Original Date: 09/15/1997
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Robotics Manufacturing Practices
Tooele Army Depot’s (TEAD’s) Ammunition Equipment Directorate (AED) utilizes robotics in ammunition operations for handling projectile disassembly, defusing, paint stripping, and removing asbestos coating. Robotic applications provide precise, repeatable, and high quality operations that improve productivity and remove the operator from potentially hazardous environments.
The number one priority to the demilitarization operations is operator safety. Factors such as weapon composition, environmental conditions, and operator fatigue enter into the formulation of demilitarization procedures. Facilities, equipment, and techniques are designed to assure safety, such as the use of special equipment enclosures and operator protective clothing to perform the operations. The cost is high to assure safety while maintaining high quality operations.
At AED, the utilization of robotics in ammunition operations has both improved operator safety and been cost effective. The following projects are examples incorporating robotics into demilitarization operations:
Bomb Asbestos Removal An APE 2207 robot, fitted with a waterjet end effector, was used to strip asbestos coatings from Navy bombs for repainting. This was done to allow Navy bombs to be used by the Air Force at a fraction of the cost for new build. The robot application replaced the operator, improved safety, drastically reduced clean up costs, reduced the cost of expensive clothing and respirators, and reduced safety barrier requirements. Additionally, process time was reduced from 55 minutes to 15 minutes per each of the more than 1,000 five hundred-pound bombs and 1,000 one-thousand-pound bombs.
Missile Asbestos Removal An APE 2207 robot, fitted with a waterjet end effector, was used to strip asbestos from the Titanium Flight Control Generators used in missiles. This was done to allow recycling of the titanium. The robot application replaced the operator, improved safety, reduced safety barrier requirements, and improved productivity.
Paint Removal An APE 2207 robot, fitted with a waterjet end effector, was installed at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane, Indiana to strip paint and other hazardous materials from bombs. The robot application provides precise, repeatable patterns for paint removal and improved productivity.
Handling Munitions An APE 2207 robot, in conjunction with an APE 1001 vertical pull-apart machine, have been used in AED test facilities to handle the 105mm High Explosive Rocket Assisted Projectile in demilitarization operations. The robot application replaced the operator, improved safety, increased productivity, and reduced safety barricade requirements.
Handling Munitions An APE 2200 robot was used to feed projectiles on an ammunition line at TEAD to feed three APE 1002 Dual Spindle Defusing Machines. The robot application reduced the number of operators by two, improved safety, and reduced safety barricade requirements.
Robotic applications by AED have focused on providing precise, repeatable, and high quality operations that improve productivity and remove the operator from potentially hazardous environments. The expertise demonstrated by AED for intelligent use of robots in highly applicable situations continues to be an available resource for other applications in munitions operations at TEAD, as well as manufacturing operations throughout the federal government.
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