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Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany

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Magnet carts save MCA $$$

By Art Powell | | October 16, 2008

Magnets added to the bottom of carts used at the Maintenance Center Albany complex have been cited for picking up debris that otherwise is notorious for causing flat tires on vehicles at the giant facility.

They are the brainchild of the Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany Public Works Branch 

“We call it the magnetic sweeper. The carts are the GEM carts Garrison Mobile Equipment provides to us and we use them when we perform maintenance at the Maintenance Center,” said Jimmy Griffin, supervisor, Facilities Maintenance Specialist, Central Repair Services Team, Public Works Branch, Installation and Environment Division, MCLB Albany.

There are currently five magnet-equipped carts in service at MCA, on duty 24/7 and the magnet for each one costs approximately $200. The mount, which carries the 20-pound magnet under the cart, is fabricated locally.

“One tire can cost hundreds of dollars and since we began using the carts last May, the number of flat tires caused by debris at the Maintenance Center has dropped about 30 percent,” said Griffin.

Griffin cited Jerry Weeks, a former Public Works employee, for coming up with the idea after seeing an advertisement for the magnets.

“He saw the magnets and told us to figure out a way to mount them on the carts. We started out with one cart and found out the best way was to mount it on the axle so it stays the same height above the ground,” added Griffin.

He explained that the carts soon reduced the hazards causing the flat tires in the MCA area.

“We picked up about 15-20 pounds of debris in the first 24 hours,” stated Griffin, a 19-year veteran at MCLB Albany.

“It was everything from pieces of wire, screws, nuts, bolts, small brackets and most of this stuff could cause flat tires,” he added 

Word about the success of the simple program is getting around. Griffin explained that MCA may add magnets to their own carts, and officials had calls from Maintenance Center Barstow, Calif., asking how the magnets were installed and how well they worked with the possibility they may begin using the same idea at their facility.

“I’ve seen a lot of flat tires around here so I wasn’t surprised by how much stuff we picked up when we started using the magnets,” said Mark Burchett, maintenance mechanic, Public Works Branch.

“We’re seeing less and less debris since we began using the magnets, and we clean them at the start of every shift,” added Burchett, from Albany, Ga 

Magnets attached to the bottom of work carts used in an industrial area aren’t intricate or expensive.

“It’s innovation in its most simplistic terms. Hanging a magnet on the bottom of a vehicle that can pick up metal debris throughout the Maintenance Center in the normal course of duty, not needing people to do it, performs a critical need at very low cost,” said Col. Daniel J. Gillan, commander, Maintenance Center Albany. “It reduces hazards, helps prevent flat tires and allows us to continue safe operations.”