Setpoint Systems Inc., an industrial automation integration firm, has been selected to modernize the back-end manufacturing process for the .50-caliber ammunition cases at the Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK) Lake City Army Ammunition Plant (LCAAP). Setpoint continues to provide lean automated equipment to LCAAP that will increase plant efficiency, increase output, reduce costs and radically improve product quality.
For the past 60 years, the LCAAP has produced ammunition cases for the U.S. armed forces using manufacturing equipment originally built in the 1940s. The U.S. government and ATK (the private company who manages the plant) realized that the time had come to modernize this manufacturing process.
Setpoint gave ATK the perfect modernization solution through “lean” manufacturing. Lean manufacturing is based on the Toyota Production System (TPS) methodology, which breaks manufacturing processes down into multiple, compact work cells rather than using the enormous manufacturing lines common in the 20th century. Setpoint is incorporating leading-edge technologies to provide quality and accuracy in each ammunition case.
“We’ve been providing lean manufacturing systems since 1992. We take the leading edge technologies and design a system that will make their process better in every way – safer, more efficient, less expensive and higher quality. We’re excited to help LCAAP modernize and move toward a lean manufacturing environment,” said Clark Carlile, Setpoint’s vice president of sales and marketing.
Setpoint’s solution for LCAAP involves identical but independent work cells. Each work cell can manufacture all the required products, but the work cells are smaller, easier and faster to maintain than current processes. The new system will increase production uptime by 90 percent.
The lean work cells reduce part handling and part transportation, which reduces the risk of damage and errors to the ammunition. Greater automation saves ATK labor costs and improves worker safety. Most importantly, Setpoint’s solution incorporates in-process inspection and error-proofing to improve the quality of the overall product. This enables LCAAP to produce more reliable ammunition for the soldiers who ultimately use it in combat.