TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. (Dec. 29, 2014) – Paint removal processes here are getting a helping hand thanks to new technologies that reduce personal fatigue and provide significant time savings.
The Systems Integration and Support Directorate’s C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) Finishing Division has combined the capabilities of a laser paint stripper, referred to as an LPS, and zeroG Mechanical Arm to achieve these improvements.
The LPS is used to remove paint coatings from small, sensitive metal substrates with strict requirements for a smooth, machined finish that hand sanding or blasting cannot attain. Typically, the LPS is a manually-operated system that requires the user to fully support its weight. Although it weighs only 12.5 pounds, extended use can cause fatigue and impact productivity. To solve this issue, the directorate acquired a zeroG Mechanical Arm that allows tools, parts and equipment to be handled as if they were weightless.
Jonathan Grebb, an employee of the Systems Integration and Support Directorate, said the LPS and mechanical arm have teamed up to greatly improve several processes.
“The laser works well but tends to feel heavy over time,” he said. “With the zeroG arm, the weight of the laser is fully supported making it feel weightless and much easier to use.”
A Personal Fatigue and Delay Allowance calculation was performed by the Continuous Process Improvement Directorate on the paint stripping process with and without the use of the zeroG arm. Calculations determined a time savings of six percent, while the arm was in use, equating to a savings of five hours for every 80 hours of use.
Brad Jones, director of the Continuous Process Improvement Directorate, said the mechanical arm presents unique capabilities that could see widespread benefits across the depot.
“Using the zeroG arm makes processes more manageable and user-friendly,” he said. “The technology at the heart of the arm could potentially apply to many processes at Tobyhanna, resulting in further time and cost savings, while continually improving the quality of life for employees who operate heavy equipment.”