Eckhart has been selected by the US Army to design and develop automation to improve the rate of fire for self-propelled howitzers.

As part of the process of leading the artillery loading modernisation effort, the Army Applications Laboratory selected and funded five companies from a competitive bid that involved hundreds of industry partners.

The competitive bid has been conducted under the SPARTN Fire Faster programme.

Eckhart’s new relationship with the US Army is aimed at enhancing the safety and efficiency of US soldiers.

Soldiers working in confined environments are tasked with completing the precision movement of projectiles up to 50lb without any mechanical support.

In such environments, soldiers face fatigue and musculoskeletal injuries.

To improve this situation, the US Army identified an opportunity to find solutions in manufacturing environments.

Texas Army Applications Lab project manager and deputy team lead Chris Sankovich said: “The opportunity to improve soldier safety and efficiency within the self-propelled howitzer is a challenge that we felt is best addressed by identifying and selecting qualified industry partners.

“Our role is then to help take industry best practices and work with our cohort companies for timely and successful incorporation to the US Army’s Howitzer systems.”

Eckhart’s expertise in solving operator safety and other ergonomic challenges enables the US Army to deploy better automation technologies for soldiers.

Eckhart Davenport Operations general manager Travis Turner said: “In the Fortune 500 manufacturing environment that we have operated in for over six decades, there is an intense focus on optimising the safety, ergonomics, and efficiency of technicians who perform assembly tasks each day.

“The Eckhart team has deep expertise working within tight ergonomic windows where thresholds define the maximum weights that can be lifted before mechanical assistance or a robotic alternative is required.”