Ordnance Factory Board Gears Up to Embrace Industry 4.0

Since its inception, the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) has engaged in the production, testing, logistics, research, development and marketing of a comprehensive product range in the area of land, sea and air systems. And with the distinction of more than 200 years’ experience in weapons manufacturing, OFB has created an integrated base for indigenous production of defence hardware and equipment, with the primary objective of self-reliance in equipping the armed forces with state of the art battlefield equipment. Even amid the talks of proposed reforms, OFB’s is gearing up to embrace Industry 4.0 by undergoing absolute modernization, which would definitely help its growth-trajectory to crest.

Leveraging on the two-century-old legacy, the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) is undoubtedly a key player in ensuring India’s war preparedness by providing sophisticated battlefield equipment from arms to artillery guns. OFB, comprising 41 ordnance factories across the nation, is the oldest and largest defence production organization in India, functioning under the Department of Defence Production of Ministry of Defence. And since its inception OFB has been serving as the hub for modern manufacturing industry to meet the armament requirements of the armed forces by providing the most varied portfolio of defence products.

Great organisations survive by transforming themselves and it is be the greatest challenge confronting OFB today. In order to achieve an all-encompassing transformation, OFB is giving thrust on many areas viz. customer focus, modernisation of plant layout and production process with a view to enhancing productivity, policies for creating a knowledgeable and motivated work force, effective communication for enhancing brand image.

Also, OFB has chalked out a long-term business strategy keeping in view the Long-Term Perspective Plan of the Army. The modernization plan envisages introduction of state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies; resulting in higher productivity, improved reliability and consistent quality. These initiatives would not only place OFB on a higher growth-trajectory but also equips to embrace the technology of future- Industry 4.0.

The Ordnance Factories supply a very large range of weapons and equipment which require a mastery of different technologies and expertise in a wide number of areas. OFB is the only organization in the world which makes the entire range of ammunition for 5.56mm to 155mm. Handling this multi-product, multi technology portfolio and delivering quality products in their strict timelines is a very challenging task and calls for many unique still sets.

OFB has spearheaded the modernisation programmes which include induction of robotic forging technology, new generation CNC machines, predictive maintenance, application of artificial intelligence etc, which will enhance productivity and quality of our products. OFB products are made from integrated state-of-the-art manufacturing that passes through rigorous quality standards. With high degree of backward & forward integration and an ambitious modernisation plan, OFB’s manufacturing capability is poised to take up new challenges.

Hallmark of Make in India

OFB has been a hallmark of Make in India and the core competence of OFB is mass manufacturing. ‘Make in India’ has made the defence sector more competitive and opened up new opportunities in the defence sector. OFB aims to capitalise on these prospects to emerge as the single largest dependable indigenous source of supply of arms and ammunition to the Armed Forces.

Keeping in mind that excellence in manufacturing cannot be achieved without focus on customer OFB is trying to become a customer-centric organisation. Apart from being a pillar of Defence Production for the country since its inception, OFB’s products are geared up for the futuristic demands of the Armed Forces. More than 61 products designed and developed by Ordnance Factories are in service with Indian Armed Forces.

OFB’s customers are not only the Armed Forces but also the Police and Paramilitary Forces, Civilians and from Export Market as well. OFB manufactures the entire weapon system platform-along with its ammunition and related accessories, artillery guns, arms, ammunition, tanks, combat vehicles, troop comfort items and other equipment required by the armed forces, Central Armed Police Forces, State Police Organisations [SPO] and civil indenters.

A slew of products have been developed by OFB through in-house R&D over these years. 155mm Artillery Gun ‘Dhanush’, Upgunning of 130mm Artillery Gun to 155 mm x 45, Mine Protected Vehicle (MPV) and Modernised Mine Protected Vehicle (MMPV), Bi-Modular Charge System (BMCS) for 155mm Artillery Ammunition, 7.62 x 39mm Assault Rifle ‘Ghaatak’, Chaff Launcher ‘Kavach MOD-II’ and Chaff, Naval Gun CRN-91, Under Barrel Grenade Launcher, are some among them.

Other projects include the Upgraded BMP-II, Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV), Air Defence Gun and related ammunitions and Electronic Fuses. OFB has also developed prototype of 7.62X51mm Assault Rifle in a record time as per the requirement of the Indian Army.

Boost Indigenization and Exports a Larger Goal

OFB has implemented several initiatives for defence indigenization and promotion of defence exports. OFB has always been committed to the policy of indigenous manufacturing and the indigenous content of its products is above 91%. OFB has achieved major successes in development and indigenisation of many new products like upgraded L-70 Air Defence Gun, 7.62x39mm Assault Rifle Ghatak, A-7 ammunition, 20 mm Anti Material Rifle ammunition, 7.62 PKT ammunition, Indigenous manufacture of Bi-Modular Charge System for 155mm Guns etc.

OFB has been exporting its products since 1989 and making sustained efforts to reach out to new markets in West Asia and South East Asian countries and beyond. Presently, OFB is exploring new markets in Africa and the developing world. Apart from exporting established products, OFB’s technological expertise is also leading to enquiries for new products which along with the growth drivers would lead to a more visible footprint in the technical market. OFB is increasingly making its presence felt in the area of exports of medium and high caliber ammunition, explosives such as TNT, DNT& RDX, MPVs, brake–parachutes etc.

Dhanush Artillery Gun

 OFB has boosted the Indian artillery firepower when it delivered its first batch of long-range 155 mm/45 calibre artillery gun Dhanush Howitzer Guns, the Indian version of Bofors to the Army. It is the first long-range piece of artillery to be produced in India. The move was hailed as the milestone in further strengthening the Indian Army’s artillery.

Though based on Swedish Bofors, Dhanush is an advanced weapon system with higher range and accuracy. It took a series of trials for the army to finally place an order for 114. The guns have fired 5,000 rounds during trials to get the final clearance. This was a record on its own.

Dhanush incorporates the latest features such as an inertial navigation system, an on-board ballistic computer, direct day and night firing system, a modern target acquisition system and a communication system that makes the weapon compatible with the Army’s project “Shakti”. Weighing less than 13 tonnes, with a high ground clearance of 400 mm, a range of elevation from -3 degree to 70 degree and an arc of traverse of 60 degree, Dhanush is the most maneuverable artillery system and can be deployed in any terrain.

OFB is also up-gunning the existing 130 mm guns with the army to 155mm to increase their range. Named Sharang, the factory is supposed to deliver 300 guns.