Defense

June 19, 2012

New season of Army Research Lab show focuses on cost-saving maintenance

U.S. Army Research Laboratory is developing a method of conditioned-based maintenance that saves time, money and lives. Researchers are looking for a more effective way of identifying when a part, like a helicopter bearing, needs to be repaired or replaced.

June 18, the Army Research Laboratory launched the third season of its online broadcast show under a new name, Inside the Lab, with its first two-part series about condition-based maintenance, an age-old maintenance concept that promises to save billions of dollars in Department of Defense maintenance costs.

Inside the Lab showcases tools that give soldiers a competitive edge on the battlefield. The show airs monthly and welcomes subscribers to its YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/ARLTVNews/featured.

Trends show the programming has been popular among older viewers, ages 55 to 64, but this season’s lineup expects to attract a younger audience, the producer said.

“We’re delving deeper into engineers’ and scientists’ stories for a fresher perspective of the work pursued throughout our laboratory,” said T’Jae Gibson, who also writes and hosts the show. “ARL (Army Research Laboratory) has conceptualized many of the devices that are placed in the hands of war fighters. Researchers are charged to foresee technological possibilities 10 to 20 years into the future.”

Gibson talks about the Army’s efforts to curtail the significant cost of vehicle maintenance in the current show. The Department of Defense spends more than an estimated $15 billion a year on depot maintenance, and experts say some of these costs are attributed to replacing parts that don’t need to be replaced.

ARL’s Dy Le, chief of the Vehicle Technology Directorate’s Mechanics Division, highlights how condition-based maintenance, or CBM, is giving the Army a more effective way of identifying when a part, like a helicopter bearing, or a component, like a helicopter tail rotor shaft, needs to be repaired or replaced.

Le said ARL has a record of success advising Army program managers in CBM. He said in one instance, ARL’s analysis led to grounding “an Apache helicopter because of excessively high vibration in the tail rotor section” and “had the aircraft not been grounded, two Soldiers’ lives would have been lost right along with a $15 million weapon system.”

Other episodes of Inside the Lab will explore research leading to CO2 laser fiber that has been used in delicate surgeries around the world; the race for advanced materials and the lab’s push for young women to get excited about math and science.

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory of the U.S. Army Research Development and Engineering Command is the Army’s corporate laboratory, consisting of more than 1,900 federal employees (nearly 1,300 classified as scientific and engineering) and is headquartered in Adelphi, Md. The Laboratory’s in-house experts work with academia and industry providing the largest source of world-class integrated research and analysis in the Army.

For more information, visit www.arl.army.mil or like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ArmyResearchLaboratory.




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