KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (Dec. 8, 2011) -- A new mobile parts hospital has opened at Camp Leatherneck on the AMC compound.
The parts hospital is a rapid manufacturing system that can make needed replacement parts for most anything including trucks and aviation assets. They can also make custom parts and tools.
The parts hospital has a five axis lathe, band saw, manual mill, drill press, portable hardness tester and manual lathe that manufactures metal parts up six inches in diameter and under 25 inches in length.
"We make parts that take a long time to get or that are not in the supply system anymore," said Blake Brodeur, a machinist at the hospital, who is from Anniston, Ala.
The parts hospital provides a critical capability to manufacture parts that would ordinarily take months to receive through traditional supply routes. This capability allows Soldiers to get their equipment back up and running in a matter of days, rather than months.
"When a truck is down and they can't get the parts they usually come to us," said Grant Broome, the site coordinator, from Gadsden, Ala., "and they can get the trucks and things back on the field."
"Right now we are doing some hydraulic fittings for a truck that is down because of these fittings they don't have," said Broduer.
The parts hospital can also create aviation parts, with the exception of safety items and can do custom orders. The hospital can manufacture items from aluminum, brass, stainless steel, mild steel, and pre-heat treated steel. Even if they don't have the exact material to make and item the parts hospital will work with customers as much as possible to try and make the item needed.
"If they can provide us the material we can give it a shot," said Dallas Cooper, who is from Talladega, Ala., another machinist at the hospital.
To get a work order started the machinists need the part to be replicated (new or damaged), or blue prints of the part. They will also need a national stock number if the part is in the military supply system, a document number if the part has previously been ordered and a unit identification code.
"We check the part out and make sure we can make it first. We draw it up on AutoCAD and then we put the program into the machine. And then a couple days later they come and get it," said Broduer.
"It's a convenience for the Soldiers too, because they don't have to wait so long on the supply chain," said Cooper. "They can get the parts they need and still have the other parts on order."
The parts hospital on Camp Leatherneck is the newest parts hospital in the theater. It is located on the AMC compound at Camp Leatherneck. There are two other mobile parts hospitals located at Kandahar and Bagram Airfields.