Original Date: 09/15/1997
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Pilot Model Shop
The Pilot Model Division of the Ammunition Equipment Directorate (AED) has evolved into an efficient, cost effective fabrication shop. The major mission of the Pilot Model Shop is to manufacture or fabricate prototype and/or first engineering production of Ammunition Peculiar Equipment (APE) and other conventional and chemical ammunition-related equipment. Drawing from more than 300 man-years experience, the Pilot Model Shop successfully enhanced its equipment maintenance, machine tooling procurement, and manufacturing techniques. These improvements have made the model shop a major contributor in supporting the worldwide conventional and chemical munitions community.
In the equipment maintenance area, the Pilot Model Shop developed in-house maintenance capabilities for servicing its 80 machines (valued at more than $1.6 million). Several are Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines and require complex, specific service. Because of this in-house capability, the overall condition of the machinery (ranging in age from eight to 54 years) is excellent, and downtime has been kept to a minimum. CNC equipment repair cycles that were typically two to four weeks have been reduced to an average of eight to ten hours.
Recognizing that performance is critical in the procurement of machine tooling, AED has gone to proven suppliers and products. By being selective in tooling purchases, the total costs associated with manufacturing have been reduced over the years in man-hours, cutting and milling times, and tool breakage. By utilizing the government credit card purchasing capability, AED has access to local tool suppliers who are very responsive to its needs. This has also reduced the spares inventory requirements.
In 1993, the Pilot Model Shop procured a CNC WaterJet cutting system from Flow International, Kent, Washington for $225 thousand. This system was obtained to manufacture irregularly shaped components. Operating at up to 50,000 psi, the system will cut components from steel, aluminum, plastic, and rubber up to 4 inches thick with little or no finishing required. Sheet metal items, such as elbows, transitions, and flanges are significantly simpler to manufacture as precise cuts of arcs and curved pieces are possible. This equipment has reduced the manufacturing time of milled and machined components up to 50%. Additionally, material costs have been reduced with less waste from milling or machining, and reduced charges by suppliers for special or complex cuts have been realized.
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