WOC STEM Conference Recognizes FRCSW Employee

FRCSW acquisition program specialist Angela Ingram-Smith was recognized as one of four “Technology Rising Star” winners during the 2018 Women of Color (WOC) Sciences, Technologies, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) conference held in Detroit Oct. 11-14.

A Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) employee was honored during the 2018 Women of Color (WOC) Sciences, Technologies, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) conference Oct. 11-14 in Detroit.

Angela Ingram-Smith, an FRCSW acquisition program specialist, was one of four STEM “Technology Rising Star” winners. She received the award for her work within the command’s acquisition planning and procurement organization.

The WOC STEM conference is designed to help and provide women with methods to improve their career and educational goals.

Ingram-Smith began her career at FRCSW in 2012 as an administrative assistant for the Industrial and Logistics Maintenance Planning /Sustainment Department.

She transferred to her current position three years later.

Holding a bachelor’s degree in business management and certification (Level 1) from Naval Air Systems Command’s (NAVAIR) program management in acquisition, Ingram-Smith spends much of her time handling the service contracts and purchases vital to the command’s operations, and also provides training on the use of government credit cards.

Her desire to improve the efficiency of the command’s acquisition procedures led her to target unauthorized commitment/purchases (UAC).

“A UAC is when customers purchase items, supplies or services without authorization to first do so,” she said. “It was an ongoing issue; and because of the increase in numbers of UACs, we identified that we needed to put a process in place to address the issue.”

Personnel who bypass proper procedures for procuring supplies or services often experience prolonged wait times before their requests are resolved.

“The longest UAC to process has been over a year. I have one right now, a request for a service, that we identified in February 2017. It was just awarded this month, October 2018, as the vendor just signed off on the modification.”

“Had it been a properly authorized request for service, this could have been fulfilled in a few months,” she said.

Leading a team of six others, Ingram-Smith designed and created a software program which digitized the UAC process, which is in support of the NAVAIR/Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers Vision 2020 Acquisition Master Plan.

“It took us about six months of planning, and in that process, we decided to add three training classes for our customers,” she noted.

The digitized UAC contains folders of the required documents for procurement and services. Once complete the folders are routed from the originator to the originator’s supervisor for sign-off, and then through the remaining signature chain.

“The program is currently in use here, but we are still in the process of rolling it out and placing the program on SharePoint,” she said.

She added that the program has been shared with other commands, including FRCs East and Southeast.

“I don’t know where they are with the process, but my understanding is they like the program. Of course I don’t know how many unauthorized commitments they have, but they are using this as a model to adapt to their specific needs.”

The digitized UAC program is tentatively scheduled to be loaded onto SharePoint by mid-2019.


FRCSW Tube Shop Supports Vital Aircraft Systems

Sheet metal mechanic Ken Redman uses a computer numerically controlled tube bending machine to bend a one-inch titanium tube to be used on an F/A-18 Hornet.

Fuel and hydraulics are just two of the common systems found on all of the aircraft that are serviced by Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW).

Ensuring the specifications and quality of the tubing used for delivering these and other systems, is the responsibility of the FRCSW tube and hose shop in Building 472.

Much of the work in the shop involves pressure/hydraulic testing and bending of tubes.

The shop uses computer numerically controlled (CNC) tube bending machines manufactured by Eaton Leonard to bend tubes made of aluminum, stainless steel and titanium.

Blueprint data which includes the tube’s overall diameter, thickness, and the bend angle is entered into the CNC which makes the calculations and bends the tube. Once entered, the information remains in the CNC and may be recalled for future use.

Another CNC device, the Vector Laservison tube data center, uses a laser to analyze samples and measure angles – to within one-half degree of tolerance – so tube data may be captured without blueprints.

The angle data retrieved by the laser is analyzed by the machines computer, which in turn, feeds the tube bending machine computers to produce the part.

“Just about all of the data for the F/A-18s has been scanned,” noted sheet metal mechanic Ken Redman, who operates the shop.

“But blueprints for the E-2/C-2 airframes, for the most part, are incomplete. Regardless, we have about 95 percent of those tubes already scanned in. Still, we occasionally need to take a sample (tube) off of an aircraft to scan it.”

Redman said that the Vector machine is also used for quality assurance and to ensure the accuracy of the other tube bending machines.

“When a tube is bent, there’s a degree of ‘spring-back’ to it. So after a tube is first bent, it will go to the Vector machine which plots the points of the bend and compares that against the data. The Vector will calculate the spring-back, make any corrections and send that information back to the bending machine for correction. So the next time that particular tube is made, the correct information will already be stored in the computer,” he said.

The CNC machines can bend tubes up to two inches in diameter, and as thin as 3/16 of an inch. Tube fittings/fasteners as high as two and one-half inches are also installed.

In addition to its fuel and hydraulic systems, Redman said that pressure testing of the tubes to an aircraft’s coolant and life and fire protection systems is also performed.

“When an aircraft is here for maintenance, I’ll get about seven or eight tubes at a time, and a week later, three or four and then it slows down,” he said.

“We now pressure test about 95 percent of the tubes at 6,000 psi, but with the Super Hornets, we need to go upward to about 21,000 psi,” he said.

To better handle the Super Hornets and prepare for future MV-22 Osprey workload, Redman said that the shop will add two new pressure/hydraulic test benches.

Certain Osprey tubes, he said, exceed 6,000 psi in pressure testing requirements.

Though that workload has yet to arrive, Redman said the shop remains busy with the existing F/A-18 and E-2/C-2 work.

“We usually average about 10-12 tubes a week, but we’ve started picking up UH-1 helicopters and have two orders equaling 300 hoses, and an order of 150 aluminum tubes,” he said.