Air Force could save millions through recovery program |
by Brandice Armstrong
72nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
9/30/2008 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. (AFPN) -- A two-year proof of concept project to demanufacture and disassemble condemned jet engine parts for reuse is under way here and Air Force officials are praising initial results.
About 200,000 pounds of material from the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center has already been introduced into the Strategic Materiel Recovery/Reuse program, wherein parts are melted into their original alloy materials and reconfigured into new jet engine parts.
Tinker Air Force Base officials said the program could save the center more than $2 million each year in acquisition costs.
"This process allows us to recover and recycle parts made from specialty metals, such as titanium and rhenium, that were previously sold as scrap and return the material to the Air Force supply chain," said Maj. Gen. Loren M. Reno, the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center commander. "The benefit is reduced manufacturing lead times and price discounts on future component purchases."
According to the program's assessment and opportunity statement, an estimated 60,000 to 80,000 pounds of strategic materials had been identified as "field scrap" during routine overhaul and maintenance operations each month, prior to the introduction of the reuse program.
Lt. Col. Jack Cooley, the 327th Aircraft Sustainment Wing's director of propulsion at Tinker AFB, is the Air Force lead on the project. The pilot program encompasses not only activities on Tinker AFB, but also includes the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz. Efforts are underway to expand the pilot project to include the Naval Air Systems Command at Fleet Readiness Center East at Cherry Point, N.C.; and Fleet Readiness Center Southeast at Jacksonville, Fla., to increase Department of Defense benefits.
Among the benefits are that manufacturing lead-times for new engine parts can be reduced four to six months, and the need to mine for necessary alloy raw materials is drastically reduced. This, in turn, reduces the United States' dependence on foreign markets for these materials by up to 30 percent, officials said.
The program came about as an effort to reduce foreign dependence, preserve U.S. natural resources and reduce energy consumption.
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