On 28 – 29 April, 2010, FRC East hosted a Technology Showcase sponsored by the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) through its Commercial Technologies for Maintenance Activities program (CTMA). The showcase brought leading technology companies into FRC East to see first hand the challenges our maintainers face in order to identify innovative commercial solutions.
The Technology Showcase opened with Col. Loch providing an overview of FRC East operations and Mr. Greg Kilchenstein from OSD’s Maintenance Policy and Programs office providing an overview of maintenance technology’s role in DoD’s overarching strategy and he outlined the Commercial Technologies for Maintenance Activities program as proven technology transition venue. NCMS member companies were given a comprehensive tour of FRC East operations and facilities. Next on the agenda were table top displays, strategically located throughout the depot to ensure easy access for all base personnel to see the technologies The table top displays provided industry representatives a unique opportunity to learn about challenges faced directly by the maintainers. The first day concluded with a networking event at the “The Pitt.” The second day was dedicated to one-on-one industry presentations with base personnel regarding solutions with immediate potential for deployment at FRC East.
The Technology Showcase was a powerful example of how the CTMA Program fast tracks innovative technical solutions from private industry directly into the hands of DoD personnel to increase systems availability while reducing cost.
NCMS members displaying technology included DIT-MCO International, Aging Aircraft Consulting, LLC, Superior Controls, iMAST/ARL (Penn State), Stratasys, Eclypse International, Adapt Laser Systems, Automated Precision, Inc., Aerowing, Imaginestics, LLC, Spatial Integrated Systems, Inc., Spectro Inc., GSA Service Company, POM Group, REI Systems, Inc., and Pendaran Inc.,
Three CTMA projects have been formed to immediately meet FRC East needs:
- Wiring Shop Modernization – upgrade the capability to build and test wiring harnesses, currently very labor and time intensive.
- Automated Robotic Blade Stripping System (ARBSS) – Provide a reliability upgrade and training. In addition, assess the challenges for wider deployment of automated paint stripping technology.
- Large Area Inspection of Composite Parts- evaluate and identify improved methods for detecting damage to composite aircraft components.
The Commercial Technologies for Maintenance Activities (CTMA) Program is collaboration between the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, its member companies, and the Department of Defense (DoD). Under an historic Cooperative Agreement between NCMS and the OSD Office for Maintenance Policy and Programs,, NCMS and its member companies co-sponsor technology development, deployment and validation with DoD organic maintenance activities. The current focus is the use of maintenance related technologies to reduce the costs associated with maintenance and rebuild of weapons systems as an element of the overall DoD maintenance strategy.
By partnering with NCMS government services members, the organic DoD maintenance activities are able to quickly assess the benefits of new manufacturing technologies in their own facilities, working side-by-side with industry leaders solving manufacturing problems through collaboration.
NCMS is the largest cross-industry collaborative research and development consortium in North America, and is the only consortium in the U.S. devoted exclusively to maintenance technologies, processes and practices. NCMS has nearly 25 years of experience in the formation and management of complex, multi-partner collaborative R&D programs, and is backed by corporate members representing virtually every manufacturing sector.
The next Technology Showcase will be 8 – 9 June at the Marine Corps Logistics Base, Albany Maintenance Center in Albany, Georgia.