MxD partners with Rock Island Arsenal for modernization program

May 19, 2022
The partnership aims to assess, develop and pilot modern manufacturing initiatives.

MxD has launched the Rock Island Arsenal Modernization Program, created to assess, develop, pilot and implement a common set of tools to modernize legacy manufacturing and maintenance facilities at Rock Island Arsenal-Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center (RIA-JMTC). This partnership was made possible through the support of US Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) and the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS). 

The partnership consists of eight projects, totaling more than $5 million in funding opportunities, to be completed within a 12-month period. These projects are considered pilots with the potential and intention of being implemented not only at RIA-JMTC but also at other Department of Defense facilities across the country, per MxD. 

“This partnership puts the benefits of digital manufacturing to work for the direct support of the US warfighter,” said Chandra Brown, CEO of MxD. “Through our work with RIA-JMTC, we will be able to pilot solutions that can be implemented at other DoD facilities, scaling these improvements beyond Illinois for a national impact.” 

Each project has a unique focus area as follows: 

CNC Machine Health Data Collection will illuminate and help optimize equipment readiness in a high-mix, low-volume, specialized manufacturing setting. This will include the procurement and installation of sensors on CNC machines that communicate over a wired network in RIA-JMTC. This is a pilot installation of up to five machines. 

Industrial Control Network (ICN) Modernization, Wi-Fi will analyze the existing ICN, ports and machinery within the facility. A network map will be developed and machine connectivity to the existing network will be determined. Once a network and machine capability map is developed, the contractor will install approved Wi-Fi access points using hardware pre-approved by the Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM). 

Machine Status Dashboard will allow RIA-JMTC to collect and display current and historical status of data capable machines in the facility. Data will focus on on/off/standby/busy/offline status. This project will not address machines that do not currently have data transmission capability, and all data will be stored locally at RIA-JMTC. 

At-Machine Part Quality Inspection will reduce the detection time of quality issues and subsequent rework costs associated with defects. The contractor shall develop a part-quality dashboard system that will collect, store, and display the desired part inspection data points. The system shall also produce a physical quality report compatible with existing RIA-JMTC reporting requirements. 

5G Private System Implementation will design, procure, install, configure, and test a private, mid-band, unlicensed spectrum 5G system for the RIA-JMTC facility; with coverage of up to 15 remote radio units. The system design must include cybersecurity considerations. Quotations should also include facilities upgrades necessary for the system installation and training for RIA-JMTC personnel to operate and maintain the system. 

Flexible Training Platform and Initial Content will facilitate the training and education of RIA-JMTC workers on job relevant subjects such as digital manufacturing and cybersecurity. The content will also include courses, instructions, and lessons on how to operate the new smart manufacturing solutions implemented throughout this program. 

Robotic Painting System Scoping design and simulate a digitally enabled robotic painting system for RIA-JMTC. The solution must accommodate high mix/low volume as well as have part recognition, part-orientation mapping, and automated paint head tool pathing. The contractor will produce a complete technical data package to define the system. 

NX to Creo Migration Cost Analysis quantify the level of effort required to transition RIA-JMTC from Siemens NX to PTC Creo. The study shall include costs of all software required, labor to convert files from NX to Creo formats, and the necessary training to be provided. 

With the exception of CNC Machine Health Data Collection and Flexible Training Platform and Initial Content, all projects described above must be capable of operating without internet access with all software and data on-premises and residing on the RIA Industrial Control Network intranet. 

“The breadth and utility of the projects we are undertaking with MxD will materially increase the arsenal’s capabilities,” said Ed Flinn, director of advance manufacturing at RIA-JMTC. “The ability to manufacture, maintain, and overhaul various ground systems and associated components in a more efficient, effective, and affordable manner will pay dividends to Rock Island Arsenal and other arsenals and depots across the country.”