Tooele Army Depot Develops Automated Machine for Pine Bluff Arsenal
June 9, 2009
- Tooele Army Depot engineers support Pine Bluff Arsenal need for automated machine
Tooele Army Depot engineers working in coordination with Pine Bluff Arsenal developed an automated machine that will process 155 millimeter artillery munitions that meets the arsenal's daily production goal of 600 canisters a day which hold an illuminating flare that fits onto the bottom of the projectile.
The new Drill and Pin Machine is equipment that TEAD has produced from concept, design to operational use that minimizes the operator requirements and eliminates much of the old manual processes from previous methods.
When the 155 millimeter ammunition is fired, a small explosive releases the illuminating flare that is attached to a small parachute that burns for 2 minutes. The flare can light an area of up to 2/3 of a mile in diameter.
The 155 millimeter artillery munition is currently used by the U.S. Military, North Atlantic Treaty Organization members as well as numerous countries throughout the world.
"The Drill and Pin machine provides Pine Bluff Arsenal with an automated process that replaces the manual work currently being completed," said Keith Siniscalchi, Director of Ammunition Logistics and Engineering. "Previous processes required three operations one to compress the canister and one to drill the holes and then final to insert the pin."
By using a programmable logic controller (PLC), all of the functions required are completed without the need to move the canister to drill. This minimizes operator involvement to one person and reduces their exposure to the many moving parts utilized in the manual process that could cause injuries.
Under the new process, the canister is placed into the Drill and Pin machine and the operator presses two buttons that begin the process. The machine automatically presses a baseplate onto the canister, confirming the proper compression force and distance that the machine will travel across the baseplate.
After these steps are confirmed, the canister is then moved to the drilling position where four holes are placed into specified locations and precise depth. The canister is then raised a controlled distance to line up the drilled holes along four pinning stations. Completion of the process occurs when the canister is lowered and pushed back to the operator's station where it can be removed.
"Automation provided by the Drill and Pin Machine will allow Pine Bluff to produce 600 canisters daily. It's a vast improvement over the manual process. This machine improves the efficiency of the work they are accomplishing, we're very proud of the skills we can provide to help the arsenal meet their goals," said Siniscalchi.
TEAD officials were excited to see the expertise and hard work accomplished by TEAD not only shows how good their processes are, but also how they provide a center for technical excellence to other DoD organizations.
"We're very proud to develop systems like this for our customers," said Dave Ayala, TEAD Business Development Manager. "Our capability to deliver automated processes and program is but one of the vast capabilities that Tooele for specialized tasks."