By Doug Workman, AFSBn-SWA, SPO Operation OfficerFebruary 28, 2013
CAMP BUERHRING, Kuwait -- Chief Warrant Officer Travis Michael of 3-159th Delta Company, Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, needed a speed wrench for the AH64D Apache Helicopter Ammo Handling System.
Michael went to the Mobile Parts Hospital where he explained to Joe Westphalen, team lead at MPH Buehring and a member of the Anniston Army Depot workforce, what he needed to get the mission done.
"Yes, we can make that," was Westphalen's reply. That is his reply for most parts and tools Soldiers bring to the MPH.
The MPH is a production facility for parts and tools units don't have, can't get or don't exist.
The facility provides Soldiers in the theater the unique capability of being able to produce parts and tools from another part, a blue print or an idea.
Many parts are produced on an amazing machine that's computer operated and works from three-dimensional blueprints. Other components are made on a lathe by MPH machinists.
"With a broken part, we can reverse engineer the part or we can work from an existing drawing or specifications. We've had units come to us with just an idea and we design what they need if it isn't already in the system," said Westphalen.
The tool Michael wanted didn't exist prior to the Buehring team producing the first prototype.
The MPHs operate in the U.S. Army Central Command area of responsibility and support all military units, coalition partners, Department of Defense civilians and DoD contractors.
Not having to wait on long delivery times when ordering non-standard parts also helped the 3-159th save time. The MPHs can make parts and have them to the user in days rather than weeks or even months.
In addition to saving time the MPHs save on costs.
The team at the Beurhing MPH made a blade root fitting bushing installation and removal tool Michael said saved them from having to purchase a new rotor blade at a cost of $122,000.
The MPH, located at the Mine Resistant Ambush Protective Sustainment Facility made parts that would have taken over six months to have delivered and other parts which could only be purchased in kits.
The MSF would have had to buy the complete kit and essentially throw away all but the one required part. Savings in time and money at the MSF is well beyond what one might expect.
Teams from Anniston Army Depot operate the Mobile Parts Hospitals in Southwest Asia in a partnership with Honeywell.