A NEW AND MODERN LOOK FOR 5.56MM PACKAGING

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Last year until the first quarter of 2010, the Government Arsenal noted the problem of links during automatic firing. With the ingenuity of personnel and management of GA, they were able to solve the problem on the production design for links at the right time.

GA plastic crates

Female ammunition worker from Cartridge Assembly & Packaging Division of Government Arsenal is checking the ammunition plastic crates which are ready for loading packages of carton boxes of 5.56mm cartridges.

5.56 were packed manually

5.56 mm cartridges are manually packed on a carton box prior to sealing on a high density polyethylene plastic.

Old wooden box with metal sealed box

Wooden crates were used before the plastic crates were modified. Packed carton boxes are place on sealed metal boxes in order the moisture content of powder will be maintained and prolong the life shelf of cartridges.

Packed sealed cartridges product on a crate

Packed 5.56 mm cartridges on a vacuum-sealed polyethylene with silica gel to prolong the life shelf of GA products; and afterwards it will be placed into the newly developed HDPE plastic crate.


GA plastic crate
Ammunition packaging is vital in securing and preserving the quality while being stored and awaiting its distribution or utilization. The most suitable packaging material should be able to withstand extreme conditions such as erratic change in temperature and can protect the ammunition from unwanted agents that may cause its fast deterioration. Hence, the attributes of the material must be an important consideration in ammunition packaging and not only the economic aspect which sometimes dictates the choice for the said application.

wooden boxThe Government Arsenal had been using conventional wooden crates for ammo packaging since the start of its operations in 1974. This type of packaging proved to be effective and economical in nearly three decades of its usage. However, a new concept of ammo packaging initially implemented in 2008 was conceived in 2006 with the emergence of the problem on recurring termite infestation and consequent staining/corrosion of finished cartridges in the recent years. Addressing the problem was also an opportunity to give GA's ammo packaging a new look that fits the criteria for military application. The original packaging system consists of ammo carton boxes placed in ammo tin cans with can opener which are then placed in wooden box with carton fillers and finally secured with nylon strap. This was eventually replaced with ammo carton boxes placed in vacuum-sealed plastic bags with silica gel packs, then placed in plastic crate with carton fillers. One plastic crate can hold forty-eight (48) carton boxes consisting of one thousand four hundred and forty (1,440) 5.56mm cartridges with a gross weight of twenty (20) kilograms.

The objective of the study was to replace the wooden crate with high density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic crate and to forgo the use of ammo tin can with vacuum-sealed nylon polyethylene (PE) plastic bag as substitute. Plastic material is the best option for the replacement of the existing ammo packaging due to its favorable physical properties. Being non-biodegradable, the plastic crate can survive any type of weather condition for longer periods and resistant to attack of termites and other biological pests. Unlike the wooden crate, it can repel moisture which is an unwanted agent in packaging and storage. Moreover, plastic crate can be considered as lightweight, hence, more products can be packed for a given gross weight compared to a heavy and bulky wooden crate. The use of vacuum-sealed plastic bags instead of ammo tin cans, aside from being corrosion-resistant, also makes the packed ammunition virtually air-free and securely sealed for protection against moisture and deterioration. The increase in packaging cost is very minimal compared to the losses that may result from using less superior type of packaging, especially during long storage.

The olive drab-colored HDPE plastic crate with dimension specifications of 354+ 2.0 mm x 3620.2 mm x 133+2.0 mm, requires mechanical properties such as 24 MPa (min) mean tensile strength, 300% (min) mean elongation and 50 SD (min) mean hardness. Moreover, testing also includes drop/impact, mean breaking load in compression and mean flexural strength. These stringent tests are conducted to ensure that the plastic crate will indeed serve its purpose of providing better storage protection. In line with the objectives of the study on 5.56 mm packaging, continuous development is being undertaken which will eventually extend its application for the packaging of other calibers in the near future.

Other Events:

- Combat Pistol Qualification Course (May 2010)