Chapter IV. Technology Development
Army Science and Technology Master Plan (ASTMP 1997)


T. Manufacturing Science and Technology

1. Scope

The Manufacturing Science and Technology (MS&T) area focuses on technologies that will enable the industrial base to produce reliable and affordable materiel for the soldier with enhanced performance parameters in a reduced cycle time. The technologies in MS&T include processing and fabrication, manufacturing engineering, production management, design engineering, enterprise integration, integrated product and process development, and flexible manufacturing systems capable of addressing both high and low volume dual-use production. The interrelationships between all these technologies are illustrated in Figure IV-T-1. MS&T addresses the needs of the soldier by deriving requirements from three thrusts: acquisition and sustainment driven needs, pervasive industrial base needs, and science and technology needs and opportunities. Potential projects based on these needs are prioritized according to their relevance to TRADOC Operational Capabilities Requirements (OCRs) and their significance to the successful attainment of Advanced Technology Demonstration (ATD) and Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) objectives.

Figure IV-T-1. Relationships Among Integrated Process Design Tools and Flexible Manufacturing Systems

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The MS&T Program focuses on three subareas:

2. Rationale

Defense acquisition strategies reflect a significant reduction in weapon systems development and production programs. The emphasis within DoD and the Army continues to be on upgrading and modifying existing systems while continuing to support the underlying doctrine of developing technologically superior weapon systems. This environment requires new processing and fabrication technologies and new manufacturing philosophies (flexible, lean, agile) in order to economically produce a wide variety of products in lower volumes. Army MS&T must develop and transition the technologies required to make weapon systems affordable both during materiel production and over the system life cycle.

3. Technology Subareas

a. Advanced Processing

Goals and Time Frames

The Advanced Processing subarea focuses on processing science and technologies that will lead to the production of affordable components with consistent and reliable properties. Emphasis is on process maturation and the development of technologies that can be implemented to control manufacturing processes.

The Army is focusing on the following advanced processing technology efforts: development of manufacturing processes for 2nd Generation Infrared Focal Plane Arrays (IRFPAs)/Dewar/Cooler Assemblies (FY95-98) which provide technology capability for the Multisensor Aided Targeting Suite, Target Acquisition ATD, Hunter Sensor Suite ATD, and Rotorcraft Pilot's Associate ATD; development of automated testing (FY97) and development of manufacturing processes for Uncooled Infrared Technologies (FY97-00) which have the potential technology for insertion into the Generation II Soldier ATD and remote Sentry ATD; development of optical manufacturing processes for optics manufacturing for spherical lenses (FY98-05) which pervasively support a variety of ATDs that utilize optical components; demonstration of an Adaptive Process Controller for the Resin Transfer Molding process for airframe structures (FY96-99); fabrication of thick composite parts (FY97-99) and insitu sensors (Smartweave) which will impact the Composite Armored Vehicle (CAV) ATD.

Other pervasive efforts include demonstration of integrated workcells for missile and munitions seeker assemblies with associated process control systems (FY99); development of laser-based optical prototyping system for titanium parts (FY98); casting process for Beryllium Aluminum (FY97; development of micro electro-mechanical systems (FY98); development of processes associated with flexible continuous processing of propellants and explosives using a twin screw mixer/extruder (FY96-97); demonstration of advanced processing of solid thermoplastic elastomer gun propellants utilizing in-process rheology control (FY98); development of improved machining, grinding, and inspection processes for precision gears (FY97); development of processes to improve manufacturing of fiber-optic cables; development of coating systems for engine components; and development of advanced nonmetallic rechargeable battery with current application on SINCGARS radio.

Major Technical Challenges

The major technical challenges for improving processing and manufacturing technologies include increasing performance while decreasing size, weight, and life cycle cost.

Specific challenges:

b. Manufacturing Engineering Support Tools

Goals and Time Frames

Manufacturing Engineering Support Tools are essential to improve design, process analysis, prototyping, and inspection processes for manufacturing components and systems. Current Army efforts include developing production engineering tools which will assess product producibility and manufacturability based upon analysis of CAD drawings (FY96); integrating rapid prototyping system with production engineering tools to reduce product development time (FY98-00); developing advanced integrated manufacturing for missile seekers and munitions (FY96—Far-Term); and using Integrated Product Process Development (IPPD) to develop processing technology and producibility strategies during the earliest stages of production development. This latter activity is supportive of the EFOG-M ATD, and the PGMM, RFPI, and Precision/Rapid Counter-MRL ACTDs.

Major Technical Challenges

The major technical challenges for developing Manufacturing Engineering Support Tools include the development of design and analysis tools for assessing product producibility and manufacturability; developing rapid prototyping tools; and advancing manufacturing technologies such as CAD/CAM/CAE and inspection. Specific challenges include the following:

c. Advanced Manufacturing Demonstrations

Goals and Time Frames

The advanced manufacturing demonstrations incorporate best manufacturing practices and integrated product and process development to merge innovative concepts and manufacturing technology into a system-level approach to integrated manufacturing. Army MS&T is currently conducting an industrial base pilot demonstration using the Longbow Apache Fire Control–Mast Mounted Assembly as the demonstration article (FY95-97). A Battlefield Manufacturing Center (BMC) demonstration is being planned for completion in FY99. The BMC would communicate repair needs from a deployed position to manufacturing engineers located elsewhere; the engineers would model the repair using CAD/CAM systems and transmit the repair instructions to machines in the field. A planned demonstration pilot for millimeter wave missile seekers (FY97-FY99) will provide for affordable/flexible manufacturing and design of these missile components.

Major Technical Challenges

The results and observations of industrial pilots indicate that implementation of enhanced business practices combined with technology insertion can significantly reduce cost, increase product quality, and ultimately develop the capability to produce product in a lot size of one. The major challenges associated with advanced industrial practices include identifying, adapting, and implementing best manufacturing practices; identifying and implementing the appropriate tools for IPPD; and incorporating the changes into an enterprise’s culture.

4. Roadmap of Technology Objectives

The roadmap of technology objectives for Manufacturing Science and Technology is shown in Table IV-T-1.

Table IV-T-1. Technical Objectives for Manufacturing Science and Technology

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