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BAE systems brings in new technology in focus on quality munitions


London, United Kingdom. - BAE Systems has taken quality control at its Glascoed munitions facility to a new level with the introduction of a world-leading X-ray imaging process that can detect air pockets as small as 1mm in diameter within explosives.

David Allott, managing director for BAE Systems Land Systems Munitions, said the new system – which cost some £750,000 to develop and install – is believed to be unique. “We are leading the way in developing image enhancement capability, and as a result we are able to provide our customers with even greater confidence in our quality inspection process,” he said.

Further work is planned to enhance the system to provide the ability to produce images showing pockets smaller than 1mm, with the development work taking place “at the limits of existing technology”, he added.

The new X-ray process was developed in consultation with a range of experts, including Cranfield University, AWE Aldermaston, NDT Consultants and X-innovations, who designed the system.

“The system we have installed is unique and very powerful,” he said, “but there is still potential improvement in imaging software to further enhance image contrast and resolution.”

David Allott said the new X-ray imaging process was part of the transformation of BAE Systems’ Munitions business to meet the current and future needs of the UK Ministry of Defence. Air pockets in munitions can affect accuracy and, in severe cases, can lead to premature detonation.

“As a result of our investment and continued focus on lean techniques, our manufacturing facilities are delivering record performance levels. These are clear signs that the Munitions business is progressing well with its transformation programme and this is at the heart of the long-term partnering relationship with the MOD under the proposed MASS (Munitions Acquisition, the Supply Solution) contract,” he said.


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