Original Date: 06/23/1997
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Ingersoll Machining Center
From August 1991 through September 1994, Letterkenny Army Depot (LEAD) had a maximum production rate of modifying eight M109 hulls per month. In February 1992, a shop capability study indicated that, in order to achieve full rate production of 18 hulls per month by August 1996, shop capabilities would have to be increased significantly. The practices used at that time to produce one hull incorporated the use of portable machining operations requiring 115 man-hours, and the use of a conventional machining center requiring 72 additional man- hours. Any downtime of the machining center had a direct impact on the schedule and number of hulls produced. In order to solve this problem and improve the capabilities of the shop, a specification was developed in February 1992 for a Computer Numerical Control bridge mill.
The bridge mill would be capable of machining the hulls with a minimal amount of man-hours required for portable and conventional machining. Procurement for the new machine was initiated, but research by LEAD personnel and the Paladin project manager revealed that the normal time frame for a machine of this type to come on-line was at least one year. With a mandatory date of August 1996 to achieve full production, LEAD formed a multi-functional integrated process team of 16 members. The members represented all departments involved in the procurement, operation, and installation of the new machine. Meeting once a week, the team had the authority to make any decisions necessary to prevent delays. This effort resulted in the machine being delivered and installed in November 1995, and the first production hull cut being taken in March 1996. The average time frame of one year for on-line startup was reduced by six months. The production rate of 18 hulls per month was exceeded in May 1996, three months ahead of the August schedule.
Benefits of this new machining center include an increase in the present and future capabilities of LEAD; a significant reduction in the machining processes and setups associated with the modification of the M109 hull; a reduction of manual operations performed using conventional and portable tooling; consistent improved quality; and a savings of 79.8 machining man-hours per hull.
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