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Engineer’s planning generates new machining systems for complex

Video of the components of a 5-axis milling machine being delivered at Robins AFB. Steps include removal from the truck, transporting the machine into and through the machine shop and locating it in position for operation.

Forklift unloads truck

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- A contract forklift operator lifts a 5-axis computerized numerical control machine off a flatbed truck for the 402nd Commodities Maintenance Group at the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, Jan. 13, 2021. The 5-axis milling machine was one of eight 5-axis systems replacing obsolete systems. (U.S. Air Force photo by Joseph Mather)

remote drive tractor pulling a machine

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. – Contractors guide a 5-axis computerized numerical control machine into building 140 for the 402nd Commodities Maintenance Group at the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, Oct. 16, 2020. The 5-axis milling machine was one of eight 5-axis systems replacing obsolete systems. (U.S. Air Force photo by Joseph Mather)

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --

The 402nd Commodities Maintenance Group in the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, has received new computerized numerical control machining systems to replace machines that have been around for more than three decades.

Men measuring floor
ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Scott Mayfield, right, and Micah Graves, left, both 402nd Commodities Maintenance Group mechanical engineers, with the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, measure the distances around a 5-axis computerized numerical control machine at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, Jan. 13, 2021. The arrival of the 5-axis system was the culmination of more than eight years of planning with 13 economic analyses for 18 pieces of equipment valued at over $48 million. (U.S. Air Force photo by Joseph Mather)
Men measuring floor
Engineer’s planning generates new machining systems for complex
ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Scott Mayfield, right, and Micah Graves, left, both 402nd Commodities Maintenance Group mechanical engineers, with the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, measure the distances around a 5-axis computerized numerical control machine at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, Jan. 13, 2021. The arrival of the 5-axis system was the culmination of more than eight years of planning with 13 economic analyses for 18 pieces of equipment valued at over $48 million. (U.S. Air Force photo by Joseph Mather)
Photo By: Joseph
VIRIN: 210113-F-ED303-1011
The CNC milling systems make aircraft parts out of aluminum for the WR-ALC aircraft sustainment mission.

Scott Mayfield, 402nd Commodities Maintenance Group mechanical engineer, said CMXG has received six 3-axis systems, a 3 and 6-axis lathe, and three of eight 5-axis milling machines.

The acquisition process for new machining systems was not easy, said Mayfield.

“The arrival of the 3 and 5-axis machines is the culmination of more than eight years of planning,” he said. “I started the machine acquisitions back in 2012. I determined a need to replace all of CMXG’s aged, worn and obsolete CNC machines.”

Mayfield had to identify what systems needed to be replaced.

“I went on several trips to numerous companies in the private sector,” said Mayfield. “This was to determine what machines they were using, the machine reliability, availability, maintainability, company processes and training.”

During his trips he gathered valuable information.

“I used the data collected from the benchmarking trips, as well as part geometries and materials to determine the machines that best fit CMXG’s requirements,” said Mayfield. “I was able to group the machines into three categories, 5-axis, 3-axis and lathes.”

With this information, Mayfield prepared his documents.

tractor pulling machine
ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Contractors use a remote guide system to maneuver a 5-axis computerized numerical control machine through building 140 at the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex for the 402nd Commodities Maintenance Group at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, Oct. 16, 2020. The 5-axis milling machine was one of eight 5-axis systems replacing obsolete systems. (U.S. Air Force photo by Joseph Mather)
tractor pulling machine
Engineer’s planning generates new machining systems for complex
ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Contractors use a remote guide system to maneuver a 5-axis computerized numerical control machine through building 140 at the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex for the 402nd Commodities Maintenance Group at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, Oct. 16, 2020. The 5-axis milling machine was one of eight 5-axis systems replacing obsolete systems. (U.S. Air Force photo by Joseph Mather)
Photo By: Joseph
VIRIN: 210113-F-ED303-1005
“I wrote 13 economic analyses for 18 pieces of equipment valued at over $48 million, in the first five years” said Mayfield. “I didn’t just want to replace the machines, but also wanted to improve how CMXG’s machine shops operate.”

Mayfield provided justifications to purchase the new systems.

“I wrote two in depth justification and approval documents for sole source acquisitions for the 5-axis and the 3-axis machines based on standardization and duplication of costs,” said Mayfield. “The justification and approval was approved and funds were sent to the Defense Logistics Agency-Aviation for acquisition.”

The process did not end with the acquisition of new systems.

“Several projects were submitted to the maintenance support group for site preparation,” said Mayfield. “This involved removing the old equipment and installing new utilities at each of the new machine locations.”

Even the floors needed reinforced, said Mayfield.

“I worked with the machine manufacturers and their subcontractors to cut and pour new machine foundations, as well as install the new equipment,” he said.

With the old equipment removed and the building renovation completed, the new milling systems are currently arriving and being put in place.

“I have worked on this project for three years,” said Micah Graves, 402nd CMXG mechanical engineer. “It has been a lot of work between the removing of old equipment, preparing the sites for the new equipment, and now installing the new machines.”

Graves and Mayfield’s work has paid off as their plans came together.

“I know Scott Mayfield is thrilled to see the light at the end of this tunnel,” said Graves. “This allows Robins to efficiently perform the depot maintenance, getting the airplanes off the ground and back to the fight in a timely manner.”