HomeNewsArticle Display

Transportation Management Office supports nuclear monitoring improvements

Tech. Sgt. Timothy Kavanagh, noncommissioned officer-in-charge of product support for the Air Force Technical Applications Center, Patrick AFB, Fla., explains to Chief Master Sgt. Frank Batten, command chief of Air Combat Command, how he designed a crate to better ship, house and store AFTAC's precision seismic equipment that is used to monitor worldwide nuclear activity.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Susan A. Romano)

Tech. Sgt. Timothy Kavanagh, noncommissioned officer in charge of product support for the Air Force Technical Applications Center, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., explains to Chief Master Sgt. Frank Batten, Air Combat Command command chief, how he designed a crate to better ship, house and store AFTAC's precision seismic equipment that is used to monitor worldwide nuclear activity. (U.S. Air Force photo by Susan A. Romano)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFNS) -- When members of the only Defense Department agency charged with monitoring nuclear treaties discovered shipped equipment was not being accurately accounted for at forward supply points, they took to the drawing board to devise a solution.

Airmen from the Air Force Technical Applications Center here were determined to solve negative inventory trends, so they sketched out a conceptual prototype the old-fashioned way – with pen and paper.

One aspect of the nuclear treaty monitoring center’s global mission is to gather seismic data to detect underground nuclear activity. The center uses seismometers positioned throughout the world to accomplish that mission. In order to perform routine maintenance on their precision equipment, AFTAC Airmen rely on what’s called a winch mast assembly that is used to install, troubleshoot, remove and replace seismometers that sit in boreholes up to 500 feet below the earth’s surface.

When the assembly, with its multiple parts and pieces, is hoisted out of the borehole, it’s either placed in storage, shipped back to Florida for maintenance, or repaired on site. Over time, many of the parts were being separated from the main assembly, which ultimately caused inventory, shipping and maintenance issues.

So a team of AFTAC logisticians got together to figure out how to solve the problem. Tom Lehnerz, chief materiel manager and a supply expert with the 709th Support Group’s logistics flight, spearheaded the effort. Once he and his team had a viable concept, they built a prototype, modified it a few times based on inputs from depot and field technicians, and came up with a workable solution.

“We noticed there was an issue with inventories of our tilt mass assembly and realized our equipment wasn’t being accurately accounted for at forward supply points. With some brain power, some trial-and-error tests, and a lot of ingenuity, the team developed a process that should result in a $20,000 cost savings for the Air Force,” said Lehnerz.

“A prototype is worth a thousand meetings,” said Tech. Sgt. Timothy Kavanagh, noncommissioned officer in charge of product support. “That’s why we opted to go straight to the drawing board to diagram out exactly what we needed. We worked closely with the 45th Space Wing’s woodworkers from their Transportation Management Office who deal with shipping crates on a daily basis to help us go from concept to reality."

According to David Paynter, 709th SPTG logistics flight manager, the crate the team developed will decrease maintenance preparation time by 50 percent, improve inventory accuracy of $40,000 worth of precision equipment and reduce annual inventory time by 50 percent.

“We received tremendously positive feedback from our remote seismic station operators at several of our overseas sites as well as from our technical schoolhouse in Texas after we completed field implementation,” said Paynter. “We showcased it to the commander and command chief of Air Combat Command when they visited AFTAC, and they seemed quite impressed with the team’s ingenuity and innovativeness. Any time we can save the Air Force money while simultaneously improving the process, it’s a job well done.”

To date, Lehnerz’ team has built 11 crates and nine of them have been shipped to AFTAC’s overseas operating locations.

“As we continue to collect and gather feedback from the detachment chiefs at the OLs, we will build additional assemblies to meet their needs,” said Lehnerz.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
A sleigh & reindeer weren't available, so #Santa, Mrs. Claus & the #elves arrived at McGhee Tyson Air National Guar… https://t.co/qfwDWgPpIj
Innovative #Airmen put C-5M Super Galaxy to the test during an Aeromedical evaluation. https://t.co/OvgJiq9ZK4 https://t.co/LPVU57YvYi
The #Airmen deployed to the #380AEW fabrication flight are known as the #AmericanChopper of aircraft maintenance.… https://t.co/EMRM7mLsYe
.@TeamEglin's #F35s & @JBLENews' #F22s flew 140+ sorties & fired 13 missiles to culminate the first post-… https://t.co/P4lKXqZZf2
.@CivilAirPatrol joins the #AirForce's Physiological Episodes Action Team in solving problems, tests sensors to hel… https://t.co/1gPJYmVOzS
RT @USecAF_Official: On this day in history, Operation Linebacker II, a massive bombing campaign in N. Vietnam began. It lasted for 11 days…
"You can't complete a mission if you don't have a map." -- Staff Sgt. Arich Bosshar with the 379th Expeditionary Ci… https://t.co/heHkgyXs2q
RT @SpaceX: SpaceX team called a hold due to an out of family reading on first stage sensors. Vehicle and payload remain healthy; next laun…
It took a lot of teamwork to get here! Watch the first #GPSIII launch #LIVE starting at 9:11 a.m. EST at… https://t.co/Z2ltZ5P5Ac
A new training partnership forms as Colorado #Guardsmen & the 557th Flying Training Squadron team up for the solo f… https://t.co/6YLe7cvku4
Four hugs a day for maintenance, 8 hugs a day for survival & 12 hugs a day for growth is the mantra for this… https://t.co/776OMdWPQJ
A #KC135 from the @NJNationalGuard sits on the flightline @jointbasemdl Dec. 8. The Stratotankers allow the wing to… https://t.co/XDwsFCFRzM
Former @AFThunderbirds pilot continues Wright Brothers' legacy, earns the 2018 #WrightBrothers Memorial Trophy.… https://t.co/igez0t997T
The Ogden Air Logistics Complex, & specifically the 573rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, completed an #F16 modifica… https://t.co/EcnpyzMpTp
Here is the latest edition of #AirForce Week in Photos! Which one is your favorite? https://t.co/5IsahN5vuK https://t.co/dqhZAC0jxN
An #Airman looks on as an F-15E Strike Eagle prepares to launch Dec. 4, 2018 @NellisAFB, Nevada. The 757th AMXS par… https://t.co/E8nmg19ou4
RT @LockheedMartin: If you like GPS, thank your @USAirForce. We're excited to have built their faster, more secure GPS III satellite - laun…
Happy #WrightBrothersDay! 115 years later and we are still continuing their legacy of #innovation. #Aviation https://t.co/DG5xmqd4rV