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Tube fabrication
6430 Hal Mickel, 402nd CMXG, uses the DeBarr Machine to smooth the end of a piece of tubing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ray Crayton)
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Teamwork yields 'true success' for aircraft

Posted 4/4/2014   Updated 4/7/2014 Email story   Print story


by Jenny Gordon
Robins Public Affairs

4/4/2014 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Teamwork and good old-fashioned hard work resulted in successfully filling numerous backorders in one shop which produces tubes in direct support of aircraft depot lines at the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex.

Due to a shortage of workers and an influx of high-priority tubes that needed to be fabricated in the 573rd Commodities Maintenance Squadron Sheet Metal Manufacturing Flight's tube shop, additional volunteers were brought in from other shops.

Adding a temporary crew of four, which included a machinist, two sheet metal workers and a supervisor, they immediately set to work over a two-month period on a workload of some 900 aircraft tubes.

"At the time, blue streamer tubes started coming, which are priority items. We'd start working those first which would then set the routine numbers back," said Jody Bentley, 573rd CMMXS metal tube maker. "As those kept coming in, the routine jobs kept stacking up.

"We're a small shop, so when the new people came in, we trained them, and they learned quickly how to use the machines," he said. "We worked together well."

The backorders began to be filled in January and were successfully completed over the next two months. A majority of them were for 3/8-inch tubes.

The tube shop creates and inspects completed aircraft tubing assemblies. Metal tube workers select raw tubing materials, cut, and then bend and trim tubes to their correct lengths, attaching fittings prior to returning them to customers.

The shop fills most of its tube orders for F-15 and C-130 aircraft.

Tubes range anywhere from 1/8-inch to four inches in diameter.

Special machines in the shop bend various tubes, which are then read by laser to ensure the proper bend has been created.

Because these tube systems run throughout an aircraft, their sizes can vary depending on their location and function.

"I came down to help not knowing anything about the tubing environment," said Craig Taylor, temporary shop supervisor. "With our scheduler and planner, we worked out a system where we streamlined getting the materials we needed. It's a true success story how they turned things around in this shop."

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