Original Date: 09/15/2003
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : UDLP/TACOM Weld Code Procedure
United Defense, L.P. Ground Systems Division Aiken developed the Ground Systems Division/Tank-Automotive and Armament Command Weld Code, resulting in significant savings to the government and overall improvement in weld quality.
Prior to 1996, all ground combat vehicles that were fabricated to Military Standard requirements affixed significant non-value-added costs to the contract price. Redundant workmanship samples were often required, and weld procedure books had to be prepared specifically for each program. The qualification requirements for welders were program-driven with each program having different inspection requirements. Many times the visual criteria for acceptance did not exist in the specification.
Acquisition Reform was a military initiative designed to align requirements more closely with commercial procurement. By using commercial standards, many of the costly military requirements that did not add value could be eliminated. When many of the military specifications were canceled without replacement, a void was left because no commercial equivalent specification existed. To fill the void, United Defense, L.P. Ground Systems Divisions (UDLP GSDs) in Santa Clara, York, and Aiken, the Tank-Automotive and Armament Command (TACOM), the Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineer Center, and the Armament Research Development and Engineering Center teamed to develop steel and aluminum weld codes for use in the manufacture of ground combat vehicles for the Army. The Weld Code maintained the integrity of process control and delivery of a quality product while reducing cost by deleting non-value-added requirements. The Weld Procedure Manuals were applicable to all UDLP GSDs’ Army ground combat vehicle programs. The manuals were process-based (position, material, etc.), removing artificial cost drivers and eliminating vague and ambiguous verbiage and redundant workmanship sample requirements. Welder certification was standardized enabling welders to be transferred to other GSD sites. Procedures and inspection criteria were posted on the floor in the welding areas and made available via the company’s Intranet. The Weld Code also provided an alternative process of radiographic surveillance where sampling could be applied if the process was under control. Through this single process initiative (from 1997 to 2000), the government saved more than $5.2 million. Under certain conditions, the Weld Codes enabled the sharing of procedures and best practices with suppliers to dramatically aid them in reducing their process development costs and improving lead times for purchased components.
Standard Repair Procedures were developed to accommodate repairs typically encountered, and accomplished without excessive input or approvals. The repairs are to be performed only under certain controlled conditions. UDLP GSD Aiken standardized the Standard Repair Procedures for all GSD sites and reduced the number of procedures from 51 to 21. The government received $50 thousand through this single process initiative.
The UDLP/TACOM Weld Code was initially developed for use by the company in the manufacture of ground combat vehicles for the Army; however, the Army has adopted the Weld Code for use by all contractors for the procurement of tracked vehicles. The document has been converted to the government-owned Cage Code 19207. The Weld Code reduced overall tracked vehicle cost, simplified the manufacturing process, provided manufacturing flexibility through use across programs, reduced supplier lead time, and improved the overall weld quality.
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