Original Date: 02/28/2000
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Bomb Renovation Line Automation
In 1995, Crane Army Ammunition Activity implemented a process using a robot and high-pressure waterjet system to strip AVCO protection from bombs, greatly improving the safety and productivity of the operation.
Crane Army Ammunition Activity (CAAA) has developed a method of stripping AVCO protection from bombs, which greatly improved the safety and productivity of the operation. The AVCO protective coating is used for thermal protection in harsh environments. The previous method proved to be time consuming and inefficient. The new operation is automated, stripping the material in 33% of the time of the old method and produces a 100% yield of product.
During 1992 to 1993, bombs were stripped of the AVCO protective coating using manpower and pneumatic chisels and grinders. This method required two operators 30 minutes to remove as much of the AVCO protective coating as possible. The operation was strenuous and required the use of protective clothing due to asbestos in the AVCO material. If the coating could not be removed, the bomb was re-coated and, if the percentage of new material coverage was sufficient, it, was classified as shipboard qualified. A high percentage of the renovated bombs could not meet shipboard requirements.
Implemented in 1995, the current method uses a robot and a high-pressure waterjet system. The robot was installed in the front of a waterfall paint booth so any over-spray or dust coming off the bomb would be exhausted. The process is done by loading the bomb on the reutilized monorail system, conveying the bomb into the booth, and turning on the waterjet and the robot. In 14 minutes, a 500-pound bomb is stripped of all AVCO protective coating. CAAA’s investment in this process change was minimal. The robot came from the Ammunition Peculiar Equipment (APE) program, the waterjet had been purchased and used on a previous program, and an old bomb conveyor and bomb inverter were used for the monorail. The only new piece of equipment that had to be fabricated was the bomb spinner, which spins the bomb as the waterjet removes the coating. This process removes all of the coating and allows for new coating to be applied, obtaining a 100% yield of shipboard-qualified bombs.
The health hazards of working with asbestos were reduced to a minimum along with ergonomic improvements to the workers’ environment. The quality of the new AVCO application was greatly improved due to 100% removal of old AVCO. Reutilization of existing equipment as opposed to purchasing new equipment is a practice CAAA performs regularly, greatly reducing overhead for new workload.
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