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JMC Commanding General visits Scranton Army Ammunition Plant

Feb 15, 2011

By Justine Barati (JMC (AMC))

SCRANTON, Pa. -- Scranton Army Ammunition Plant may be the Joint Munitions Command's smallest plant in acreage, but this small package packs a major punch. Brig. Gen. Gustave Perna, JMC's Commanding General, toured this unique installation on Feb. 10 to learn more about its unequaled forging mission, how it helps the Warfighter, and modernization efforts to make it more efficient and effective.

SCAAP produces 120 mm and 155 mm diameter projectiles from raw steel stock using long stroke, 400- to 2,500-ton presses. "Scranton is the leading source of large caliber and mortar projectiles," said Richard Hansen, SCAAP Commander's Representative.

It is a government-owned, contractor-operated installation. "The government staff and General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems staff work well together to produce a quality product for the Warfighter," said Hansen.

"The products made at Scranton are actively used in the fight right now. The 120 mm illumination round is in heavy use in Afghanistan. It is used to light up the night and deter insurgents from using the cover of darkness to get to our folks," said Hansen.

In order to increase efficiency and effectiveness of production, SCAAP's key machinery is being modernized.

According to Perna, modernization involves three elements: safety, a quality work environment, and product enhancements. "They all work together," said Perna.

These are the tenets that SCAAP follows in their modernization efforts.

"We recently upgraded our Bliss 3 Press," said Hansen.

The press is a three-component system. There is the furnace that heats the metal billets, the material handling equipment that moves the hot metal, and the press itself that forms the interior and exterior dimension of the projectile.

"We rebuilt the entire system. The equipment was originally manufactured in the 1970s, and it is now upgraded to 2010 standards. The upgraded system is environmentally friendly, requires less unscheduled maintenance, and produces longer run times," he said.

"We also received a new nosing press and completed the installation and runoff two weeks ago," said Hansen. This press puts the nose cone on projectiles using sheer force.

"The new press will increase our manufacturing capability by balancing our four lines and will dramatically cut down on our retooling time. Some estimates state that production could be increased by 15 percent with the new press," said Hansen.

SCAAP has also reduced facility costs through environmentally friendly methods.

"We have a brand new roof on the production shop," said Hansen.

This 2.5 acre roof includes an integrated water collection system, which collects rainwater that falls on the roof. The rainwater is then stored in three 23,000 gallon tanks. The captured water is reused for cooling the production equipment. Sixty-two thousand gallons of water are captured from just one inch of rain, he said.

"This innovation saves the installation on a huge utility bill, which in turn, reduces the cost of producing the product for the Warfighter. It cut down so drastically on our use of water that the water company came to visit, because they thought our meters were broken," said Hansen.

"We are saving in excess of $38,000 a year with the new roof. Everything we do here to increase efficiency is significant, when you can save tens of thousands of dollars a year from just one project, that's huge," he said.

Perna said that modernization is like looking through a kaleidoscope, no matter how you turn it, you get a different view. It is important to see all those different views to make up the modernization picture, he said.

Hansen agrees. He said that it is important to note that SCAAP, an installation the size of a postage stamp, when compared to size of other JMC installations, is completing an important and unique mission for the Warfighter, and is doing it more efficiently and effectively than ever.

Perna also emphasized the importance of a "trained and ready workforce, providing the best product at the best value." This is another area where SCAAP excels.

"Employees here are so happy with the work they do that GDOTS' retention rate is at 99%. We have a multi-generational workforce with sons, fathers, and grandfathers having worked here. Everyone takes pride in what they do to support the Warfighter. They understand who they work for and take a lot of pride in doing the job right," said Hansen.

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