Original Date: 02/28/2000
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : C-4 Extruder Relocation
Crane Army Ammunition Activity has the capability to relocate and modernize excess automated production equipment and produce product with a quick response time to the customer’s request. This competency was proven by the relocation of the C-4 Extruder line from Louisiana. The Activity is now one of two Department of Defense facilities with the capability to process C-4 explosives and assemble C-4 ammunition items.
Crane Army Ammunition Activity (CAAA) has the capability to relocate and modernize excess automated production equipment and produce product with a quick response time to the customer’s request. This competency has been proven on two large projects in the past six years with the relocation and utilization of assembly equipment that originally assembled the 155mm rounds in Mississippi, and more recently, the relocation of the C-4 Extruder line from Louisiana. Both operations provided the customer with quality product ahead of schedule with limited expense to CAAA.
When the USMC needed to renovate its 155mm round, they asked CAAA to do the work, but wanted CAAA to utilize a fully automated assembly line in Mississippi. CAAA engineers accepted the challenge due to the longevity of the program. The equipment was disassembled, moved to Crane, assembled, fitted with programmable logic controllers, modified to meet existing requirements, and put into service four days ahead of schedule. The 155mm rework program was discontinued one year later by forces beyond CAAA’s control, but CAAA’s ability to reutilize excess government owned equipment was proven and remembered.
The USMC returned to CAAA in April 1997 to request a similar renovation program. The program required a C-4 Extruder located in an inactive Louisiana facility. CAAA engineering accepted the challenge and proceeded with the Extruder relocation. CAAA solicited the assistance of Army and Air Force Reserve personnel and an active duty Army Transportation Battalion to remove and transport the equipment to Crane by July 1997. At Crane, the allocation of installation funding slowed progress until January 1998. The nature of the C-4 extrusion process demands that a building to house the Extruder be more than 250 feet away from the workers who prepare and repackage the C-4 (Figure 2-2). The extruder building and conveyor tunnel were completed in April 1999. One very unique cost saving technique used was to purchase eight-foot road culverts to house the return loop conveyor. This 8' by 6' pipe tunnel was used as the conduit for electrical, fire protection, equipment control wiring, and conveyor enclosure. Estimated savings for utilizing the commercially available road culverts for the return loop conveyor was in excess of $90,000, and the culverts were buried to assist with security requirements. This relocated equipment was built in 1974. The overhead bucket feed conveyors, flat belt return conveyors, workstations, extruder, and control room were reinstalled. The extruder control system was outfitted with Allen-Bradley remote input/output, sensors, a vision system, touch screen control panel, and programmable logic control technology for less than $100,000.
CAAA is now one of two Department of Defense facilities with the capability to process C-4 explosives and assemble C-4 ammunition items. By utilizing reserve services to remove and transport the equipment to Crane, the equipment investment was 75% less than the new equipment cost, and also provided an excellent training mission for Active and Reserve personnel. All C-4 used in this extrusion process has been reclaimed from other ammunition items.
Figure 2-2. C-4 Extrusion Facility
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