CRANE, Ind. - At the close of 2016, after multiple program delays and continuous improvements made by employees, Crane Army Ammunition Activity surpassed the original production goal of 5"/54 projectiles in a nine month period by an additional 3,500 projectiles.

The mission was completed within a short timeframe in order to meet the Navy's increased demand for the projectiles. Col. James Hooper, the commander of CAAA, recognized the accomplishment and congratulated all who had a hand in successfully carrying out the mission.

"This manufacturing effort was a great example of the professionalism, competence, and dedication of the CAAA workforce," Hooper said. "The 5"/54 production program at CAAA is a great example of how industrial base activities like Crane contribute to strategic readiness of the Joint Force."

Production of the 5"/54 projectiles began in April 2016 but by October a new goal was set with an increase of 21 percent. Kevin Doerner, CAAA continuous improvement specialist and commodity manager, and the engineering team on the project immediately set out to implement several improvements in order to meet the December deadline.

"When we first started this project we were running four presses, and we knew from the history of the program roughly how many rounds they would produce in a day," Doerner said. "The engineering team came up with projectile body thread protectors, which took the thread cleaning process from 14 minutes down to two minutes. That changed the game."

More presses were needed in order to keep up with the speed at which the rounds were ready for the next step in the production line. Once a fifth press was added in August 2016 daily production rates increased 73 percent, and after the addition of a sixth press the production rate more than doubled original production rates.

"When I told the guys in the press room what the new rate was going to be, they came back to me and said, 'We'll get you that and probably more.' They realized how important it was to reach this goal for the Navy, and that's when you saw the numbers climb," Doerner said. "I started looking at the production rates coming out of the press room each day and I saw an increase as we made improvements. Those guys did 12 hours a day, so it was really them taking ownership."

"I'm very proud of the workers out there," Doerner said. "It was a total team effort from supervision, to quality control, to X-Ray technicians, to engineers, to technicians, to the people in the machine shop building our tools for us to the maintenance support. It took a lot of communication."

While recognizing CAAA employees for their work, Hooper pointed out the importance of the mission and how it reflects Crane Army's legacy of efficiently and effectively providing the Joint Warfighter with munitions that function the right way, the first time, every time.

"Through continual process improvement, quality control, First Pass Yield analysis, process control, near-miss reporting, solid leadership and, most importantly, the dedication of our employees to work 12-hour shifts, six days per week, we maintained quality, met the schedule safely, and filled an urgent operations need for the Warfighter," Hooper said.

Established October 1977, Crane Army Ammunition Activity maintains ordnance professionals and infrastructure in order to receive, store, ship, produce, renovate and demilitarize conventional ammunition, missiles and related components. Crane Army maintains up to one third of the DoD's conventional ammunition inventory.