Monday, February 13, 2012

ECBC's Advanced Design and Manufacturing Acquires New Facility, Prepares for 2012 Move

As a part of initial infrastructure initiatives that began in 2005, ECBC Engineering’s Advanced Design and Manufacturing (ADM) Division will be moving from their current home at the 3500 block of the Edgewood campus to Downer Hall. With this move the entire ADM Division will be consolidated under one roof.

“The plan is to move ADM into Downer Hall first and then work to transfer the non-surety environmental testing capabilities to the Hall,” said Bill Klein, Associate Director of Engineering.

The catalyst for ADM’s move to Downer Hall originated out of a larger comprehensive Engineering Infrastructure Initiative-Campus Plan effort, crafted in 2005 to create an engineering campus. The plan was a response to the lack of space and capability limitations due to facility restrictions. The campus plan was originally intended to consolidate all ECBC product development and assessment assets into two modern, state-of-the-art facilities, providing additional capabilities for an expanded workload, in support of the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense (JPEO-CBD).

At the time when the plan was designed, product development functions were scattered across Edgewood in 18 different facilities, and product assessment functions were divided across 12 facilities. The customer base for these functions had expanded dramatically following 9/11. The total number of JPEO-CBD Joint Project Managers (JPM) had increased from one to eight. Dollar-wise, the product development and assessment program grew over 100 percent from 2004 to 2009, and space needs for personnel and equipment skyrocketed accordingly. The cramping space was affecting staffing decisions and impacting the ability to effectively meet customer requirements.

“Additionally, many of the original facilities could not be modified due to their current condition, creating operational inefficiencies by having to move from building to building for different project phases,” Klein

As a part of the first steps in the Engineering Infrastructure Initiative, Engineering leadership generated requirements for two Military Construction Army (MCA) facilities: a modern facility for non-surety testing and a state-of-the-art product development facility. However, once submitted to the U.S. Research, Development and Engineering Command, the proposed MCAs were unable to gain the needed forward-momentum due to other initiatives—such as U.S. military oversea-operations and the Base Realignment and Closure changes— taking priority.

While the MCA facilities were unable to gain traction, a new opportunity for infrastructure development presented itself through the BRAC in 2006 – Downer Hall became available. Standing at 289,000 square feet, Downer Hall was previously the home to the Ordinance School Wheel and Track Automotive Department.

“We started talking to the Aberdeen Proving Ground garrison to negotiate a possible transfer of the building to ECBC Engineering.” Klein said.

The final requirements in the proposed building transfer between ECBC and the garrison included Engineering’s withdrawal of the MCA projects and the agreement for Engineering to turn in an amount of square footage roughly equivalent to Downer Hall. The square footage to be turned over to the garrison equates to more than twenty different buildings of space, all of which will be officially turned over to the garrison following the completed transfer of ECBC’s product integration activities to Downer Hall.

“Creating a brand new building would not have been cost effective. Repurposing a building like Downer Hall fit better within the budget plans and created the needed options for Engineering to sustain our customer work,” Klein said.

As a means to illustrate the potential repurposing of Downer Hall, a team of ADM division members under the direction of ADM Division Chief Mark Schlein created three-dimensional computer aided design drawings of the facility, describing how the building will be divided amongst the functions.

“Right now the ADM division is spread out across several buildings,” said Schlein. “Downer will allow us to consolidate and integrate into one facility. Tight integration allows people to work closer together, allowing the division to move quickly and efficiently with the best possible outcome.”

Schlein said the new building will help decrease safety risks and allow space for new equipment, such as laser cutting and an additional water jet. The initial steps of ADM’s move into Downer Hall will happen in FY12, with plans for a full transition within the next several years. Currently, the needed assessments and preparations are underway to ensure the new facility can properly handle the additional equipment.

“ADM will have three-quarters of the new facility and the other part is for the Product Test Branch. Consolidating the product integration functions under one roof really rounds out the lifecycle process—ADM does design and manufacturing and the test teams perform the needed product evaluation,” Schlein said. “All together that is a comprehensive picture of product development —a combination that will allow the directorate to work together to solve problems for the Warfighter in a more efficient and effective


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