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By GCN Staff

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

This post was corrected April 21, 2014.

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 experimentation with 3-D printers, which can help equip the center’s overseas detachments when machine parts break and require maintenance. The printers can help get repairs made faster and cheaper by reducing the supply chain. "By using the 3-D printer concept, we can drastically reduce the logistics chain and get the part installed in half the time and at less cost,” Worley said.

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 enjoyed a cost avoidance price tag in the vicinity of $1 million simply from innovating from within. 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 1:07 PM


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