Our super strong recovery block custom manufactured for the ADF

Thursday, 20 September 2018

In February 2017, Nobles were sub-contracted to custom design and manufacture a series of lifting and recovery blocks for heavy to medium vehicle recovery for the Australian Defence Force Land 121 program.  Nobles was given the contract to design and prototype the blocks, ranging from 2 to 40 tonnes after initial OEM recovery blocks failed to meet the demands and standards of the ADF or Australian Standard (AS 2089-2008).  With over 30 years’ experience in this area, Nobles were able to apply this knowledge and innovative manufacturing techniques to meet the design brief.

Engineering design process

Each of the blocks had stringent design specifications that included:

  • Target weight – had to be as light as possible for both manual handling and to minimise the vehicles laden weight
  • Break force – had to withstand excessive forces to be capable of pulling fully laden vehicles without compromising product integrity
  • Size – couldn’t exceed the required dimensions, enabling them to be stowed in the vehicle’s compartment
  • Applications – had to be easy to use for rapid deployment and be able to recover both medium and heavy vehicles
  • Extreme durability – had to be robust to withstand repeated use and rough handling.


Nobles put their experience and expertise in manufacturing blocks and other lifting and hauling gear into action, applying innovative ideas around ease of use, manufacture and assembly.  Design optimisation saw Nobles generate drawings for each block that were prototyped once approved by the ADF.  The prototypes were then tested in field trials by the ADF to assess ease of use and how they would perform under various conditions.  The feedback for the trials was successful.  Some adjustments to the criteria for several blocks were also made which lead to more design drawings, prototyping and testing before the final product was developed.

Proof loading and destructive testing

A key requirement throughout this process was that the blocks had to undergo destructive testing.  Nobles completed this testing inhouse on their 1,000-tonne test bed, which confirmed the requirements of the specifications and the design for how each block would be manufactured.  The destructive testing conclusively proved the blocks suitability, with each one convincingly exceeding their rating requirements. 

Further testing took place to see how far the blocks could be pushed on the 1,000-tonne testbed using high strength synthetic rope and high strength tooling to component destruction.  When each block component was finally destroyed, they each exceeded their designed breaking load by an incredible 50%.  Proving conclusively that in the field these blocks would never let anyone down.

Customer results

Delivering exceptional value through in-house design and project management of the manufacturing supply chain, Nobles delivered these blocks to the customer within a tight timeframe and budget.  Beating global competition and using Australian world-class advanced manufacturing and expertise in metallurgy, mechanical engineering design and extensive knowledge of local standards, Nobles recovery equipment is now being manufactured in Australia and included as standard kit for the ADF’s new medium and heavyweight recovery vehicles.

Nobles engineering solutions have proven themselves to be a worthy complement to the company’s world class lifting, rigging, hauling and lashing products.

For a discussion on your specific lifting & rigging custom design and engineering requirements speak to your local account manager or call us on 1300 711 559 or email us at sales@nobles.com.au.

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