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Maintenance automation effort saves time, costs

Draven Lee, 526th Electronics Maintenance Squadron, removes coils from an automated winding machine at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Sept. 9, 2021. The 526th EMXS replaced its process of winding and forming coils by hand with automated equipment in order to save time and money while improving product quality and shop safety. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

Draven Lee, 526th Electronics Maintenance Squadron, removes coils from an automated winding machine at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Sept. 9, 2021. The 526th EMXS replaced its process of winding and forming coils by hand with automated equipment in order to save time and money while improving product quality and shop safety. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

Matthew Noorda, right, and Michael Sherman, 526th Electronics Maintenance Squadron, operate automated winding equipment at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Sept. 24, 2021. The 526th EMXS replaced its process of winding and forming coils by hand with automated equipment in order to save time and money while improving product quality and shop safety. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

Matthew Noorda, right, and Michael Sherman, 526th Electronics Maintenance Squadron, operate automated winding equipment at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Sept. 24, 2021. The 526th EMXS replaced its process of winding and forming coils by hand with automated equipment in order to save time and money while improving product quality and shop safety. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

Matthew Noorda, 526th Electronics Maintenance Squadron, prepares an automated forming machine for operation at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Sept. 24, 2021. The 526th EMXS replaced its process of winding and forming coils by hand with automated equipment in order to save time and money while improving product quality and shop safety. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

Matthew Noorda, 526th Electronics Maintenance Squadron, prepares an automated forming machine for operation at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Sept. 24, 2021. The 526th EMXS replaced its process of winding and forming coils by hand with automated equipment in order to save time and money while improving product quality and shop safety. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

Matthew Noorda, 526th Electronics Maintenance Squadron, prepares an automated forming machine for operation at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Sept. 24, 2021. The 526th EMXS replaced its process of winding and forming coils by hand with automated equipment in order to save time and money while improving product quality and shop safety. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

Matthew Noorda, 526th Electronics Maintenance Squadron, prepares an automated forming machine for operation at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Sept. 24, 2021. The 526th EMXS replaced its process of winding and forming coils by hand with automated equipment in order to save time and money while improving product quality and shop safety. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah – The 526th Electronics Maintenance Squadron, part of the Ogden Air Logistics Complex and responsible for the maintenance and overhaul of airborne generators, replaced its process of winding and forming coils by hand with automated equipment in order to save time and money while improving product quality and shop safety.

Airborne generators supply all electrical power to an aircraft in flight. Some aircraft can have up to five generators.

The acquisition of four new machines has reduced the time and cost to produce coils nearly in half while achieving more consistent products and better ergonomic conditions for the squadron’s technicians.

“When a generator comes in to our shop, we tear it town, inspect it, and repair anything that’s bad,” said David Woodward, 526th EMXS Airborne Generator Shop flight chief. “Most of the time that involves something being rewound which has typically been our longest process.”

Woodward said while a technician still sets up, operates and monitors the new equipment, the variances of speed and tension along with the repetitive motions performed during the manual process are eliminated.

The automation ensures consistent tension during winding which controls the critical resistance of the finished coil. Uniformity during the forming process makes reassembly easier.

The process to acquire the equipment was roughly a seven year process that involved researching equipment, working with engineers, procuring funding and sending technicians to work with the manufacturer of the customized equipment.

“This modernization initiative ensures we are providing the best product with speed and cost in mind while improving the quality of our products without compromising safety,” said Woodward.