WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – The success of any operation, conflict or war relies in part on the ability to move assets from Point A to Point B quickly, efficiently and securely.
Since the 1960’s, the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Packaging Technology and Engineering Facility more commonly known as the Packaging Office, has been helping the Air Force and the U.S. Department of Defense transport assets such as aircraft, munitions, parts, equipment, satellites, etc., by ensuring the assets are packaged in a manner that keeps them safe during travel and while in storage, in any climate or location.
The office has developed a number of specialized containers designed to protect many important assets in transit including MQ-9 aircraft, KC-135 pods, F-15 canopies, antennas, and electronics.
Understanding fragility ratings is an important part of the job.
“Every item you transport including the smart phone in your pocket has a fragility rating, which is the amount of shock it can take and still function effectively,” said Robbin Miller, chief of the Packaging Office. “Surpassing that level will cause the item to be non-functional. So our job is to understand the properties of physics, how to counteract them, eliminate or control them so that these forces do not damage the assets.”
The protective containers designed by the office are made for long term use and storage.
“An asset could be sitting in a warehouse for years,” said Miller. “Munitions in particular could be stored for many years before they are even used, so we have to make sure that the container protects them from the elements so that the day they are needed they will operate.”
To measure the effectiveness of the protective containers, Miller and team run them through rigorous tests of shocks, vibration and world-wide environmental conditions. Environmental chambers, located at the facility, simulate these conditions.
In addition to playing a key role in getting assets from one location to another, the office saves the DOD millions of dollars every year.
“The biggest way we save the Department of Defense money is in cost avoidance,” Miller said. “The containers we design protect assets from damage, and when the assets arrive at their destination they are in perfect condition to support the warfighter.”
With success has come growth.
“We are getting more and more projects every year,” Miller said. “We never get bored with our job because every time we turn around we get the chance to develop something new.”