Original Date: 02/28/2000
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : De-Fin Rockeye Bomblets
Crane Army Ammunition Activity had several production programs to demilitarize the MK20 Rockeye Cluster Bomb, and recognized that the de-finning operation needed improvement. The solution was found by converting three fuse-crimping machines that were previously used in manufacturing the bomblets.
Beginning in 1996, Crane Army Ammunition Activity (CAAA) had several production programs to demilitarize the MK20 Rockeye Cluster Bomb. This consisted of removing 247 bomblets from each bomb casing, checking to see that they were not armed, removing the plastic fins, and detonating the bomblets. The plastic fins had to be cut off due to environmental concerns.
At the beginning of the program, employees would remove the bomblets, inspect each bomblet for a visible green dot which indicated that the bomblet was not armed, and use a hand cutter to fully remove the plastic fins. This was a very difficult operation to perform repetitively, and employees complained of blisters and hand and wrist injuries. The amount of manual handling also increased the risk of dropping the bomblet on its nose, which could set off the MK95 detonator. Within a few weeks of initiation of the 1996 program, CAAA recognized that the de-finning operation needed improvement. The solution was found by converting three fuse-crimping machines that had been previously used in manufacturing the bomblets. The crimping mechanism was replaced with cutters, and a limiting switch was used to safely initiate the cutting operation. When the bomblet was inserted into the de-finning machine, a dead-stop limit switch would automatically activate the cutting action. The plastic was then collected for recycling. Recycling was not possible with the previous manual cutting method since it resulted in non-plastic materials also being removed.
As a result of the automated de-finning improvement process, production was increased from 10 to 60 Rockeye Cluster Bombs (each containing 247 bomblets) per day. Safety and ergonomics were improved and the fins became a recyclable item. This process was used from 1996 to 1999 on more than 54,000 Rockeye bombs including more than 13 million bomblets.
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