Improving Metal Tube Reliability and Useful Life with Advanced Waterjet Technologies and Processes

NCMS Project #: 142196

Problem: Waterjet technology has been used for many years to cut a wide variety of materials.  This method has been developed to the point where it can effectively machine grooves to a controlled depth, just like a milling operation.  It offers a controlled removal of material with each pass, which leaves a smooth surface at the bottom of the groove.  The Army is seeking an environmentally compliant and lower cost alternative to other traditional milling processes to help maintain and sustain long tubes and pipes needed for weapons systems.

Benefit: Resulting lessons learned can be applied across a wide variety of metal pipe and tube manufacturing and maintenance activities in the commercial and military sectors.  This will result in more reliable products and a reduction in the overall time and cost of the effort. 

Solution/Approach: The purpose of this initiative is to develop/mature the use of waterjet technology processes to cut grooves to a controlled depth and dimensions inside a confined space, such as long metal tubes and pipes.  Leveraging advanced software and manufacturing techniques, the system will monitor progressive cutting dimensions during the process, analyze the various internal geometries, and adjust parameters as necessary to meet the final dimensions without introducing harmful residual stresses.

Impact on Warfighter:

  • Increase weapon systems availability 
  • Enhance warfighter readiness 
  • Reduce maintenance and sustainment costs 

DOD Participation:

  • U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) – Army Research Laboratory (ARL)
  • U.S. Army CCDC ARL
  • U.S. Army CCDC ARL
  • U.S. Army, DEVCOM Armaments Center
  • U.S. Army DEVCOM Armaments Center – Benet Laboratories and Watervliet Arsenal 
  • Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems (PEO GCS) 
  • Project Manager Main Battle Tank Systems (PM MBTS) 
  • Project Manager Self Propelled Howitzer Systems (PM SPHS) 
  • Product Manager Extended Range Cannon Artillery PdM (ERCA) 

Industry Participation:

  • Ormond LLC
  • NCMS

Benefit Area(s):

  • Cost savings
  • Repair turn-around time
  • Maintenance avoidance and reliability
  • Positive environmental impact
  • Maintenance management improvement
  • Improved readiness
  • Survivability
  • Durability
  • Reliability improvement

Focus Area:

  • Advanced/additive manufacturing