Industry News: Volume 3, Number 4


Former Bushmaster plant back in production
Earlier this year, the Freedom Group, current owner of Bushmaster Firearms, moved operations from Maine to streamline operations.  It has been reported that the former owner of Bushmaster Firearms International, LLC and other investors have created a new rifle company in the former Bushmaster manufacturing plant in Windham, Maine.

Named Windham Weaponry, the company will make rifles and employ up to half of the 73 employees who worked at the Bushmaster plant, which closed earlier this year.  More employees may be added before the end of the year.  “A group of investors felt there was a great opportunity for a new company when Bushmaster Firearms International, LLC decided to relocate the company to another state and lay off all its employees.  These employees in many cases have 25 years of experience in making one of the finest rifles in the world,” said the release.  The investor group is led by Richard Dyke, who founded Bushmaster and sold the company to New York City-based private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management in April 2006 for an undisclosed sum.

ATK Receives $488M in Small-Caliber Ammunition Orders, Including the New M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round
ATK has received orders totaling more than $488 million for small caliber ammunition pursuant to an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract with the U.S. Army Contracting Command, Rock Island (ACC-RI).  This order includes a mix of 5.56mm, 7.62mm and .50 caliber military ammunition to be produced at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, Missouri.

ATK is the world’s leading producer of small-caliber military and commercial ammunition.  The company successfully partnered with the Army to design and produce the new 5.56mm cartridge known to the U.S. warfighter as the Enhanced Performance Round (EPR).  “This latest set of orders includes an increase in the demand for the new M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round, which is getting very positive reviews by the warfighter,” explained ATK Small Caliber Systems Vice President and General Manager Mark Hissong.  “We’ve produced more than 100 million rounds of the M855A1 EPR since transitioning it into full-rate production last year.  We will increase EPR production rates this year as we complete the modernization of high-speed, high-volume 5.56mm production equipment used to manufacturer this new high performance round.”

Swiss Army Selects Glock as New Service Pistol
The Swiss Army has chosen Glock as the new service pistol for the Swiss Army Special Forces.  The Glock pistol models ultimately selected were the Glock 17 Gen4 and Glock 26 Gen4 9×19 semiautomatic pistols, as well as the Blue Glock training pistol, the Glock 17T Gen4 and Glock 26T Gen4, which will have the ability to fire both FX and ATK Force on Force marking ammunition.

The Swiss Army began their search for a new duty pistol in 2009 in hopes of finding a firearm that would provide greater soldier superiority and survivability in battle, lighter carry weight, simplicity of use under stress and uncomplicated maintenance.  Glock pistols excelled during field testing as the Army found them superior in ease of handling which provided evaluators superior capability to score hits during target acquisition drills.  “Glock is very proud to have been competitively chosen by the Swiss Army over all other competition,” said Glock Vice President Josh Dorsey.  “Glock was chosen for this project due to the reliability and durability that have made Glock pistols famous.  Glock’s focus remains on providing safe, simple and fast pistols to those that go in harm’s way.  Our firearms are designed for these individuals to succeed and survive in any situation.”

End of an Era for Marlin Firearms in Connecticut
Marlin Firearms’ history dates back to 1870 in New Haven, Conn.  In 1968, the manufacturer moved into its 226,000-square-foot plant in North Haven.  During the 1970s, more than 500 people worked at the facility.  Marlin was sold in 2007 to Remington Arms Co., part of the Freedom Group of companies.  Marlin operations have been transferred to three locations, including the Remington plant in Ilion, New York.

More than 500 people worked at Marlin in the mid-1970s.  When the closure was announced in March 2010, 265 people were working at the gun manufacturing plant.   Marlin was sold to Remington Arms Co. in 2007 for $41.7 million.  Marlin and Remington are part of the conglomerate now overseen by the Freedom Group Inc.

Peli Products Expanding its European Manufacturing Operations
Peli Products S.L. is expanding its European manufacturing operations in Germany.  Since October 2007, the company has been producing injection-molded Peli Protector Case models at the manufacturing site of its German partner in Germany.  The company recently announced that German production will be enlarged to include the roto-mould of Peli-Hardigg Cases, offering a variety of more than 100 models with a selection of 13 different colors.

“The roto-moulded case range is a very important part of our European business.  Considering the current injection moulding production in Germany plus this new range, we will have a substantial part of our EMEA Sales produced in Germany.  That will create a work force increase in Germany plus some substantial investments in machinery and equipment,” says Piero Marigo, Managing Director of Peli Products.  “By enlarging our European manufacturing, we are providing our customers with better service which will better facilitate cooperation with our Engineering and Production teams when developing special projects for them.”

Manroy USA Acquires Sabre Defense Industries
Manroy USA, headquartered in Scottsboro, Alabama, announced the completion of their acquisition of the assets of Nashville-based Sabre Defense Industries.  The assets were sold via bankruptcy auction in March 2011.  Manroy USA will operate and “do business as” two independent companies, each utilizing dedicated personnel and facilities.

Manroy Defense Systems (MDS) will manufacture and market its products and capabilities to the military markets of the USA as well as internationally.  MDS plans to fulfill the contracts with the United States Department of Defense (DoD) once the contract novation process is complete and approved.  Product lines will include the M2 .50 cal. HBMG, 7.62mm GPMG, M2 Quick Change Barrel (QCB), and the M16 family of weapons.  Additionally, MDS will continue supporting with weapons spares, mounts and weapon accessories for Department of Defense and Vehicle OEMs.

Sabre Firearms will manufacture and market commercial and law enforcement product lines that includes the AR-15 family of weapons, spares and accessories.  This commercial business will operate out of Scottsboro, Alabama with the intention of servicing the former Sabre markets and customers as soon as summer 2011.  This strategic move provides each of these companies the production and service capabilities to support the entire range of U.S. military, commercial, law enforcement and foreign markets.

Otis Technology Receives Progressive Manufacturing 100 Award
Otis Technology is a recipient of the seventh annual Progressive Manufacturing 100 Award.  The Progressive Manufacturing 100 is an awards program honoring manufacturing companies that have transformed themselves through the use of information technology.  Every year, Managing Automation recognizes 100 groundbreaking manufacturing companies from around the world.

“Receiving this award for the second straight year is a tremendous honor for Otis.  Implementing so many new technologies along with lean strategies has ultimately allowed us to improve our ability to respond to our customers’ needs.  Being recognized with the PM100 award in operational excellence is another positive effect of the changes we have implemented,” says Director of Operations at Otis Technology, Harold Philbrick.  In 2010, Otis was honored in the managing automation category.

Otis’ goal of implementing such large scale initiatives is to ultimately achieve operational excellence.  Aside from the introduction of an automated storage and retrieval system and ADAM automated vehicles, Otis has immersed itself in companywide lean philosophies and procedures.  With the combination of automation and lean practices, Otis has been able to make manufacturing and warehousing operations more efficient, decrease inventory levels, shrink lead times, and create optimal flow in the warehouse.