WATERVLIET ARSENAL, N.Y. -- Watervliet Arsenal announced this week that it has installed a $250,000 state-of-the-art calibration machine that may attain a payback to the Army in less than two years. This coordinate measuring machine or CMM was purchased from U.S. manufacturer Brown & Sharpe and will save a significant amount of inspection time of tools and gauges, according to the Arsenal’s Calibration Coordinator.

“Because we inspect and calibrate more than 20,000 tools, gauges, and final products each year to support the production of cannons and mortars for the U.S. military, every hour of inspection time we save has a direct effect on our production costs,” William Bryant said.

When hourly production costs for specialized high pressure tubes for Abrams Tanks, 155 mm howitzers, and for mortars may run into hundreds of dollars an hour, every hour of production that is shaved off of the final product cost may achieve significant savings, Bryant added.

“In some cases, inspection time will now be reduced by up to 80 percent,” Bryant said. “For example, next year we will have the potential to save approximately 500 hours of inspection time with just the 81 mm mortar baseplate production line.”

Robert Tilley, a 39-year veteran of the Arsenal and who now runs the calibration operation, said that because of the tight tolerances that are often in the range of ten thousandths of an inch for cannon and mortar tubes, calibration is essential to the quality and reliability of the weapon system.

Not only will this new CMM provide enhanced capacity by now being able to process more inspections a day, it also adds improved capability because the machine will allow us to inspect larger products, Tilley said.

In addition to ensuring the product the Arsenal ships to Soldiers is of the highest quality, maintaining an advanced calibration site is also critical to the Arsenal maintaining its ISO 9001:2008 certification. The International Organization for Standardization or ISO, is the world’s foremost authority for manufacturing standards.