ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT

Project upgrades mine plows for Soldiers

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Story by Jennifer Bacchus on 05/02/2019
ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- Last year, Anniston Army Depot began a program to remove and upgrade the tines on mine plows.

According to Joey Edwards, branch chief for the ABV/JAB Production Planning Branch, the original configuration for the plow had fixed tines which, after a certain amount of wear, would begin to warp.

The new tines have interchangeable tips. This enables the Soldiers to change the tips when they begin to show signs of wear, rather than having to replace the entire mine plow or all the tines.

"Anniston was chosen for the replacement project because of both the depot's familiarity with the equipment and welding expertise," said Bill Forge, assistant product manager for the Product Management Office, Bridging, PM Force Projection, PEO CS&CSS.

Before ANAD's welders could begin work on the mine tine replacement project, they had to be certified for the procedure, which uses K-joint configuration.

"It's a two-man process one to heat the components and one to weld," said Corey Jenkins, a depot welding leader. "Currently, we have three welders certified for the process."

The welding itself is time-consuming and must be done in stages.

Using fixtures made by Pearson Engineering, the welders remove the old tines then bevel both edges of the mine plow at a 45-degree angle, what the welders call a double bevel.

"We clean that up by sanding and grinding it," said Daniel Rice, an ANAD welder.

Placing the new tines on the plow requires additional fixtures, which the welders developed to hold all nine tines in position.

"We have blocks we tack welded onto clamps to hold the tines straight for welding," said Rice.

Employees tack weld each tine to the plow in four places before pre-heating all the components and welding the tines to the plow.

The welding process sounds simple, but it's a time-consuming process where each step has to be performed perfectly.

Eighteen welding passes per tine ensure the parts have the strength to perform their task as part of the mine plow.

Three days after welding is complete, the parts are testing for cracks using magnetic particle testing, which draws iron oxide into any cracks too small to see.

"We have a good crew of welders," said John Duncan, a depot welder supervisor, calling them the component parts A team.

Currently, ANAD is working through 70 mine plows, which are to be upgraded and sent to the field a few at a time.

According to Forge, current plans are to only upgrade the existing plows. Future production will have this change incorporated by the plows' manufacturer.

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