RIA-JMTC visits, collaborates with Chicago-based manufacturing hub

By Ms. Kimberly A Conrad (Rock Island Arsenal)May 21, 2018

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RIA-JMTC Personnel
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Key personnel from Rock Island Arsenal Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center visited the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute May 11 to gain a better understanding of the manufacturing hub located in Chicago.

The Department of Defense has provided funding to DMDII, which executes projects that demonstrate and apply digital manufacturing technologies to increase the competitiveness of American manufacturing, to ensure the viability of this program as it enables the technical transformation of the Army's organic industrial base.

RIA-JMTC, the U.S. Army's multipurpose metal manufacturing arsenal that designs, manufactures and delivers readiness solutions to the Army and joint services, has four active projects with DMDII. These projects were funded and are in the implementation stage at the arsenal. The goal for these projects is to extend and leverage the digital thread in manufacturing.

The visit to DMDII provided an opportunity for RIA-JMTC personnel engaged in the projects to gain a better understanding of their facilities and capabilities.

"The visit allowed for RIA-JMTC's senior and middle management to understand the art of the possible," said Greg Lupton, RIA-JMTC deputy commander. "There is a great deal of technologies out there that will allow us to be more proficient in our daily duties while allowing us to mistake-proof the wide array of capabilities we possess in our great organization. The idea is to take the human intervention out of our tasks allowing our workforce to focus on other, more value-added activities. We fully intend to work with DMDII in the very near future to start incorporating some of these technologies into our daily processes."

After the tour, the group sat down for a roundtable discussion and after reviewing active projects at DMDII, it was determined that several of these offer solutions to short-and long-term challenges at RIA-JMTC.

During the discussion five areas of interest were identified, including improving the prove out/first pass yield process, establishing digital work instructions, balancing machining capacity issues, force multiplier for direct labor and force multiplier for process planners.

Edward Flinn, director of Technology Transfer at RIA-JMTC, said DMDII will look at their present projects to see if there is a common level of effort among the identified areas of interest.

"If DMDII does not have an active project, we will prepare a problem statement to provide to them," said Flinn. "That will then be developed to a project proposal with the goal of having it solicited to DMDII members by the end of June."

The current projects and the proposed projects support RIA-JMTC's modernization efforts to incorporate new, advanced manufacturing techniques with traditional manufacturing capabilities to continue to meet the warfighter's readiness requirements efficiently and effectively.