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GENERAL DYNAMICS CASE STUDY

LIMA, OH, USA

COMPANY BACKGROUND

General Dynamics Land Systems is a global leader in the design, development, production, support, and sustainment of tracked and wheeled military equipment.

General Dynamics Land Systems’ innovation has resulted in increased survivability, greater firepower, unmatched mobility, and enhanced battlefield effectiveness made possible by capabilities and equipment prepared for whatever challenge the military faces worldwide.

WHY GENERAL DYNAMICS CHOSE BLASTONE AND A ROBOTIC SOLUTION

General Dynamics Land Systems in Lima Ohio, has the iconic job of refurbishing and upgrading armored tanks and personnel carriers for the US military. Part of this refurb is a complete sandblast and re-paint of the vehicles, through a hi-tech painting facility.

General Dynamics firstly identified the need to increase the throughput of the blasting facility to keep up with market demands. Several options were identified, including identically placing blasting facilities to what they currently have. However, the more feasible option was chosen… automate their blasting, increase speed by 4x and remove the need for additional manual labor – in an already tight labor market.

Researching of blasting robotics suppliers led to General Dynamics choosing BlastOne as their solution partner with Blastman Robotics for the blasting application.

PROJECT OBJECTIVES

  • Increased production demand

  • Limited capacity

  • Increasing labor costs

SOLUTION

BlastOne went through a design build process with General Dynamics, resulting in selection of an automated blast booth with a Blastman gantry-mounted 8-axis robot, with the capacity of supporting up to two large blast nozzles.

The Blastman gantry-mounted 8-axis robot can integrate accordingly with the material handling solutions on which the military vehicles are located to allow the automated blasting to exceed greater than 95% of the surface area on which the parts are operating.

For abrasive recovery, the solution included a full under-floor recovery system, to allow 100% of the steel grit used to be automatically captured and recycled.

For material handling, BlastOne designed a heavy-duty floor grating to allow the existing material handling carts and workpieces to drive anywhere in the blastroom chamber. This saved time and money in the project.

To save floorspace, generally the design incorporated roll up rubber doors to the full height of the blastroom. This meant that they did not need to allow for any door room into the facility as the door was vertically retracting.

“We are pleased with the Blastman robotic solution through BlastOne. Production results have been outstanding. We have moved from a cycle time of 12 man-hours down to less than three hours. Specifically, manual blasting touch-ups in the booth have decreased from 12 hours to 20 to 30 minutes.”

RESULTS

In conclusion, General Dynamics increased their blasting productivity by 4x. This means that they can significantly increase the revenue through this plant by 4x – should the rest of the plant generally sustain the increase in production.

Blasting, surely the red-headed step-child in any facility, now unquestionably boasts the latest automation and productivity. The production team can blast 95% of an armored vehicle in 3hrs with the robot, and manually touch-up the remainder in 20-30 minutes.

Furthermore, this project was delivered from conception to completion during the first 12 months of a worldwide pandemic – truly a remarkable project.

Project Summary by the Numbers
1. 25’W x 50’L x 21’H Blast Booth with full floor abrasive recovery
5. Heavy-duty roll up rubber door
2. 38-Axis Gantry Mounted Blastman Robot with 2 large Blast Nozzles
4. Heavy-duty floor grating system to allow simple material handling
3. Blast Cleaning Speed of 2,500ft2/hr per robot
6. Large Blasting Equipment to support robotic blasting and manual touch up
General Dynamics Case Study

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