Original Date: 04/26/2004
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Material Handling Techniques
United Defense, L.P. Armament Systems Division Aberdeen has been proactive in developing and implementing material handling solutions that provide operators with the ability to easily perform their tasks in a safe manner. Repetitive motion injuries have also been significantly reduced by changing the fixtures and tools used.
United Defense, L.P. Armament Systems Division (UDLP ASD) Aberdeen manufactures large, heavy parts and assemblies. Employee rotation necessitates creative material handling methods, and the team environment encourages innovative techniques. The teams identify opportunities for improvement, especially as new team members become part of the team. Typically, a low cost approach will be prototyped to prove out the concept. A final solution is then designed and implemented.
The following examples demonstrate UDLP ASD Aberdeen’s wide-range ability in solving material handling problems: Weld fixtures have been designed that will raise, lower, and rotate to position the large assemblies in the optimum position for welding (Figure 2-1). This reduces operator strain, twisting, and reaching, and positions the weld area in the optimum position to accomplish a quality weld. Pallet positioning fixtures have been developed that allow the operator to easily access the parts required for an assembly.
Canister roll-over carts have been developed that are mounted on air pallets to rotate the canisters for processing and to easily move the canisters between stations. Similar techniques have also been implemented in the electrical cable fabrication area to provide the operator easy access to the cable layout board.
The connector stress relief molding rack has adjustable height, and the operator's chair is also adjustable. Many assemblies also require repetitive motion by the operator to complete the assembly.
One particular cable has 135 contacts that must be stripped and then have contacts crimped on each wire. In the past, this was accomplished using a hand stripper and a hand crimper. An automatic wire stripper and contact crimper were installed to eliminate the repetitive hand motions.
Adjustable height, foot-controlled heat guns have been designed and installed.
Pneumatic band clamp installation tools were purchased to eliminate manual installation.
Electric scissors were purchased to remove mold flashing from the rubber strain relief on the connectors of cables.
An operations engineer designed a multiple layer wire twister for assembling custom multi-wire cable assemblies.
The material handling fixtures developed and implemented at UDLP ASD Aberdeen allow employees of different stature and strength to perform the necessary operations on large, heavy assemblies safely, more quickly, and with better quality. The ergonomic solutions that replaced manual processes have made the operations easier to perform. From 2001 to 2003, cumulative trauma disorders have decreased 75%.
Figure 2-1. Deck Weld Fixture
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