technologies to improve occupant safety, but the following video certainly demonstrates their importance in vehicle safety.

By the use of state-of-the-art and highly advanced technology, and as if by magic, the Side Airbag in the VF Commodore deploys before the occupant, in this case an APV Side Impact Dummy, even feels the impact. It is truly an impressive result and here you can see in milli second increments just how important Side Airbags are for your safety.

My family live on a country property and over the years we have travelled many country miles. One word of advise I have always given my children, is about the risk of hitting trees on country roads, especially on corners - side airbags in vehicles are certainly just as important in these crash scenarios as well.

Wearing and Fitment of Seat Belts in Buses

Recently I returned from a short break at Kakado running around in a tourist bus at 90 kph without seat belts. I felt a little uncomfortable in fact that I wasn't given the choice of wearing a seatbelt in a bus doing this speed when I wear one every day in a car.

Then during September 2013, All Terrain Warriors who design and build specialist tourist buses for outback Australia asked the APV Test Centre to test their latest design of a tourist bus that has been especially designed for seats with seatbelts for vehicles venturing off the bitumen and onto remote gravel and off-road driving conditions in the Australian outback.

The following video, shows just how well the bus body structure performs. What you will see is the All Terrain Warriors bus cabin being tested to an AS68/00 bus test. Here, their Bus Cabin, fully fitted with seats, is attached to our test rig with full instrumentation and cameras, recording a simulated crash scenario. In real life the Bus Cabin, would be fitted to a light truck chassis for use in outback Australia - a harsh and often unpredictable environment.

At just 50 kph the crash simulation shows that all occupants wearing seatbelts are held safely in place. The seats remain intact and anchored safely in place to the bus structure - keeping its buckled up occupants safely restrained during the accident.

Of course not the same can be said for those Crash Dummies that failed to buckle up before taking their bus ride. You may notice that the seats, in front of these dummies, have to not only keep their belted occupants safe, but also take a brutal hit from the unrestrained Crash Dummies from behind, leaving the seats slightly deformed and pushed forward.

Again, this video shows you first hand - the importance of buckling up in any passenger vehicle. On a personal note, I would like to congratulate an Australian Company, All Terrain Warriors, in taking the initiative to design and build a safer Off Road Tourist Bus Cabin.

So be the judge yourself. I hope you have found the videos informative and I believe they translate into a very visual demonstration of the importance of wearing seatbelts, having buses fitted with seat belts and passenger vehicles fitted with side airbags.

So Buckle Up and Drive Safely.

Harry Hickling
Managing Director
Australian Performance Vehicles Pty Ltd

Disclaimer: "This news piece is not serving as a product endorsement by APV. It is being shared in our news section purely to highlight the importance of Side Airbags and the wearing and fitment of Seatbelts in Buses. All views and opinions expressed are by Harry Hickling".