Cavity Access Machines, often called CAMs, inside the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant were upgraded to allow for efficient destruction of 4.2-inch mortar rounds containing mustard agent.
“The addition of the ICAMs allows PCAPP to process mortars rounds in the main plant simultaneously with destruction operations at the Static Detonation Chamber complex,” said Walton Levi, site project manager. “Destroying mortars in the main plant and SDC puts us on track to complete agent destruction by September 2023.”
The ICAMs, shorthand for Improved Cavity Access Machines, are part of the Munitions Washout System in the Agent Processing Building, which will remove burster wells to access the mortar body cavity and remove mustard agent using a low-pressure wash and vacuum system.
In the original PCAPP design, the destruction of the mortars would have required a cutting process to drain the mustard agent, but ICAMs now will allow mustard to be removed with a vacuum, making the process safer according to Levi.
A team of PCAPP employees traveled to Kentucky, home of the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Plant, to visit CRG Automation, where the ICAMs were developed and tested. Eleven units have been delivered to PCAPP; three are at the plant’s nearby Training Facility.
“Our folks completed the installation and assembly of the ICAMs,” said Kim Jackson, plant manager. “They completely took charge of the Factory Acceptance Test, made recommendations and took action to improve the entire process.”
The first step in getting the ICAMs operational is to receive the necessary permit approvals and authorizations from CDPHE and to teach the robots the various steps using special software coding.
“That’s what we’re doing now,” said Wendell Savage, training simulation engineer, PCAPP Training Facility. “We’ll have a team in full Demilitarization Protective Ensemble ready to go into the area to teach the robots the new code using a teaching pendant, which looks similar to an iPad.”
Savage said this is the first-time instrumentation and controls technicians will be teaching in full DPE.
The ICAMs will be used in the destruction of a portion of the remaining mortar rounds while destruction of mortars in three SDC units continues. Earlier CAM units were used in the campaigns to destroy 155mm and 105mm projectiles at PCAPP.