Wednesday, August 5, 2015

This thing is broke!

At one point in my carrier I was managing a contract repair facility for an Army training system for the Viper light anti-tank weapon. When I first got to the field site there were lots of complaints that the Viper training system didn’t work.

After finding almost every trainer turned in tagged as not working passed all the functional tests and did in fact work properly, I discovered that the method of sighting the device to the laser transmitter was very crude and inaccurate. The real problem was that the system was not shooting where the sights were aimed.

I made a cradle that held the device on a precision fixture used for aligning the optics of a different training device and aimed it at a field test device that indicated how much higher or lower and left or right the laser was pointed.

Once the tester read “0 by 0” the sight decal could be applied and the system did indeed shoot where it was aimed and the complaints stopped. Well, sort of stopped. They stopped at my field site but since we were a training center, troops from many other Army posts came to us for training. When they returned home the questions of why that same trainer could get simulated kills at my site but not at their home station became an issue.

The real lesson was that the customer thought the training device was not working when in fact the laser was working fine, just not aiming where the operator intended. Listen to your customer for symptoms but not necessarily for causes and they become a valued part of your troubleshooting process.

No comments: