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By GCN Staff

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'Innovation lab' puts Air Force brain power on DOD-wide issues

As difficult fiscal times have senior Defense Department officials struggling with balancing budget cuts, sequestration, furloughs and force-shaping initiatives, the Air Force Technical Applications Center is offering some creative solutions of its own. AFTAC commander Col. Chris Worley assembled a team of technicians and scientists in an innovation lab that spends 10 percent of its time finding creative solutions for Air Force problems.

One of the lab’s achievements involves the use of 3-D printers, which can help equip the center’s overseas detachments with essential materials. The printers have allowed machine repairs faster and cheaper by reducing the supply chain. They have eliminated the need to place an order for a part and paying to have it shipped.

In a second success story, AFTAC's machine shop personnel teamed with fellow seismologists and computer technicians to systemize requirements for short-period seismometers. The project will allow the center to limit its dependence on outside vendors by modernizing the equipment in its own shop. 

The innovation lab has saved the center $1 million so far. Worley said he wants AFTAC link up with the Air Force Research Lab in the future to help advance mission capabilities.  

Posted by Mike Cipriano on Jan 30, 2014 at 9:14 AM


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