Mission-critical manufacturing on a budget: Five ways air filtration increases efficiency
In a time of uncertain government appropriations, money talks and inefficiency walks when it comes to defense contracting and manufacturing. According to recent articles in DefenseNews, military operations are facing budget cuts across land, air, and sea. Yet mission-critical projects must go forward, regardless of budgetary constraints. Contractors now face the challenge of lowering production costs for their customers — without compromising quality.
Cost-efficient, flexible air filtration is one way defense manufacturers can make the cut for budget-conscious, large-scale projects. From non-vented solutions to retractable enclosures, modular air filtration systems are an effective solution for contractors to address their unique manufacturing challenges.
Here are five ways this innovative technology can increase efficiency and reduce capital expenditure for defense OEMs.
1 — Sustainability
For large-scale manufacturing projects like ship propulsion systems, dedicated workspaces require retractable roofs for overhead cranes and may need costly ductwork and PPE for potential welding, grinding, or spraying tasks. Or the large workpiece can be moved for engineering and manufacturing changovers, but this can mean extra man hours and material handling, plus the risk of product damage during the move. These options don’t exactly add up to lean manufacturing best practices.
But with modular air filtration systems, such overhead costs are dramatically reduced. Less time is wasted on material handling, so employees can focus on the rapid-moving logistics involved with large projects like jets, MRAPs, or submarines. Clean air is brought to the job, rather than reconstructing workspaces around the workpiece. Modular air filtration can be customized for each project, with retractable enclosures that can be folded and stored when not in use.
2 — Flexibility
For defense OEMs, few projects follow a linear progression. Most require multiple engineering change orders for custom models, options, and configurations per consumer demand. Plus, time is money when appropriations are based on deadlines, so flexibility is key to keeping projects on schedule, even when there are unexpected logistical maneuvers.
Modular air filtration provides the flexibility to reduce material handling bottlenecks and workspace redesigns normally required for rapid project modifications. Retractable enclosures enable employees to quickly and efficiently inventory and prioritize interchangeable parts and varied bills of material (BOMs). Workers can safely and quickly set up temporary maintenance locations and complete grinding, painting, or sanding assignments on schedule.
3 — Safety
No one in defense contracting takes environmental stewardship lightly. Clean air is a priority not only for employee safety, but also for avoiding product contamination. If dust or other particulates interfere with electronics or other vital systems, customer safety is compromised during mission-critical operations. Pollutant-free air also ensures EHS compliance while eliminating unnecessary PPE, increasing productivity, and reducing downtime from airborne contaminants.
Modular air filtration systems enable defense contractors to stay EPA, NFPA, OSHA, and UL compliant during all phases of each project, particularly during research and development. Prototyping is based on scientific data and precision engineering, but also includes a bit of trial and error. No matter the tolerance, the matter may not exactly match the specs from the digital model. Metal parts may require welding and grinding to fit — producing dust and fumes. Air filtration keeps workers protected during the entire manufacturing process.
4 — Security
Not every defense OEM project is classified, but most require some degree of privacy. Modular air filtration systems with retractable enclosures can reduce setup labor, which means less time a sensitive project is visible. Modular solutions require just a couple of man hours for installation, so fewer outside personnel are needed at a secured location.
For more classified customers, privacy can be mission-critical. Non-vented air filtration eliminates the need for for large, outside vents, reinforcing security for extra sensitive projects and research.
5 — Quality
Manufacturing for those who serve demands quality, no matter the deadline or budget constraints. The final product must be mission-ready, which means there are no cutting corners when it comes to quality control. During messy sanding or grinding tasks, just throwing on PPE and sweeping away the dust won’t protect components from contamination.
Modular air filtration systems enable contractors to keep entire projects in-house, providing complete QC control, from R&D and manufacturing to maintenance and repair. Plus, air filtration can include our patented taper-draft airflow technology that creates an impervious envelope around the workpiece. The clean airflow aids dry time for finishing and reduces the need for quick-dry agents that can negatively impact quality.
Efficient Clean Air Solutions Equal Mission Success
Learn more about how modular air filtration systems can help defense contractors enable their customers to safely complete their missions by solving personnel, logistical, and support challenges in every project phase.