Pantex High Explosive Pressing Facility operating at an all-time high
AMARILLO, Texas - For more than 58 years, the Pantex Plant has manufactured high-explosive charges for every weapon in the nation’s nuclear stockpile. In all those years it had never pressed 1,000 parts in a single year, but Pantex exceeded that number in Fiscal Year 2023 to set a new record for the plant.
“During the Cold War era, the most parts pressed at Pantex was 152 in a month, and that was utilizing three presses,” said Lennon Mings, High Explosives (HE) pressing engineer. “Our team was able to accomplish this utilizing only one press.”
In 2016, Pantex took occupancy of the newly-built High Explosive Pressing Facility (HEPF), a building which allows HE inspection, machining, staging, and HE radiography to take place in a single modern facility. Not surprisingly, the HEPF took a few years to ensure all of the state-of-the-art equipment worked as designed for start-up and safe operations.
In late May, a second press was finally repaired, and the HEPF pressing team was able to utilize both presses for the first time in more than 6 months. Due to their improvements and efficiencies, the HEPF team were able to press more parts per day – another record set by the team.
The HEPF team’s successes are directly linked to their efforts in productivity, safety, and quality. Regular inspections of equipment and products ensure the state-of-the-art equipment is in safe working order.
“With the help of many organizations such as Maintenance and Facility Management, we’ve proven that the facility design and process drives efficiency, improves worker protection, and creates a quality product,” Jimmy Ramirez, HE Manufacturing pressing senior manager, said.
Now that the HEPF is fully operational and all presses are performing as designed, Pantex will be able to sustain the pressing production needs in order to provide HE parts with the appropriate lead time to support all Weapon Modernization Program production at Pantex and meet deliverables directly supporting global security for the nation.
“Meeting our FY 2023 deliverables to our Department of Defense customer in a safe and secure manner is of the highest priority and this achievement paves the way for us to meet these goals now and into the future,” said Jason Armstrong, Pantex NNSA Production Office Manager.
“HEPF has truly exceptional and dedicated people who take pride and ownership of the pressing operations,” Jimmy Ramirez said. “These changes and the dedicated team at the HEPF are what has allowed us to deliver as promised and will continue to set new record highs for pressing HE parts in the future.”
Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC operates the Pantex Plant, located in Amarillo, Texas, and the Y-12 National Security Complex, located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, for the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration. Bechtel National, Inc. is the lead member of CNS; minority members include Leidos, Inc.; ATK Launch Systems, LLC; and SOC LLC. Pantex and Y-12 are key facilities in the U.S. Nuclear Security Enterprise, and CNS performs its work with a focus on performance excellence and the imperatives of safety, security, zero defects, and delivery as promised.
Office (806) 573.6032
Cell (806) 236.2826