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February 2016 Internal Company Newsletter, v7 i2

There’s strength—and smarts—in numbers. That’s WHY TEAMWORK is so important to us. And it’s what’s made a big difference at our Electric Propulsion business, run by the Space Systems business unit (SSBU) in Redmond, Washington, which is rapidly growing--from an average of two Hall Current Thrusters (HCT) per year through 2014, to an average of 40 HCTs per year by 2017.

Redmond SSBU assembled an HCT Readiness Team that partnered with AR’s corporate Continuous Improvement (CI) team to develop a dedicated production flow line. Over the course of a year, the team performed three Value Stream Mapping events and one Kaizen event, mapped the current state, desired future state, developed a detailed executable plan, built the new HCT assembly line and built a flight-like test model.

The result of the team’s effort is a bright, clean, state-of-the-art complete assembly line with point of use tooling. But more importantly, the Cost of Poor Quality (COPQ) and hours per unit now have better target values and production of HCTs is occurring faster than ever before.

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