Brazil Inaugurates Defense Vehicle Factory
By Dialogo June 24, 2013
On June 15, IVECO inaugurated its unit that will manufacture Defense vehicles in the city of Sete Lagoas, Minas Gerais state, after an investment of over 100 million reales (about U.S. $ 46.64 million) in infrastructure and development of the medium-sized armored Guaraní vehicle for transporting personnel, with (VBTP-MR) 6×6 wheels, which was ordered by the Brazilian Army. The brand-new factory, located in an area of 30,000 square meters of which 18,000 m2 are covered, is the fifth IVECO plant used for defense products worldwide and the only one located outside of Europe. It is prepared to produce 100 Guaraní units per year, with the possibility of duplicating this number if necessary.
The company employs about 350 people directly, and over 1,400 indirectly, and part of its workforce dedicated to the assembly line Guaraní (welders) underwent qualification training for the past six months at the IVECO unit in Vittorio Veneto, Italy.
The modern manufacturing process for vehicles ordered by the Army was displayed during a visit to the premises, beginning with the welding section of ballistic steel components, which give shape to the chassis. In a complex operation, the previously welded components are gathered in trays for the new hand-made special welding process, in order to guarantee the necessary quality.
With the goal of obtaining a better ergonomic job for workers, the chassis is attached to a structure allowing it to spin, thus facilitating the welding sequence. After this stage, liner is applied on the vehicle, a specific material capable of absorbing external impact and preventing fragments of ordnance to penetrate the interior. The chassis continues its way through a paint chamber, where a base is applied. After this stage, it is ready to receive the components in the assembly line that will make it a modern combat vehicle. Then, the engine, transmission, suspension, electrical systems, hydraulic brakes and several other parts are assembled. Finally, the armored vehicle is sent to the final stage, where camouflage paint will be applied, among other components, according to the Brazilian Army’s specifications.
“The plant’s inauguration is further proof of IVECO’s trust in the Brazilian market, where we have constantly been investing since we started our activities in 1997. From that moment, IVECO has at least one great achievement every year, which allows us to not only be a full-line manufacturer, but also a company capable of providing advanced technological solutions in special vehicles, such as buses, firefighting trucks and defense units,” said Marco Mazzu, president of Fiat Industrial Latin America.