Chilean Army Factory and Armory opens New Industrial Maintenance Center
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The Chilean Army Factory and Armory (FAMAE) opened its new Industrial Maintenance Center (CMIF), a 1,335 square-meter complex in the northern city of Antofagasta, on July 16.
The facility was built to improve maintenance for the entire ground fleet of the 3rd Armored Brigade “La Concepción” in the north while providing services to other countries; the project is part of FAMAE’s strategic plan, which also includes other investments intended to strengthen support for the Army and other branches of the country’s Armed Forces. It's also working to open its “business portfolio, with both products and services, to other potential international markets at a competitive cost,” said FAMAE Director and Brigadier General Mauricio Heine.
Building on positive results
Support for the CMIF began after FAMAE reported $2.6 million in profits during fiscal year 2014, recording sales of $56.1 million that year -- an increase of 7.38 percent compared to 2013. Its supply division, which acquires replacement parts, raw materials and direct purchases, contributed 50 percent of FAMAE's total revenue; its services section, which maintains armored vehicles, contributed 33 percent of its revenue.
Brigadier General Heine attributed the company’s success to its employees’ focus on research and innovation.
“We have been able to come up with solutions to problems of obsolete technology with recycling materials and more efficient designs of products and services,” he added.
Among the designs FAMAE is developing for the international market is a new version of the SG 542-1 (5.56mm) rifle, which includes ergonomic and interface elements that allow the user to incorporate accessories and enable the soldier to use the weapon better.
FAMAE's also planning to manufacture ammunition under international standards, such as those of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Currently, it maintains commercial relations with the United States, Canada, Israel, Spain, Germany, Uruguay and Ecuador.
“[Since this involves a domestically-manufactured product], we will be able to provide support during its entire life cycle,” Brigadier General Heine said. “We will be able to incorporate technological innovation processes, expanding our capabilities and applications according to market demand. Therefore, we will be able to keep the portfolio using a product family concept.”
In its sights
During its 204-year history, FAMAE – the oldest Military government-owned company in Latin America – has a record of developing technological innovations to meet market demands. Armed Forces officials from countries throughout the region often visit FAMAE facilities.
“They come to learn about the business model being used by FAMAE for the Army and other defense institutions,” Brigadier General Heine said.
In mid-May, delegates from the Colombian National Army toured FAMAE’s facilities, a visit that was permitted because it was within the framework of the 1st Bilateral Meeting of Army Chiefs of Staff for Colombia and Chile, which was held in the Chilean capital of Santiago.
The Colombian service members were accompanied on a tour of the light armament and ammunition plants, and the industrial maintenance center, where they learned the company’s capabilities and its maintenance services and solutions. The service members also participated in shooting practice on the firing range.
“[The Colombian military delegation’s visit] gave us a positive impression because we are considered to be a reference point for the Latin American defense industry,” Brigadier General Heine said.