Factory acceptance testing of the new Blue Grass rocket processing equipment successfully concluded in early June.
“All test objectives were successfully achieved,” said Jeff Brubaker, technical advisor, Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant. “The most notable was meeting our processing objective of 25 rockets per hour.”
During operations, robots will place drained rocket warheads into containers and top them with a special cap. Equipment will crimp the containers to seal them. The robots will then place each container on an Autonomous Mobile Robot, which will transfer it to another automated station where it will be packaged for safe storage while awaiting processing in one of the two Blue Grass Static Detonation Chamber units. These systems were tested during the June event, Brubaker said.
Prior to the reception of the equipment by project personnel, it must be proven to meet objectives through operational testing before it leaves the manufacturer, Brubaker said. The testing took place at the Louisville, Kentucky, manufacturer’s facility and involved two processing lines operating simultaneously, as will occur during the actual destruction of the munitions. Following the system test, random containers were selected for and passed drop and pressure tests.
“Once the equipment arrives, we will start training workers on it,” said Ron Hink, project manager, Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass. “We are creating a new training center to familiarize workers with the operation of this new system. The equipment should ship to us around the middle of July, and we look forward to getting it installed and ready for that training shortly thereafter.”
Removal of existing rocket line equipment that is no longer necessary is ongoing within the Munitions Demilitarization Building now the first nerve-agent destruction campaign has ended.