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In the July issue of The Ultimate Finish, we feature our customer Electro Optic Systems.
Axalta supplies paint to a range of industries beyond smash repairs, including manufacturers of high-tech defence equipment, Electro Optic Systems (EOS).
EOS manufactures a range of remotely controlled, stabilised platforms, high performance optical sensors and lasers, and thermal cameras. The stabilised platforms are designed as the base to mount a weapon, which allows the operator to be safely positioned under armour inside a vehicle, from where they can accurately point and fire the weapon without exposing themselves to danger.
“These light, robotic platforms are designed to be mounted on a range of light, armoured vehicles and are utilised by defence forces,” explained Warwick Holloway, Senior Vice President of Global Production and Supply Chain for EOS. “The sensors we manufacture are used on marine platforms, small and large boats, and even on fixed wing aircraft.”
Manufactured in Canberra, the high-tech equipment is sought after by the Australian Defence Force, and is also delivered to the US Defence Force and other allied countries.
The manufacture of this equipment requires a range of specialists, including electronic, software and mechanical engineers, and a range of highly trained operations staff, production technicians, materials handlers, quality officers, schedulers, planners, risk managers and trade compliance officers.
“EOS is growing and we’re in the process of establishing overseas manufacturing facilities in the US,” said Warwick, “although the majority of manufacturing is local.”
“All our current contracts for the export of defence equipment are controlled by the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and we are required to have special licences from both the US and Australian governments before we can ship to customers. We employ people to specifically manage this highly regulated process, which can take six to twelve months.”
In addition to the manufacture of their current range of equipment, EOS is constantly investing in research and development of new technologies. In fact, they’ve invested about $800m in the last 20 years.
“We are always looking at new technologies, which includes customising or enhancing the performance of our current technologies. It also ranges from entirely new technologies, such as protection from unmanned air objects (drones) to specialised systems for remotely operated vehicles. We’re also developing the next generation of stabilised platforms and directed energy (laser) systems.”
The equipment manufactured by EOS is finished in Axalta and other defence approved paints. Due to the nature of the technology and its uses, the paints need to be specialised. They must have specific infra-red reflecting capabilities, which make them difficult to see through a thermal camera, and they have to be incredibly durable to be able to withstand extremely harsh environments, repeated decontamination and high-pressure cleaning.