WATERVLIET ARSENAL, N.Y. – U.S. Rep. Paul D. Tonko, N.Y. 20th district, met with Tank-automotive and Armaments Command Commanding General Maj. Gen. Darren Werner and Watervliet Arsenal Commander Col. Earl B. Schonberg, Jr. during a visit to the historic U.S. Army manufacturing center April 29.
During the discussion with Tonko, Werner shared a vision for future cannon manufacturing at Watervliet Arsenal that will employ emerging technologies to support the Army’s modernization priorities – long-range precision artillery and the next generation combat vehicle. The arsenal recently installed five-axis milling machines that, through automation, reduce machine processing time on select components by more than half.
“Over time, we’re going to be transitioning from hands-on to more precision automation,” Werner said, noting that automation reduces time-consuming tasks for skilled craftsmen, allowing work to be completed faster and more efficiently.
The arsenal leverages its partnership with onsite Combat Capabilities and Development Command’s Benet Laboratories. Benet works with Watervliet Arsenal to develop and implement new manufacturing technology. These new technologies, combined with new materials, increase performance and extend the serviceable life of weapon systems the arsenal produces.
Incorporating advanced manufacturing technology means new skill set requirements for future machinists.
“As we develop new technology, we will train employees on new tech as it comes available,” Werner said, adding that as new people join the arsenal workforce, they will have the skills geared for future needs.
A people first approach to modernization includes a workforce where people feel valued and respected.
“When we talk people, there are a lot of things that come to mind – inclusion, equity, opportunity and training,” Werner said. “People are incredibly important to this organization and always have been.”
Tonko spoke of the important role Watervliet plays in the nation’s defense and his continued commitment to support the arsenal and its workforce.
"This is a critical facility, we are happy to learn more and how we can help you," Tonko said.