Army’s strategy and solutions for condition-based maintenance

Reliability Branch Mark Bounds, U.S. Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity Marguerite Shepler, U.S. Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity, Reliability Branch

The U.S. Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity, with significant support from the Aberdeen Test Center in Aberdeen, Md., fielded condition-based maintenance boxes, software, templates and thermal instrumentation to the area of responsibility and the National Training Center. This fielding allowed near real-time assessment of vehicle operation, soldier thermal environment (safety) and vehicle health.

In addition, AMSAA is working on predictive maintenance algorithms using both the maintenance and operating histories of vehicles. The onboard system that AMSAA has designed in conjunction with the ATC, Aberdeen Proving Ground, in Maryland collects data from on-board vehicle sensors, data bus, terrain sensors and global positioning system, and analyzes the data in order to determine condition of the vehicle.

During Phase 1 of implementing CBM, AMSAA identified appropriate hardware and software for an engineering development health and usage monitoring system (EDHUMS) and completed initial in-theater installations of data acquisition systems. Phase 2 consisted of developing a robust military-grade EDHUMS, designing a data analysis process, testing EDHUMS in the continental United States training environment and beginning to field EDHUMS in operational units outside the continental United States. AMSAA is currently working on developing an interim solution for the information management process. Phase 3 is in process and consists of identifying a small, inexpensive focused HUMS. The final phase includes integrating proven FHUMS hardware into platforms by original equipment manufacturer at the time of manufacture or into other appropriate proven hardware.

AMSAA has successfully demonstrated hardware and software capabilities, data quality checks and rudimentary usage characterization. Many vehicles have been fully instrumented and data is being captured from more than 80 analog channels, multiple SAE J-1708 bus channels and GPS sensors. These vehicles have run over all APG test courses multiple times, which has provided detailed data for prognostic algorithm development.

ATC and AMSAA have also measured and analyzed data from 20 wheeled vehicles of three different types in Iraq for more than a year. This has provided a significant amount of usage data and operating parameters that will be extremely useful for improving fleet management, engineering design improvement efforts and for optimizing testing. Also, the data is being aligned with maintenance records to identify specific prognostics algorithms.

EDHUMS testing has been ongoing since June. AMSAA has instrumented tactical wheeled vehicles at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif. Data is currently being collected, reduced and analyzed for reporting to fleet managers, engineers and maintainers. Usage characterization and initial versions of diagnostic/prognostic algorithms are installed and are being refined. EDHUMS systems have been installed in the field. In addition, as many as 10 to 20 systems may be installed during the Heavy Brigade Combat Team CBM+ COBRA demonstration.

Some of the analyses that AMSAA has been able to provide include time in gear, fuel consumption, soldier thermal environment, time at speed and some rudimentary terrain identification. AMSAA’s goal is to generate this information using algorithms on-board, which will help reduce the quantity of data that is processed off line. Information can be provided as graphical displays or a two-page vehicle usage summary report which processes the data into a useful information report.

AMSAA continues to meet with customers to further identify the type of information which is needed and how customers would like it displayed. The data flow processes, from acquisition to reporting, are being refined and AMSAA is phasing-in usage, diagnostic, prognostic algorithms for verification and validation as they are developed. AMSAA continues to work with soldiers, industry and other government organizations to develop a robust CBM process which will result in improved readiness and significant logistics cost savings to the Army.

Subscribe to Reliable Plant

About the Author
About the Author
About the Author