The U.S. Army’s Combat Capabilities Department Command (CCDC) Manufacturing Technology has announced a new manufacturing cell for welding designed to improve the quality of combat vehicle weldments, reduce fabrication time and protect manufacturing workers as well as troops in combat situations, the service branch announced on Tuesday.
The cell is equipped with an advanced welding technology called High Energy Buried Arc Welding, which enables high-quality, thick-plate welds with minimal passes. The cell also contains a high-capacity, multi-axis positioning system that can manipulate multi-ton vehicle structures into ideal welding positions.
It’s automation will lead to higher quality weldments as well as reduce the time it takes to finish welding a new Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) by 80 percent, which will also shorten combat delivery times. The AMPV, by BAE Systems, is the robotic weld cell’s first customer.
Other contemporary welding technologies have reduced the number of weld passes each vehicle hull must undergo, many of them are too dangerous to be performed by hand. Once the cell is fully transitioned, it is expected to take 70 percent of the heavy welds.
“By using the robotic welding cell technology funded by the Army's ManTech program, we were able to execute and transition the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle program from the Engineering Manufacturing Development phase to Milestone C…the Army’s first new combat vehicle production program in more than 30 years.” said Lt. Col. Ryan Howell.
The next step in the project will be to optimize the use of thicker wire to continue reducing the number of weld passeswhile continuing to improve survivability with improved designs and materials.
“We are still in the learning and debugging phase. Getting to full operational capability will be a process, but we are on track to get there by FY21” said Megan Lynch, ManTech project officer.
About the CCDC
The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC), formerly known as the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM), has the mission to lead in the discovery, development and delivery of the technology-based capabilities required to make Soldiers more lethal to win our Nation's wars and come home safely.
The command collaborates across the Future Force Modernization Enterprise and its own global network of domestic and international partners in academia, industry and other government agencies to accomplish this mission. CCDC is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command.