Leaders from the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command met with partners from industry and academia June 15-16 at the Army Aviation Advanced Manufacturing Workshop on Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.
This was the fourth iteration of the workshop and the main topic was incorporating comments and ideas into the upcoming revision of AMCOM Policy 070-062 (Army Aviation Policy for Advanced Manufactured Aircraft Repairs, Parts, Components and Support Products).
“These [workshops] help us get input from all parties to ensure we have a better policy in place,” said AMCOM Commander Maj. Gen. Todd Royar, who serves as the Army’s airworthiness authority and is responsible for ensuring the safety of the service’s aircraft. “We want to make sure we provide a path forward for advanced manufacturing for the entire Army, and to be able to share that path with our sister services, as well as our industry partners.”
Concerns about traceability of the parts, the cataloging process and control mechanisms in place to secure the digital 3D files were some of the topics discussed during the workshop.
Andrea Benson, the advanced manufacturing branch chief of the AMCOM Logistic Center Acquisition Logistics Directorate, said while control mechanisms are absolutely necessary, there needs to be a balance when it comes to the part being produced.
“We really need to look at our policy when we are putting in our control mechanisms,” she said. “We don’t need control mechanisms on something like a finger guard. It’s a Category 3 item because it flies, but it’s a disposable item, so if it breaks, we get a new one. They can fly the plane without it. The Soldiers should be able to print those items in the field without burden.”
During the two-day workshop, the group also discussed training and received a demonstration of the Advanced Manufacturing Digital Thread — from the time a unit requests a replacement part, to actually printing the part for the aircraft.
As it has been since the workshop began, policy was the main topic of the workshop.
Benson said, “[Maj.] Gen. Royar’s big focus right now is the policy and specifically, he is very interested in traceability — when a Soldier prints a part, how can we trace back to where it was printed in case there is a failure. He is the proponent for airworthiness and his goal is to protect the Soldiers.”
Royar said he expects to sign revision three of AMCOM Policy 070-062 during the first week of August.