By U.S. ArmyApril 16, 2008
Anniston Army Depot, Ala.--A manufacturing execution system deployed here 14 years ago produced its 1 millionth part this month, a milestone demonstrating the success of software developed by the Navy in the 1980s.
The depot got its hands on the Rapid Acquisition of Manufactured Parts system in 1994 when then-division chief Larry Knighton heard about the time-saving software being used by the Charleston Naval Shipyard, said Fred Burns, chief of ANAD's computer integrated manufacturing division.
The RAMP system is a manufacturing execution system capable of producing parts from electronic data that is used by workers on the shop floor to turn out new and refurbished parts.
Burns was working as a programmer for the computer numerical control, or CNC, machines at the Charleston, S.C., shipyard in 1994 when the Department of Defense's Base Realignment and Closure commission made the decision to close it.
With shipyard machining experience dating back to 1976, Burns took part in the priority placement program and scored a job at ANAD just as RAMP was being installed. "It was the same system, so it was like I was sitting at Charleston," said Burns.
Before RAMP, the depot used punch tape to load the machining programs into the equipment and had to stretch large drawings out on work tables. Burns said the Navy-funded program allows machinists on the shop floor to interface with the electronic designs through a monitor connected to their equipment, increasing through put and saving physical space.
Butch Hathorne, a mechanical engineer technician, was credited for programming the RAMP system to machine this milestone-making part, a weapon pintle.
Machining process plans are laid out in RAMP by mechanical engineer technicians who receive the electronic blueprint of each part from engineers who designed the original part.
Typically, the depot fabricates new parts for vehicles and weapons being refurbished; however, machinists are currently working around the clock to provide parts for two programs in new production at the depot, the Joint Assault Bridge and the Assault Breacher Vehicle.
The United States Marine Corps partnered with the U.S. Army, namely Anniston Army Depot, to develop prototypes for the JAB and the ABV. "This is the first time these parts have ever been made," said Burns.
Due to amplified workload in support of the JAB and ABV programs, the RAMP system has processed 84,000 pieces since January, another record-setting mark since "normally that is what we produce annually," said Burns.
Burns said he hopes the Marines will want ANAD to perform the overhaul work once the JABs and ABVs are ready for depot maintenance.
"If you build it, they tend to let you rebuild it," he said.