By Linda Lambiotte, Army Sustainment Command Public AffairsJune 29, 2018
ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- Secretary of the Navy, Richard V. Spencer, toured the Rock Island Arsenal Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center and viewed its unique abilities first-hand during a visit here June 28.
Lisha Adams, executive deputy to the commanding general, Army Materiel Command, also attended the RIA-JMTC tour.
RIA-JMTC is the only multi-purpose and vertically integrated metal manufacturer in the Department of Defense. It holds the exclusive technical knowledge and equipment to manufacture high quality and high sustainability products.
Spencer's visit to RIA-JMTC focused on innovation and development of the center's capabilities.
Col. Ken Letcher, RIA-JMTC commander, led the tour. He briefly discussed the history of the arsenal and talked about the products that RIA-JMTC has manufactured for both the Army and the Navy during the past decades.
Letcher also discussed RIA-JMTC's efforts to implement advance manufacturing techniques in order to boost the arsenal's proficiency in supporting readiness for the joint warfighter.
"It really is about how we can provide support to the point of operational need," Letcher said.
Letcher pointed out how digital thread would work with the new technology. Digital thread is a communication framework that connects traditionally vertical elements in manufacturing processes and provides an integrated view of an asset throughout the manufacturing lifecycle.
"How do we move forward at the speed of war?" Letcher said, talking about the importance of working with the joint community. "We have already started working on digital thread. The U.S. Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command has some programs looking at how to gain and maintain contact with that database."
During the tour, Spencer was able to see several areas of the factory, including the assembly area, the Plating Department, the Weld Department, the Sheet Metal Fabrication Department, and the Foundry.
In addition, he toured the Quad City Cartridge Case Facility, a state-of-the-art facility which can produce steel cartridge cases for the Navy and is collocated with the RIA-JMTC. The Naval Surface Warfare Center recently began the reactivation of the QCCCF for research, development and production efforts. The QCCCF is managed by the Joint Munitions Command, which is also headquartered on the Rock Island Arsenal.
Spencer talked to RIA-JMTC leadership and maintenance experts about the site's potential and its capabilities.
Spencer was able to gain a better understanding of how RIA-JMTC is using additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, to support organic industrial base requirements and to support Army readiness requirements in the future.
Additive manufacturing, along with database repositories and digital thread, have been proven successful in ensuring sustainable readiness for the warfighter.
During a stop at the Foundry, skilled workers conducted a demonstration pour and discussed additive manufacturing that RIA-JMTC has incorporated into some of its current processes.
Letcher explained how RIA-JMTC has been strategically using new technologies to re-invent core business processes in order to produce and deliver the most cost-effective and high-quality products to deployed Soldiers and Sailors worldwide.
"We have an amazing amount of capability here," Letcher said, "and we have the ability to impact not just Army readiness, but Navy readiness as well.
"The bottom line is that we continuously engage with customers in the Army, and potential customers in the joint community," Letcher continued. "We are trying to understand their readiness requirements and how we can better support them."