By Miranda Myrick, PAONovember 24, 2008
The depot this month reached a milestone in its production of AGT-1500 engines for the Total InteGrated Engine Revitalization, or TIGER, program.
Anniston Army Depot and partner Honeywell teamed up in 2007 to build an M-1 Abrams engine that would last longer in the field and extend time between depot repairs.
More than 1,000 TIGER engines have now been produced here.
The first set of increased durability engines was sent last year to Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz., where the upgraded TIGER engine and transmission were mated and tested in the main battle tank. According to depot officials, four engines are still in their testing phase and will continue to run at Yuma until their failure validates the anticipated 1,400 hours meantime between depot repairs.
As the Center of Industrial and Technical Excellence for tracked vehicle maintenance and a bronze-level Shingo winner for process improvements on the AGT-1500 turbine engine production line, the depot has more than three decades of experience repairing M1 engines for America's warfighters. Anniston still repairs turbine engines-about 10 a month-that are not part of the TIGER program.
Regular AGT-1500 engines run only half the time of TIGER engines before repairs are needed, said Chuck Gunnels, process optimization manager for the Turbine Value Stream.
What makes the TIGER engine different from its former identity is the material that is used to repair it. The TIGER engine has a specific bill of material, or BOM, said Gunnels.
With the TIGER, the BOM requires Anniston to reset several of the engine component parts with new parts rather using reclaimed ones. The result is improvement in the durability and reliability of the engine.
"This is a one-time reset of these component parts. After the initial reset of the parts and when what we call 'TIGER 2' comes back to the depot for repair, we will utilize our reclaim processes to repair these parts and reuse them on the engine again," said Gunnels.
About 70 TIGER engines are built at the depot each month. As of Nov. 20, the depot is expected to have completed 1,058 AGT-1500 engines in the TIGER program. And, the depot has volunteers in Kuwait repairing other engines for the same partnership program, a project that keeps much of the repair work close to theater to prevent lengthy deliveries to and from Anniston. The Forward Repair Activity in Kuwait completed its 200th TIGER engine this summer.
"Workers in Southwest Asia are our first line of defense on engine problems. Their job is to fix the engine as quickly as possible and return it to the Soldiers to reduce the cost of sending it back to the depot for repair," said Gunnels.
Currently, the Army has more than a dozen TIGER repair sites across the globe. Typically, said Gunnels, the depot and Honeywell will strategically position field support representatives near the largest concentration of M1 vehicles.
"Our employees take pride in what they do each and every day and it shows in the quality of the product. I think they all understand who they really support and that's the warfighter," said Gunnels.
Eventually, all Army M-1 Abrams will have TIGER engines in them, and the depot is currently working with the Marine Corps to transition their M1 engine overhauls to the TIGER-specific upgrade.
"Our employees are the best in the world at what they do. ANAD has been overhauling the AGT-1500 engine since the early '80s. So, you could say that we are the senior subject matter experts when it comes to repair and overhaul of the AGT-1500," said Gunnels.