New Products Make It Easier to Maintain Equipment in Field

By Harold Kennedy

At the 4th Annual Defense Department Maintenance Symposium and Exhibition in Charleston, S.C., several manufacturers marketed products aimed at making it easier for the military services to keep their equipment in good operating order even while on deployment. Some examples:

The Forward Repair System (FRS)–currently in production at Rock Island Arsenal, Ill.–is a maintenance shop on wheels. With an on-board crane, air compressor, 30-kilowatt generator, welder and a compliment of diagnostic and hand tools, the two-person crew is equipped to perform many maintenance tasks.

The FRS often can replace a vehicle’s power pack on the battlefield, said Bill Peiffer, production manager. The need to drag the vehicle back to the unit collection point is eliminated, he said.

The FRS currently is carried by a palletized load system (PLS) truck, permitting it to go anywhere the M1 tank can go and be operating within five minutes. New versions are under construction for use by the Initial Brigade Combat Teams being formed at Fort Lewis, Wash., which will be mounted on Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks-Load Handling Systems (HEMTT-LHS). Unlike the PLS, the HEMTT is transportable on C-130 aircraft.

The Trailer-Mounted Weld Shop System (TMWSS)–built by Power Manufacturing, of Atoka, Tenn.–is a self-contained unit that can do both welding and cutting of metal in remote field locations. TMWSS is "the next-generation Army weld shop," said Howard Lewis, contracting officer at the U.S. Army’s Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command, in Rock Island, Ill. Production of the new shops was scheduled to begin in January, Lewis said.

Like the FRS, the TMWSS can be transported on a C-130. It includes its own diesel engine, air compressor, grinder, drill, vise, welding apparel and consumables, gas cylinders, slide-mounted toolboxes, weld curtains and work lights.

The manufacturer provides 24-hour product support via e-mail and a direct-dial 800 telephone number. It is in the process of establishing an on-line Web site, with operators’ manuals, trouble-shooting procedures and frequently asked questions. Company officials promise 24-hour domestic delivery and 72-hour international delivery of spare and replacement parts.

Mobil Delvac 1, a high-performance synthetic, heavy-duty diesel oil, replaces three kinds of motor fluid, according to Mobil executive Dave Smith. The product–made by Exxon Mobil Corporation, headquartered in Irving, Texas–can be used in automotive transmissions, hydraulic systems and engines, Smith explained.

"With Delvac 1, you can go on to the battlefield with one fluid, rather than three," he said. "That really reduces the logistic footprint."

Delvac 1 also performs well in the rough conditions that vehicles encounter on deployment, Smith said. Because of its relatively high viscosity rate, it provides a better protective film at higher temperatures than conventional oils, he explained. Delvac 1 also remains fluid at sub-zero temperatures, providing rapid cold-engine start ups and warm ups, he noted.

Delvac 1 is recommended for diesel- and gasoline-powered fleet vehicles, including over-the-road and off-road utility and combat vehicles.

Topics: Tactical Wheeled Vehicles, Manufacturing, Manufacturing Technology

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