When a storage solution does need replacing, it’s an opportune time to review all the features and functionality. Of course, our products will have been best in class when they were originally manufactured, but with many years (even decades) having passed, technology and development will have moved on significantly. We don’t rest on our laurels. Our team will a complete design review with a view to improving performance and longevity.
An example of this continuous improvement was with 198 maxi boxes commissioned by the United States Air Force (USAF). With 12 long years of heavy use, the 198 maxi boxes were showing signs of their age and replacements became urgently required.
It was important to address the key arrears of fatigue and to put in place new features to prolong their use. The design review focused on the locking system, chassis, and parking brake.
A new and improved locking system.
The padlock and hasp style NATO locking system was open to abuse when keys were lost or simply left back at the workshop. The NATO lock was damaged by being prized open with a crow bar, which also impacted the cabinet itself.
We replaced the lock with a standard issue, heavy duty locking system which we use on Polstore drawer cabinets. As well as being extremely secure, it is also tamper-proof. Should the lock be damaged by misuse, it will completely lock the box out and prevent it being used. It can then be repaired in around 20 minutes, using basic tools and standard components.
A stronger chassis, more resilient to damage.
A common challenge to productivity was down time resulting from punctures to the standard tubed tyres. By replacing them with heavy duty run flat tyres on re-enforced rims, the team improved performance and created the opportunity to remove the spare wheel as it was no longer required.
The design review took a closer look at the areas of stress and corrosion. Some places were re-enforced to provide a stronger chassis, and a re-design removed potential areas for water and/or sand to collect. Rather than repaint in a smooth finish, we painted the chassis in a heavy-duty texture powder coat system, which is more resilient to knocks and abrasions.
Parking brakes which improved safety as well as the chassis.
The original parking brake was a standard wheel locking system applied to one of the rear wheels. We decided the best way to improve the effectiveness of the brake was to replace it with a hydraulic handbrake system. The disc fitted directly to the new rear axle, braking both rear wheels rather than one. This improved safety and by moving to a solid rear axle (instead of the corner stub axles) a much stronger and more rigid chassis was created.
The units are now in service with the USAF and their flight line support crew and should provide them with at least another decade of heavy use as well as improve functionality.