USA employs state-of-the-art technologies and approaches at all of our project sites. We use a formal and proven review process that identifies, analyzes, and tests proposed innovative solutions for safety, field-worthiness, and effectiveness. The following paragraphs highlight some of these innovative technologies.
Digital and Film X-Ray
USA currently uses portable x-ray technology (digital and film) in-the-field to provide an additional layer of safety for site personnel. This technology allows qualified and x-ray trained UXO personnel to determine specific munitions as live, practice, or empty. This determination reduces the number of individual or consolidated MEC disposal events, thereby increasing safety, reducing hazards, time, cost, and environmental impact. Overall, the use of the x-ray can result in a safer, more efficient, and cost effective project.
Field Portable X-Ray Technology
Has been successfully used by USA for the past 16 years, to differentiate between live, practice, and expended munitions in the field. USA owns five X-ray machines (three XR-150’s, one XRS-4, and one Inspector Model 200); two digital receiver units, and three film-based receiver units. In addition to the significant safety impact of eliminating the need for disposal operations, the use of this technology has resulted in substantial time and cost savings to our customers. USA has used this technology on more than 35 projects.
XR-150-kv, Single-Package, Pulsed X-Ray Source for Radiographic Examination
Identifying Munitions Using X-Ray in the Field
2.36” HE Anti-Tank Rocket M6
USA uses robotics to support field operations that may include hazardous or dangerous conditions, greatly reducing the risk to human health & safety. The following are a few examples of robotics that USA employs:
Portable Robotic Crawler System
To safely inspect discharge pipes for MEC explosives contamination, USA’s robotic camera system visually inspects pipelines that may be potentially contaminated with explosives material which may result in removal and subsequent thermal treatment. This system, specially designed for pipes and confined spaces, is cost effective and easily transportable. Used extensively at USA’s former Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant, KS project, USA has robotically inspected more than 6,054 linear feet of pipeline. This capability increases pipe removal production by reducing the need for UXO technicians to manually inspect shorter runs of pipe, and enhances site safety procedures by reducing entry into confined spaces. As a result, the project has realized a cost saving of more than $140,000.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)
UAVs, in the form of drones, have numerous applications to increase safety and efficiency on MEC project sites. USA staffs a Federal Aviation Administration certified pilot to operate UAVs in support of pre-proposal site visits and ongoing projects. The aerial images and videography capability enhances wide area assessment data collection and provides a third dimension in risk analysis. To date, USA has utilized various-sized UAVs in site surveillance, conduct and observation of explosives disposal tasks, and pre-construction efforts, at numerous locations across the United States. The aerial observation capability also provides excellent site security monitoring during explosives disposal operations, as well as unobstructed views of large acreage remediation sites, or those difficult to access, such as cliffs, crevices, and steep slopes.
Additional Examples of Innovative Technologies Utilized
Ruggedized tablets — USA routinely employs Panasonic ToughPad JT-B1 series ruggedized tablets to ensure accuracy of data collection in the field.
Seismographic instrumentation — Used during demolition activities, USA’s Instatel Blastmate III monitors blast induced ground vibration and air over-pressure, and establishes compliance with federal, state and local regulations.