March 2012 – Symposium Edition
Welcome to The CTMA Connector, a monthly newsletter designed to provide news and ideas about the Commercial Technologies for Maintenance Activities (CTMA) program. The CTMA program is a joint Department of Defense/National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (DoD/NCMS) effort promoting collaborative technology development between industry and the DoD maintenance and repair facilities. This newsletter highlights ongoing projects, serves as a forum for promoting new project ideas, and provides other news of interest to the program. Our goal is to stimulate your participation and solicit your input. Feel free to submit items for the newsletter as well as any suggestions to make it more useful. More information about the program can be found at http://ctma.ncms.org/. To subscribe or unsubscribe to the CTMA Connector, send a message to:
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Announcing the Winner for the 2012 $100,000 OSD/NCMS Maintenance Challenge
As part of the 2012 CTMA Symposium, we issued a call for project ideas in the Maintenance Technology Challenge. A total of 18 projects were submitted, and judging by the Joint Technology Exchange Group Principal Representatives narrowed down the list to five. Each of these five finalists presented their idea in front of the DoD Maintenance Executive Steering Committee and several Depot Commanders, who ranked each of the five, and led to the winning concept paper. A summary of the five are included below:
Winning Entry: DoD Airframe and Engine Fastener Removal – e-drill Cost Reduction and Process Improvement (e-CRPI), presented by Doug Gerlach, Perfect Point Inc.
Whether it’s performed during regular heavy maintenance, modification, or service life extension programs, aerospace fastener removal is a labor-intensive process with high damage rates. Prior to Perfect Point’s introduction of the e-drill in 2010, no alternative existed to the standard mechanical drilling process. Low productivity, high damage rates, repetitive motion injuries, and the FOD associated with thousands of drill shards were common and accepted. Perfect Point’s e-drill technology dramatically improves aerospace fastener removal operations. Due to the current methodical pace of implementation, the DoD is delaying full realization of e-drill’s cost reduction, process improvement, and health and safety benefits. Currently, the e-drill is being approved for use on the basis of one fastener in one application on one platform at a time. While important Local Process Specification (LPS) and Local Engineering Specification (LES) work is being done on numerous platforms across DoD (F-22, F-18, A-10), taking a broader approach will help accelerate adoption and eliminate costly duplicate development efforts.
The project team is proposing a comprehensive DoD program to develop necessary engineering, process, and training specifications that can be applied across all branches and platforms. Investing in a top-down approach now will save DoD years in achieving full adoption, thereby saving hundreds of millions of dollars in fastener removal operational costs. The e-CRPI project will test target fasteners on multiple platforms at all seven primary air depots/bases, develop standardized engineering, process, and training specifications, and ultimately accelerate fastener removal cost savings across the entire DoD organization.
This project will produce a standard e-drill fastener removal specification package consisting of qualification test processes, test facilities, training specifications and training qualification tests, across all DoD aerospace platforms, including supervisor and operator training, field testing, and implementation support at seven major facilities including three Navy Fleet Readiness Centers (SW, E, S), all three Air Force Air Logistics Centers, and the Corpus Christi Army Depot.
By targeting e-drill testing on the fasteners with the highest removal cost (labor, consumables, damage, and ergonomics) while factoring in quantity of removals, the project will deliver the following benefits:
- 50% reduction in labor costs on the targeted applications.
- 75% reduction in airframe damage-related costs, which include MRB costs and replacement of parts that are damaged beyond repair from mechanical drilling of fasteners.
- Reduced ergonomic risk factors when compared to conventional fastener removal methods including force, posture, vibration, repetition, compression, duration, and noise.
- Reduced FOD – the only FOD left by the e-drill is the fastener head and stem – the metal that is removed from the fastener during the e-drill process is captured within a closed loop vacuum, filtered, and recycled through the system.
- Reduced Cycle Time and Improved Material Readiness – by speeding up the fastener removal
A CTMA project is being organized around this capability, and interested participants should contact Chuck Ryan, firstname.lastname@example.org, 734-995-4905.
Top Five Finalist: MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) Maintenance Processes, presented by Randy Kirk, Aspire Solutions, Inc.
The MRAP vehicle was incorporated into the DoD inventory to combat insurgent’s use of IED’s (Improvised Explosive Device) during the Iraq conflict. The MRAP was designed with a v-shaped hull to deflect blasts away from the vehicle’s core. While the MRAP has its issues, its core mission of saving lives as been very effective. Because of survivability rates, the MRAP has several different variants to serve specific mission purposes and goals. The MRAP was procured using rapid acquisition protocols enabling many vehicles to be obtained very quickly. Multiple manufacturers (BAE, IMG, and FPI) and many subcontractors were selected to produce various quantities and variants of the MRAP. Because of the rapid deployment requirements, the manufacturers focused on quantity. This often lead to variants not being constructed using the same specifications.
Because of the many variations, the technical inspections are very time consuming and require significant manpower. Planners then take these results and develop a work scope for the particular vehicle and perform the research to order the necessary replacement parts or schedule the repair processes. Because no other existing DoD system has so many distinct configurations, existing processes and systems are not available. This requires manual, paper based processing of each MRAP further adding time and cost to the maintenance cycle. Because of the human element there are unavoidable mistakes and redundancies that also extend the time and cost.
The team would utilize AP&IG (Automated Process & Inspection Guide) to automate the existing manual, paper based technical evaluations. AP&IG standardizes inspection processes by providing detailed guided work flows using actual pictures that walk the mechanic/inspector thru a set of procedures. Any discrepancy data is automatically standardized and part information (where available) automatically captured saving both the mechanic and planner significant time. Because it is an automated tool, once the data has been captured it can be shared throughout the enterprise ensuring any research (eliminate redundancy) is performed only one time. Available technical data can be displayed directly at the POU (point of use) eliminating the need for paper reference material and additional head knowledge/tips/notes can be included along with the TM’s. The figure below illustrates the system.
This technology would vastly streamline the existing technical evaluation and planning process (reduce flow days and manhours), standardize it for future employees (simplify training), and enable detailed root cause / trend analysis (large scale purchases for known issues). Currently, RRAD is projecting maintenance on 5000 MRAP’s. Using very conservative assumptions including no material costs or economies of scale, results in a total savings of over $60 million or over $12,000 per MRAP.
Top Five Finalist: Intermittent Fault Detection & Isolation System (IFDIS),presented by Ken Anderson, Universal Synaptics Corporation.
One of the major cost drivers for the Department of Defense (DoD) is the maintenance of electronics and electrical systems that control and operate the wide-ranging inventory of weapons and weapon systems. Over $20 billion a year is spent maintaining electronics and electronic systems across the DoD. One of the highest contributing causes for these costs is age-related intermittent faults that result in No Fault Found (NFF) and Cannot Duplicate (CND) test results. Based on several reports and studies on the subject, it is estimated that roughly 50% of all observed and documented in operation equipment malfunctions result in repair actions that do not ultimately fix any problems (no material repair action or components replaced), yet these electronic units are returned to service, only to fail again in the same way another day.
The Intermittent Fault Detection & Isolation System (IFDIS) is a tester that was specifically designed to fill the conventional ONE circuit at a time testing void. The IFDIS tests the LRU / WRA chassis wiring and identifies the precise location of each defect by monitoring ALL of the circuits in the Unit Under Test (UUT) individually, simultaneously and continuously (no scanning, sampling or multiplexing), detecting any intermittent event even as short at 50 nanoseconds (0.00000005 seconds). This quantum leap in test technology enables the chassis wiring problems to be easily repaired, as the root cause of the fault that drove the equipment item in for repair is accurately identified and isolated. Repairing the defect is usually trivial; finding the defect has always been, and continues to be, the problem. The proposed project is demonstrating that the IFDIS will efficiently and reliably detect and isolate the intermittent faults in the F-16 Weapon System Night Vision Data Transfer Unit (NVDTU). This will be accomplished by developing the needed hardware and software to continuously and simultaneously monitor ALL circuit paths in this Line Replaceable Unit chassis using the IFDIS, to detect and isolate to their precise location each intermittent circuit.
This project will demonstrate that by using the IFDIS, the intermittent faults in the NVDTU can be detected, isolated and repaired. As a result, the reliability of the NVDTU will be substantially increased, the cost of maintaining the NVDTU will be reduced, and currently “unrepairable” NVDTUs will be repaired. Additionally, the time required to repair NVDTUs will be reduced (based on experience with other IFDIS tested LRUs). Utilizing the limited IFDIS capability at OO-ALC to test the MLPRF has already yielded an 18 times return on investment by returning to service MLPRFs that had previously been considered “unrepairable,” and by more than doubling the MLPRF reliability.
With full implementation of the IFDIS, the Department of Defense will realize a significant return on investment and have advanced diagnostic capability to virtually eliminate the $2 billion a year annual expenditure due to No Fault Found. In ten years the DoD will be able to realize a conservative return on investment of $20 billion.
Top Five Finalist: Multibeam Laser Additive Manufacturing for Efficient Part Manufacture and Repair, presented by Hans Herfurth, Fraunhofer USA, Center Laser Technology.
Additive manufacturing has been recognized as a key technology to further improve efficiency in systems repair and maintenance. Originally developed for rapid prototyping application, additive manufacturing technologies have significantly expanded their field of application to part repair and low volume part manufacture. Currently, several additive manufacturing systems are installed at DoD depots and private sector facilities to support ongoing DoD maintenance efforts. Applications range from mold & core printing and manufacture of polymer jigs and fixtures for holding and masking to the build-up to complex metal parts made of super-alloys using the laser additive manufacturing (LAM) process. LAM technology allows to build metal parts from powder or to apply specific coatings to arbitrary shaped substrates and has therefore been generally identified as a promising approach to solve many of the existing challenges in part repair and low volume part production. Typically, high power lasers up to multiple kW are used to locally create solid metal deposits or layers of metallic material with cost effective productivity. Although current LAM technology is capable of producing rather complex metal parts with good accuracy and mechanical strength, several areas for further technology advancements have been identified that would clearly benefit DoD’s maintenance efforts. Key areas for improvement include process accuracy and reliability, applicable material spectrum, parts certified for aircraft-end use, and process control.
The project team proposes the development of Multiple Beam LAM technology to address the shortfalls of today’s technology and to significantly broaden the applicability in DoD’s maintenance tasks. Multibeam LAM deploys several low power beams, each precisely controllable and with a minimum heat input thus enabling high precision, fine features and excellent surface finish. The single beams either work in parallel to scale productivity without sacrificing precision or are superposed in a single spot creating material and application specific tailored heat profiles that will significantly expand the applicable material spectrum. Precise control of the heat cycle during material deposition will allow processing a wide spectrum of high-strength steels and super alloys used in jet engines and gas turbines and will also be advantageous for the deposition of gradient materials.
The innovative thrust areas of the proposed solution are:
- -High productivity, high precision LAM through the use of multiple medium power lasers
- Deposition of challenging materials, such as super alloys or gradient materials through optimized pre- and post heating by tailored spot geometries
- Real time process monitoring for consistent quality
- Easy to use, low cost system enabled by compact, low cost diode lasers integrated with the nozzle in a compact end effector.
Top Five Finalist: Pilot Implementation of the Use of milTube to Electronically Communicate Maintenance and Operating Procedures at a Fraction of the Cost of Interactive Electronic Technical Manuals, presented by Lou Sciaroni, US Army AMRDEC.
DOD is not adequately utilizing technology to teach maintenance and operating procedures. Youtube has become the way in which many (maybe most) people find out how to maintain and operate things they own. The Army has a capability called milSutie which contains a milTube capability. It is like Youtube, except that you have to use a CAC card to get access. Current paper processes to update maintenance processes are slow (they can take a year to get a pubs changes processed). Also, paper is not as efficient as video and voice in the training of a task. Additionally, these videos will allow for the capture of expert knowledge that often gets lost as soldiers/experts retire.
This solution builds off of a solution made through the Army suggestion program titled “Interactive Maintenance and Operating Procedures; Electronically Communicating Maintenance and Operating Procedures at a Fraction of the Cost of Interactive Electronic Technical Manuals” which accompanies this proposal. This solution builds off that suggestion and is to create pilot videos from the AMRDEC VizLab on the CH-47 program to post on Youtube. This assumes DOD and the Army to change its culture and policies to allow videos and maintenance and operating procedures. The milTube has the capability for users to rate the videos, so that the accurate, quality videos will be used over the inaccurate, poor quality videos.
The utilization of milTube for maintenance and operating procedures will create an expert knowledge base of operations and maintenance procedures, reduce training costs, improve retention of information, improved quality (reduction in errors made) in the operation and repair of equipment, result in faster maintenance times, quicker update of outdated or incorrect procedures, greater interoperability between DOD services, and create significant cost savings/avoidance.
Highlights from the 2012 CTMA Symposium
Over 200 people from the DoD and Industry participated in this year’s CTMA Symposium, which uniquely brought together leaders from each of the services, maintainers, industry users, and technology providers. The Plenary Sessions heard perspectives from John Johns, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Maintenance Policy & Programs, Lorna B. Estep, Air Force Deputy Director of Logistics, Directorate of Logistics and Sustainment, Chris Lowman, Army Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff, Director of Maintenance, and Tony Guarino, Enterprise Logistics Solutions, Lockheed Martin. Each of them discussed how their organization are finding more efficient and effective ways of doing business in a time of fiscal challenges, including their perspective on where technology can increase their effectiveness and reduce costs.
For the first time, the Symposium featured a panel of Program Managers outlining their challenges. Moderated by LtGen, Mike Hough (Ret.), Former Head of Marine Corps Aviation, the panel included:
- Army: Denny Haag, Army Product Manager, Light Tactical Vehicles
- Marines: LtCol John Corbett, Robotic Systems Joint Program Office
- Air Force: Bill Barnes, Deputy Chief, B-1 System Program Office
- Industry: Shaugnessy Reynolds, Director Life CycleLogistics & Support, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems
A second panel, composed of depot commanders, also outlined the challenges they are facing and how they are responding with deploying new technologies and capabilities. This panel, moderated by RDML Steve Heilman (Ret.) included:
- Army: COL Cheri Provancha, Commander, Letterkenny Army Depot
- Navy: RADM (Select) Mark Whitney, Commander, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard
- Air Force: Col Jeff Meserve, Commander of Aircraft Maintenance Group, Ogden ALC
- Marines: Col Stephen Medeiros, Commander Barstow/Albany
- Industry: Jim Henry, Vice President Government & Military Engineering, StandardAero
Finally, 27 technology projects were briefed over 3 tracks, providing status updates, plans for deployment, and benefits either realized or expected. All of the presentations from the Symposium will be made available in the near future.
CTMA Technology Showcase
Many thanks to Captain John Smajdek, CO for FRC-SW for hosting this years Symposium as well as the CTMA Technology Showcase held the day before the Symposium. The Showcase featured 25 technology development organizations and allowed FRC-SW engineers, artisans and managers to see firsthand new technologies that can enhance their working capabilities. In addition to Captain Smajdek, we would like to thank Chris Root and his team for making a success out of this years Symposium and Showcase. Without the help and leadership support we received from FRC-SW, these events would not have been possible.
We appreciate your feedback. Please contact Chuck Ryan with suggestions or input on other topics that would be of interest to you in this newsletter. The CTMA Program is sponsored by the Department of Defense; the content of this newsletter does not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the government; no official endorsement should be inferred.