Ethiopian mechanic in US Marine Habtamu and colleague innovate, their innovation shortlisted

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — For Marine Corps aviators, hydraulics are critical part of performing all the heavy lifting required during aircraft operations.

Marine Cpl. Habtamu Sharew and Lance Cpl. Juan Herreragonzalez know that better than anyone. The two are hydraulic mechanics from Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 29 in Jacksonville, North Carolina. They work specifically on the hydraulics systems.

Not long ago, they entered their idea for streamlining hydraulic line maintenance into the 2016 Marine Corps Logistic Innovation Challenge. Out of more than 300 entries, theirs was chosen as one of 18 to move to the next step. That brought them to an Army research facility at Aberdeen Proving Ground.

“All the birds rely on heavy hydraulic systems for landing gear, for flaps, you name it,” Herreragonzalez said. “This is what we’ve been dealing with, and we came up with a pretty good prototype.”

The Corps partnered with various Department of Defense laboratories, such as the Army Research Laboratory and its sister organizations, the Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center and the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, to leverage 3-D printing and additive manufacturing capabilities.

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Army engineers worked closely with the Marines for a week to devise a 3-D printed flexible tube that can be shaped on site and then brought back to the shop, where a metal tube can be bent in the same exact shape, replicating the tube being replaced.

Lance Hall, AMRDEC mechanical engineer, said the project was a rare opportunity to work with “boots on the ground.”

“We don’t often get to do that. We’re stuck in our labs,” he said. “We’re doing our science projects. So when we’re able to get input and say ‘Hey we need something.’ That’s a little extra exuberance when we do our job.”

“It’s like these guys need it,” he added. “Let’s go out there and make it happen for them.”

Sharew’s weeklong experience working alongside Army researchers gave him some valuable insight about the future of 3-D printing. He predicts DOD will soon be relying on additive manufacturing to manufacture parts as needed.

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“I’m pretty sure we’re going to get there because from what I’ve seen the job that takes us a while with 3-D printing it was done just like that and it’s really amazing,” he said. “I’m pretty sure that’s going to be the future for DOD in general.”

Bradley Ruprecht, ECBC engineering technician and model maker, agreed.

“The big pie in the sky future idea is to have additive manufacturing in the field to help reduce supply chain costs, but also [reduce] the time to get things,” he said. “You can just build it at your forward operating base.”

The purpose of the Marine Corps Logistics Innovation Challenge is to inspire solutions and then mature those ideas into a fielded capability.

“First of all, there’s no bad idea out there. It’s really up to that Marine to take the initiative and take it to the next step,” Sharew said. “With us, we had the idea for a long time, but when the Marine Corps came out with the Innovation Challenge, that was our opportunity, and it paid off.”

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Source: here.

1 Comment

  1. Based on a knocked-down export agreement concluded between National Industrial Engineering Corporation of Ethiopia formely known as Metals and Engineering Corporation (MetEC) and Ursus SA, Polish agriculture equipment producer, MetEC is prepared to take delivery of the first 1,500 tractors from the latter.

    There are five models that are being supplied and they are either completely or partially knocked-down. This makes National Industrial Engineering Corporation AKA MetEC the first company to operate an assembly line for the Polish manufacturer.

    According to Robert Pietrzyk, trade specialist and coordinator of the Ethiopia project at Ursus headquarters at Lublin, tractors installed with 50, 80 and 110 horsepower which are in a complete knocked-down form will be supplied to National Industrial Engineering Corporation AKA MetEC starting from the end of September. These tractors will need as many as 60 assembly processes to put together and set them for use.

    The other two types of tractors, 140 and 180 horsepower tractors, will be in a semi-knocked-down form having a relatively less assembling work. Pietrzyk noted, his company will provide the necessary equipments for the setting up of a proper assembly line in National Industrial Engineering Corporation AKA MetEC and train as well as support Ethiopian professional both abroad in the country.

    “We have already delivered five tractors for presentation in January together with spare parts and equipment for assembly lines,” Pietrzyk added. He furthered the first batch to be delivered for National Industrial Engineering Corporation AKA MetEC have already been manufactured and they are currently being packed.

    Another agreement for the supply of 1,500 tractors is expected to be concluded in the coming year. In addition to this, the tractors intended for Ethiopia and are currently in the production line are also slightly customized versions of their original models on account of the desired specifications and the price that the Ethiopian markets can pay, the coordinator noted.

    The first batch of operators from National Industrial Engineering Corporation AKA MetEC are being expected to come to Poland for the purpose of completing their training hours required for making the assembly line work, the coordinator noted. He added, “We are not only selling our products to National Industrial Engineering Corporation AKA MetEC, we are in fact selling the technology and knowhow”.

    Ursus is relying on this project to decide on its approach of entering the neighboring country markets. If the current steps up to the plate, Ursus wishes to penetrate the regional (Eastern Africa) market through National Industrial Engineerring Corporation AKA MetEC by exporting to the countries in the region.

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