Innovation funds propel 92nd LRS, save AF money

  • Published
  • By Airman Anneliese Kaiser
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

The 92nd Logistics Readiness Squadron was recently awarded innovation funds to pursue a state-of-the-art oil analyzer to improve vehicle maintenance flight operations and save the Air Force approximately $35,000 per year.

The idea was first presented at Team Fairchild’s Inland Spark Pitch competition June 2019, and although it wasn’t one of the winning ideas, the squadron still received funds due to the product’s features and potential savings.

The Micro Lab 40 Series oil analyzer has the ability to check oil quality to mitigate potential unnecessary routine oil changes, predict equipment failures to prevent future damage to vehicles, and save money and man-hours.

“The oil analyzer uses a clean-oil sample and compares it to one we get from a vehicle,” said Staff Sgt. Kurt Hatch, 92nd LRS main shop assistant noncommissioned officer in charge. “The machine does an analysis and measures different metals, carbon count and other particles inside the fluid; based on that reading, the machine will tell us if the oil is still good.”

The 92nd LRS’s innovative idea accumulates an estimated cost savings of $35,000 a year by extending the life of oils throughout its 140-vehicle fleet. Beyond examining the quality of the oil, the analyzer can also detect early warnings for major problems.

“Let’s say we have a vehicle that’s under warranty; we pull an oil sample and the analyzer indicates there is a major issue for that component,” said Master Sgt. David Fernandez, 92nd LRS vehicle management superintendent. “We can take the data down, give it to the manufacturer and say ‘Hey, you need to take care of this,’ and because we have this kind of data, they honor it.”

Fairchild’s Logistics Airmen noticed this asset in civilian companies and were inspired to incorporate it because of its efficiency and potential to save money.

“When we look to civilian counterparts, we automatically understand that their goal is to expend the least amount of money to get the job done,” Fernandez said. “We are in a day and age in our Air Force where we are trying to save money and trying to do more with less. It only makes sense to look at our civilian counterparts to try and get that same response out of our equipment, technology and people.”

Team Fairchild continuously empowers Airmen innovations to build a faster and smarter Mobility Air Force, and utilizing Air Force innovation funds to acquire newer, better tools is another step forward in saving Airmen time and Air Force money.