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Low weight, simplicity and flexibility
The secret behind Sima Innovation’s success lies in three principles applied from the very first ring mount
When the Danish Army in 2002 entered the Helmand Province in Afghanistan it very rapidly became evident that the soldiers needed better equipment to meet the asymmetric warfare and threats they faced in the mission. In the hostile environment proper protection is the difference between life and death not the least for the men and women exposing themselves from the top of a vehicle. Not knowing where the threat came from the need was extended to not only vehicles directly implicated in combat but also to logistic trucks etc.
Mikael Kildevæld, CEO and founder of SIMA Innovation, was working as an independent designer of ballistic protection for a local defense company. At that time another company was supplying the army with turrets but when the company decided to withdraw from the market Mr. Kildevæld took the opportunity and designed a new solution he was offering through his company SIMA Innovation.
Four of the designs were immediately sold to the Danish army’s Gelände-wagen and that was just the beginning, hence the demand was overwhelming in the first years of the war in Afghanistan.
From steel to aluminum
Until 2014 SIMA Innovation delivered a little less than 200 mounts to the Danish Army and during the campaign the company listened carefully to the soldier’s experience and implemented their proposals wherever possible:
- Our first mounts were made of steel but the soldiers asked for a lighter product and since SIMA Innovation continuously designs according to the wishes of the troops we started making the mounts from aluminum which has reduced the weight of our ring mounts significantly, COO and LtCol Flemming Bonavent says.
In addition to constantly lowering the weight SIMA Innovation is also striving to make the mounts user friendly by simplicity and facilitating the fastest target acquisition possible. Another mandatory demand is flexibility:
- Our ring mounts fit any vehicle with a roof, the COO states.
A big win
In 2017 SIMA Innovation won a tender for 537 ring mounts for the Danish army competing against four foreign manufactures. A big win and a boost for SIMA according to Mr. Bonavent:
- It was a fantastic win that turned our company into a major supplier of ring mounts. We have relocated to a brand new headquarter and grown significantly in numbers of employees, turnover and working space. Almost all our sub suppliers are still local though and we estimate that all in all the delivery for the Danish army has created 30 jobs in Denmark. The year before we achieved a major delivery to Renault Trucks Defense and that really opened SIMA Innovation’s entry on the international scene. We are proud of the confidence RTD – now Arquus – has shown our company and it defines the symbiosis that large and small companies can have mutual benefit of each other’s strengths and abilities.
Export is future growth
Although the home market is important and a vital reference for SIMA Innovation selling abroad is becoming increasingly important. The company has a pipeline of about 500 turret systems over the next few years to foreign OEM and MOD’s; orders marking a breakthrough on the international market according to the Mr. Bonavent:
- We consider our ring mount to be the most flexible and light motorized solution on the market. But the Danish army and a major European OEM obviously agrees and that is a fantastic reference for us. Just now we are testing our mounts on different military vehicles in the Baltics, Europe, Africa and the Middle East and already 40 pct. of our sales are outside Denmark.
In addition to making the best ring mounts SIMA Innovation is extremely flexible, not only by products but also by organizational setup, which is highly appreciated when the customers wants special designed solutions fast, according to the COO:
- Though offering “off the shelf” systems most of the SIMA Innovation designs and systems are made to meet the specific wishes of the costumer. As every costumer is different from the other and appreciate our ability to listen to them and execute their desire, we take pride in meeting those specific demands.
As specifications in functionality is increasing SIMA has also implementing test stations measuring the turret systems in overpressure, water tightness and strength to operate on heavily tilted slopes. Even crash test is permed on complete turret systems with ballistic protection plates to make sure that the system also stays in place in case of collision or impact from mines and IED.