Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Watervliet Arsenal Newsletter: The Salvo 30 April 2014


Published on

This is the U.S. Army Watervliet Arsenal's monthly newsletter called The Salvo. The Salvo contains the latest stories and information that pertains to the Army's manufacturing center at Watervliet. The Watervliet Arsenal is an Army-owned and operated manufacturing center having established operations in 1813.

  • Be the first to comment

Watervliet Arsenal Newsletter: The Salvo 30 April 2014

  1. 1. THE SALVO Vol. 14, No. 4 U.S. Army Watervliet Arsenal April 30, 2014 Secretary of the Army pins safety award on the Watervliet Arsenal for the third time in four years. Award Story on Page 3 Photo by John B. Snyder Secretary of the Army John McHugh Former Deputy Commander Ed McCarthy Arsenal Commander Col. Lee H. Schiller Jr.
  2. 2. Page 2 Salvo April 30, 2014 The Arsenal Salvo is an authorized monthly publication for members of the Department of Defense. Contents of the Salvo are not necessarily the official views of, or an endorse- ment by the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense, the Department of the Army, or the Watervliet Arsenal. News may be submitted for publication by sending articles to Public Affairs Officer, 1 Buffington Street, Bldg. 10, Watervliet, NY 12189, or stop by office #102, Bldg. 10, Watervliet Arsenal. The editor may also be reached at (518) 266-5055 or by e-mail: The editor reserves the right to edit all information submitted for publication. Commander, Col. Lee H. Schiller Jr. Public Affairs Officer, John B. Snyder Editor, John B. Snyder Photographer: John B. Snyder Arsenal Facebook Page @ Lee H. Schiller Jr. Commanding Manufacturer 6 Commander’s CornerWhen I took command last summer, it was on one of those 90-degree days. Little did I know then that my first winter here would be one of the coldest in recent memory of New Yorkers who call this area home. I am sure that I was as pleased as you to find that after months of extreme cold and significant snowfall, that my personal vehicle was actually a different color than “dirty salt.” Spring is a great time of the year. We feel reinvigorated with the warmth, as well as with lower utility bills. And for many, Spring works as a motivator for us to do more work around our homes and at the arsenal. When you venture out this Spring, you will notice that our buildings have not changed, our property line has not changed, and our mission has not changed. What has changed, however, is our workforce. Many of you lost long-time coworkers last month as nearly 1,000 years of arsenal experience retired. It was only about three years ago when our workforce numbers were about 630. We are now at about 512. As many of you know, we have critical shortages of personnel in key areas and we are trying to fix that. At this time, we have requests at higher headquarters to help us with some of these shortages. Nevertheless, the effects of sequestration are still constraining leaders throughout the Army Materiel Command from allowing all subordinate commands to have hiring flexibility to fill critical positions. So, what does that mean to you? Regardless of our workforce size, we still have a mis- sion to provide our troops with the critical weapons and associated parts that will make them successful in training and in combat. In many situations, this means that some of you have more day-to-day responsibility to fill in for the gaps in per- sonnel. I truly appreciate those of you who are stepping up to the challenge by taking on additional missions. I also thank the entire workforce for giving a 100-percent effort every day. These truly are difficult times as we work our way through the budget uncertainty and a reduction in wartime requirements. But we will survive as those who came be- fore us did by taking on any mission, no matter how small, and by transforming ourselves for the future. I ask you to continue to give all that you can to make us successful. Whenever you can make a difference, make a difference. Whenever you can take on more responsibil- ity, take it on. Whenever you can improve your quality of work, improve it. We must do all of these things without constant direction or close supervision. As I close, I would be remiss if I didn’t say something about safety. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, Spring drives us outside. When it does, please be very careful as you restart your garden equipment and barbe- cues. And take extra precaution prior to enjoying summer- time sports.
  3. 3. Page 3 Salvo April 30, 2014 Arsenal earns SecArmy Safety Award for 3rd time in 4 years By John B. Snyder A 2013 banner, similar to this 2010 safety award banner, will soon hang in a production bay. About this same time last year, the ar- senal announced that it was the Fiscal 2012 Secretary of the Army and Army Chief of Staff Safety Award winner for Industrial Opera- tions. This is the second year in a row, and the third time in four years the arsenal has received this award. Photo by John B. SnyderThe Watervliet Arsenal announced this month that it was named the winner of the Fiscal Year 2013 Secretary of the Army and Army Chief of Staff Safety Award for Indus- trial Operations. This is the third time in four years, and two years in a row, the Arsenal has been recognized by the Army’s senior leaders for its exceptional safety program and record. Arsenal Commander Col. Lee H. Schiller Jr. said that even in an inherently dangerous business that involves pre- cision machining, metal fabrication, welding, forging, and heat treatment, that manufacturing can be done safely. Considering that there are more than 1,200 people who drive in and out the arsenal gate every day; more than 600 machines that grind, drill, heat, and mill; and that arsenal manufacturing takes place in one of the harshest climates in the country, this is a significant achievement, Schiller said. Matthew Church, the arsenal’s safety manager, said the key to last year’s success was that employees and lead- ers throughout the arsenal took on more responsibility for safety as individuals and as part of a team. “We vigorously attacked all safety-related issues that may have led to an injury, death, or loss of equipment,” Church said. “And when there was a safety-related inci- dent, we aggressively conducted accident investigations within 24 hours of the occurrence so that lessons were quickly captured and communicated to the workforce.” Church said that some of the arsenal safety achieve- ments in 2013 that led to the award are: -No fatalities. -A lost time rate that was 20 percent lower than the goal established by the arsenal’s higher headquarters, the Army Materiel Command, and 81 percent lower than industry standards. -No employee has been placed on long-term disability since 2003. -The Arsenal also showed improvements and innova- tions in safety compliance programs such as OSHA’s Vol- untary Protection Program. “This is an energized workforce who actively partici- pates in several safety programs, as well as who read- ily recommend initiatives to make the workplace safer,” Church said. “Although this accomplishment is a great honor, we are not yet done ensuring that our workforce has the most safe and productive work environment available.” According to Department of the Army Pamphlet 385- 10, Army Safety Program, both individuals and units must have made significant improvements and contributions to accident prevention efforts, among other criteria, to be considered for an award. Nominations are submitted for actions taken during the preceding fiscal year. The award will be presented to the arsenal by its higher headquarters in a future ceremony. Special Recognition... This story had great success in its placement with higher commands and staffs. The story was: -One of the Top 10 Stories in the entire Army as it was highlighted on the Army’s homepage -One of the Top 10 Stories for the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy, & Environment -One of the Top 10 Stories for the Army G-4, Deputy Chief of Staff for Army Logistics -One of the top 10 Stories for the Army Materiel Cmd.
  4. 4. started receiving a wide-range of requirements from DLA for such items as boots, canteens, as well as for the axles and firing mechanisms.” The challenge when entering a niche market, such as the production of DLA items, is that the arsenal does not have an established vendor base for raw stock, programs for the computer-numerical controlled machines, tools and fix- tures, or a historical understanding of the funding process. Additionally, the first DLA orders are for what are called “low-production” requirements. Although these DLA orders amount to less than $1 mil- lion, there are many at the arsenal who hope that these small orders may lead to larger orders in the future, said Keegan. Whatever it takes to bring in new workload the ar- senal must do even if it means a little extra work up front. “We can’t sit back and hope that orders come to us,” Keegan said. “We have to aggressively seek new avenues for workload, get out of our comfort zone, and find new work.” So, given that the arse- nal machinists in the 1890s had to transform the arse- nal from a manufacturer of saddles to a manufacturer of cannons, today’s machinist must also transform to ensure the arsenal’s long-term viability as an Army-owned and operated manufacturing center. Not as heretics, but as ad- vocates for change. In the meantime, the arsenal will begin shipping both or- ders in 2015. Page 4 Salvo April 30, 2014 If the Watervliet Arsenal’s cannon makers from the 1800s saw what is happening today at their arsenal would they proclaim that today’s machinists are “heretics” or would they be more generous in their thoughts? After every military conflict since the War of 1812, there have been the ebbs and flows of defense funding that have guided, if not forced, the arsenal to convert itself in order to continue as an Army-owned and operated manufacturing center. Today’s military leaders often use the term “trans- formation” as a necessary means to a new end state. The arsenal workforce historically has called it for what it is ̶ “survival.” So, what is going on today at Watervliet that would certainly have caused a debate on the old parade grounds in the 1800s? Tom Buckton, one of the arsenal’s lead program managers, said that given today’s intense competi- tion for defense contracts in an era of declining defense budgets, seeking work into non-traditional markets makes sense. “We just received two contracts from the De- fense Logistics Agency for vehicle axles for 5-ton trucks and for firing mech- anisms for a U.S. Navy submarine,” Buckton said. “No one here can recall if the arsenal has ever manufactured products for DLA.” Although the arsenal has been in continuous operation since 1813, it was not until the late 1800s when the arse- nal became the Army’s primary, large-caliber manufacture of cannons. Therefore, the arsenal has for more than 100 years focused on large orders, Buckton said. “We haven’t given up on our core mission of manufac- turing large caliber products, but production orders have slowed in recent years and we must do what it takes to keep our critical skill base active,” Buckton said. “Even if it means that we go after small orders that we would not have considered just two to three years ago.” According to Peter Keegan, the arsenal business devel- opment officer, “We contacted DLA last summer and told them to send us anything for a quote that requires close- tolerance machining, fabrication, or heat treatment. We Special Recognition... This story had great success in its placement with higher commands and staffs. The story was: -The #1 Story for the Army G-4, Deputy Chief of Staff for Army Logistics -One of the Top 10 Stories for the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology -One of the Top 10 Stories in the Army Materiel Com- mand The arsenal is now aggressively seeking non-standard work, such as for the U.S. Navy’s submarine fleet. Here, the Virginia-class attack submarine USS North Carolina (SSN 777) is moored at Changi Naval Base in Singa- pore. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jay C. Pugh/Released) Today’s arsenal: Heretics or simply smart advocates for change? By John B. Snyder
  5. 5. Page 5 Salvo April 30, 2014 Story continues on page 6, Spindles ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (April 2014) -- U.S. Army engineers' efforts to implement an improved coating for howitzer breech spindles will provide several benefits -- easing the logistical burden on Soldiers, reducing hazardous waste and saving millions of dollars. Rust, wear and corrosion problems force the Army to condemn breech spindles before their full service lives. A team at the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engi- neering Command, or RDECOM, is leading a project to identify, validate, test and evaluate a solution. Project officer Maira Senick and technical lead Dr. Christopher Mulligan, both with RDECOM's Ar- mament Research, Devel- opment and Engineering Center, in partnership with Product Manager Towed Artillery Systems, are aiming for a production- ready coating within six months to a year. "We're improving the performance of the howitzer and reducing the logistical burden on the Soldier," said Mulligan, a materials engineer. "A lot of times when you're trying to improve per- formance or eliminate hazardous materials, you end up with a more expensive process. "Here, we're saving a significant amount of money over the life cycle of the weapon with minimal to no increase in production cost." Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., officials estimate that a minimum of $5 million will be saved over the life of the M777A2 howitzer, but that amount would increase if the improved coating were to be used with other artillery as well. EASING LOGISTICAL BURDEN, SAVING MIL- LIONS OF DOLLARS Mulligan explained that the spindle is the howitzer com- ponent that seals the chamber and holds the pressure to prevent gas from leaking from the breech. Chromium has been used to coat spindles for decades, but the Army has found this method often leads to a short- ened service life when subjected to the rigors of Soldiers using the weapons in training or combat. "Any time you have corrosion, wear or chipping, it could result in loss of the seal and affect chamber pressure and accuracy. It needs to function properly. Wear and cor- rosion cause malfunctions," Mulligan said. To find and evalu- ate possible replacement technologies, the team developed a list of 10 primary metrics neces- sary for a new coating and application process. These included resistance to cor- rosion, mechanical wear and high temperatures. The group evaluated 12 material formulations in small samples and then down-selected to three based on performance and cost. The candidates currently being tested are High Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering from Sheffield Hallam University in the United Kingdom, Accelerated Plasma Arc from Phygen Coatings, and Electroless Nickel Plating. Mulligan said they are all vastly outperforming the chrome plating in terms of corrosion and wear. To ensure the coatings can withstand the rigors of Soldier use, the ARDEC team then turned to the Aberdeen Test Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground for live-fire test- ing on a howitzer range. After the first round of firing, the spindle undergoes 30 days of weathering in a caustic and acidic propellant by-product, known as swab water, to simulate potential conditions in combat, followed by another round of firing An M776 howitzer corroded chrome-plated standard obturator spindle sits next to newly plated production at the U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., March 6, 2014. Photo by Conrad Johnson, RDECOM. Improved coating for howitzer spindles to save money, reduce environmental impact Dan Lafontaine, RDECOM Public Affairs
  6. 6. Page 6 Salvo April 30, 2014 A 155-mm M777 medium-towed howitzer at the U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., March 6, 2014. Photo by Conrad Johnson, RDECOM. Spindles Cont. and then a final weathering cycle. "[Soldiers] use swab water to clean after firing, and sometimes proper maintenance is not done," Mulligan said. "We need to make sure it can withstand the firing environment and still maintain its corrosion resistance. After these are all fired and go through the second 30-day weathering cycle, we're going to put them back through accelerated corrosion testing for a five-day cycle in an environmental chamber, including salt fog as the final step." Mulligan explained that following one aggressive cycle in the chamber, the chromium coating exhibits severe cor- rosion. Senick said the team is constantly searching for new coating technologies and has identified a fourth option from Canada. Funding has recently been secured, and test- ing will begin within a few months. "Even though we have engaged on a path forward with these promising alternatives, we continue to monitor trends and advances on the corrosion-mitigation coating field," she said. "We have identified a newly developed promising chemical vapor deposition type coating known as Carbonyl." After all testing is complete, a final decision on the best process is expected within 90 days. As the improved coatings extend the life of spindles, the logistical demands on Soldiers will decrease as fewer spare parts will need to be transported and stored. The Army would then buy fewer spindles as the requirement for replacements is reduced. REDUCING ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARD Another important aspect of the project is the environ- mental benefit, Mulligan said. While the current spindle chrome electroplating process is federally permitted and under close engineering controls, it generates a waste stream of hexavalent chrome, which is highly carcino- genic. The goal is to establish a dry process that allows for a completely clean environmental method, he said. "There are high costs associated with controlling that hazardous waste, plus the human risk. If we can eliminate the use of chrome electroplating, then we can eliminate the hazardous waste stream associated with it," Mulligan said. The project aims to comply with a Department of De- fense directive issued in April 2009, which mandates the minimization of hexavalent chromium in defense-related industrial base manufacturing, Senick said. Senick also said that the cost of environmentally friendly processes can often be prohibitive. However, the team was able to overcome this obstacle for the spindle coatings. "We knew that for an alternative to be even considered, it not only had to be technically qualified but economically suitable," she said. "The coatings under consideration meet this requirement." SUPPORT FROM FOREIGN COMPARATIVE TESTING PROGRAM In order to fund the evaluation of foreign processes and materials, the group submitted a proposal through the Foreign Comparative Testing Program. FCT's mission since 1980 has been to find and evaluate "here and now" solutions to meet operational needs. The Office of the Secretary of Defense's Comparative Technology Office evaluates the proposals and selects candidates for funding. The RDECOM Global Technology Integration Team manages the program for the Army. Jason Craley, FCT project officer at RDECOM head- quarters, said the project has been a success because it accomplishes two objectives concurrently -- cost savings paired with longer equipment life. "The howitzer breech spindle FCT project is a fore- runner to the type of effort that will be an OSD-level priority over the next few years in an era of shrinking bud- gets,” Craley said. “This effort was ahead of its time in emphasizing life-cycle cost reduction when I first worked with Benét Labs to submit the initial FCT proposal in 2011.”
  7. 7. Page 7 Salvo April 30, 2014 The “Power of One” In honor of Douglas Bushee The arsenal’s leadership has been talking LEAN, Value Engineering, and the Army Suggestion Program for many years in hopes of making the arsenal a safer and more efficient manufacturing center of excellence. But at the end of the day, it boils down to individuals who must step up to make any program a success. In an Army line unit, everything starts at the Soldier level. Once Soldiers have mastered individual tasks, they then move to squad, pla- toon, and company-level tasks. This rings true at the arsenal, too. Everything starts with the individu- al. Of the 131 suggestions submitted to the Arsenal under the Army Suggestion Program in fiscal year 2012, 130 were submitted by individuals, said Richard Hopson, the administrator of the arsenal’s Army Sug- gestion Program. Within the 131 suggestions is a top monetary award of more than $1,500 that went to Douglas Bushee, a rotary forge operator at the Arsenal. Bushee suggested sandblasting just the weld areas of a mortar base plate, versus, sandblasting all the 57 parts of the base plate. His suggestion was tested and adopted because it was determined that it had the potential to save nearly 45 minutes of manu- facturing time per base plate. Potential savings will be nearly $30,000 in the first year. “By nature, I hate inefficiency and waste,” Bushee said. “I have been at the arsenal for a little over three years and this was my third suggestion to improve the safety and the effi- ciency of our manufac- turing.” Within the arsenal’s LEAN program, there have been 16 projects this fiscal year, said Mark Ripley, the arse- nal’s continuous improvement specialist. “Of those 16 projects, all began with one person’s good idea on how to make the arsenal more efficient or effective,” Ripley said. So, here it is, the “Power of One” cannot be dis- counted whether it is in a line unit or at an Army- owned manufacturing center. Because of the initia- tive of a handful of individuals at the arsenal, such as Douglas Bushee, the arsenal has become safer and more efficient, both of which will help the long-term viability of the arsenal. Despite the thousands of photos taken and hundreds of stories written about the arsenal work- force during the last few years, it still has been very difficult to capture all the great work being performed. When word came last week that one of our own, Douglas Bushee, had suddenly died, we scrubbed our files to find this 2012 story that highlighted some of Doug’s efforts to make our arsenal better. He succeeded, and he will be missed. The “Power of One” Douglas Bushee 1964 - 2014
  8. 8. Page 8 Salvo April 30, 2014 CPAC - Beneficiary Updated? Civilian Personnel Advisory Center ARE YOUR BENEFICIARY FORMS UP-TO-DATE? Have you recently married? Divorced? Had a baby? Had a death in the family?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, it may be time to update your beneficiary designation forms. Changes in family status don’t automatically change a previous beneficiary form; a benefactor on an old form still could receive the benefits you designated. If you are unsure of your assigned beneficiary designations and/or would like to submit new beneficiary forms, you may do so at any time. Most employees will have four types of beneficiary forms. 1) If enrolled in life insurance, Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Program, Standard Form (SF) 2823 is used to indicate who will receive FEGLI benefits in the event of an employee’s death. 2) Unpaid Compensation of Deceased Civilian Employee, SF-1152, is used to indicate who will receive the unpaid compensation payable after an employee’s death. Unpaid compensation can include the final pay check and lump sum annual leave payment. The SF-2823 and SF-1152 must be filled out hard-copy and are only considered valid once signed by the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center (CPAC) and filed in each employee’s electronic Official Personnel Folder (eOPF). 3) If enrolled in Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), TSP-3 is used to designate the recipient(s) of a deceased employee’s TSP account. The TSP-3 form is found on the TSP website, Once completed, it should be returned to the TSP office that will retain the form on file. 4) Retirement Fund: SF-2808 pertains to retirement contributions for CSRS employees and SF-3102 pertains to retirement contributions for FERS employees. CSRS employees must send the SF-2808 directly to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The address is located in the instructions of the form. FERS employees may give the SF-3102 to the CPAC for filing in their eOPF. Both forms are only valid once received by OPM or CPAC. All Standard Forms (SFs) can be located at the following website: http://www.opm. gov/forms/standard-forms To make an appointment to complete/update your beneficiary forms, contact CPAC on extension 4058 or 4053.
  9. 9. Page 9 Salvo April 30, 2014 Have you ever wondered what we get out of LEAN Six Sigma? Arsenal History Trivia Civil War - 1862: When the post was flooded in April of 1862, that was the first time in six months that shop machines had stopped working. Until the flood, the arsenal workforce of men, women, and children worked seven days-a- week, from 6:30 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. Missing production schedules weighed heavily on the arsenal com- mander as he wrote to the Chief of Ordnance, “...I detest nothing more than to report the inability of this ar- senal to meet any demand.”
  10. 10. Page 10 Salvo April 30, 2014
  11. 11. Page 11 Salvo April 30, 2014 Albany Devils Many thanks to the Albany Devils Hockey organization for honoring Veterans, and Active, Guard, and Reserve troops at its Military Appre- ciation Game on April 12th. Photos by John B. Snyder
  12. 12. Page 12 Salvo April 30, 2014 City of Watervliet Memorial Day Parade Monday, May 26th Save The Date: The Arsenal is participating in the City of Watervliet Memorial Day Parade on Monday, May 26, at 10 a.m., and we need folks to march in the parade. In past parades, we placed all adult marchers in the same color t-shirts, how- ever, our t-shirt sponsor did not come through this year. But having said that, we still have a limited number of shirts leftover from last year to issue. We do ask that everyone who received a t-shirt last year wear that shirt for this year’s parade so that we can outfit new marchers with the same shirt.