By: Matt Craig, Director of Crane Community Support for Radius Indiana
Crane originally began as an ammunition depot site to produce and manufacture munitions in 1941, now nearly 80 years later, manufacturing at Crane continues to be prominent economic driver — though the processes and technologies have greatly evolved.
Our entire region has a rich history of manufacturing. Manufacturing makes up 32 percent of our workforce with more than 20,000 people employed in the industry. When one thinks manufacturing, Jasper Engines, Kimball, and General Motors probably come to mind, but advanced manufacturing is thriving at Crane Army Ammunition Activity as well.
Crane Army Ammunition Activity is the second-largest tenant of NSA Crane and employs 700 over people. Crane Army works to safely receive, inspect, store, ship, renovate, demilitarize, and manufacture conventional ammunition, missiles, and related components to support the Army and Joint Force readiness. It occupies over 51,000 acres of land and 4.8 million square feet in storage and manufacturing buildings.
Crane Army’s new Crane Flexible Manufacturing Complex (CFMC) is a multi-million dollar investment currently under construction at the base, and is part of the Army’s modernization strategy to upgrade existing workplaces and increase efficiency. The total site for the complex is around 46 acres with three main, co-located, production buildings and a variety of support buildings dedicated to advanced manufacturing. After renovations are completed, the upgrades will give production lines and projects improved production rates.
The CFMC will initially provide the manufacturing space to service the M1122 artillery round, which processes old conventional munition rounds and reuses the shells to create low-cost training projectiles for the Army. Previously, this type of job had to be completed in several separate areas, and now can all be done at the CFMC. With the entire production process modernized, operations will have a better flow from start to finish. Previously, Crane Army was forced to rely on trucks to move production from one point to another, slowing down completion times and increasing logistics costs.
This type of investment is a testament to the strength of manufacturing in our region and will continue to provide jobs for the skilled workforce that helps drive our economy. Production at CFMC is slated to be fully functional and operational by 2019, and a ribbon cutting will be held when the complex is nearing completion.