Whenever a new manufacturing machine is brought on line here, the first questions by visitors usually are: How much does the machine cost and what capability will it enhance?
But with the latest installation of a hollow-spindle lathe, there might be a better question to ask -- How much safer will the machine be for machinists, machine tool operators, and for apprentices?
The Arsenal is currently in the final stages of installing a lathe that will be used for the manufacturing of howitzer and tank barrels. Beyond the enhanced machining capabilities the new lathe brings, there is one significant safety improvement the new lathe has over the 35-year-old machine that it is replacing.
"No longer will our machinists have to step up onto a cable track to adjust the tooling or to take measurements of a barrel," said Frank Salvatore, an Arsenal equipment specialist. "This has been a safety issue for years, but with new technology we are able to greatly mitigate the potential for an injury."