1st CMXS bay gets $100K renovation

Monica Mendoza, Story and photo
Kaiserslautern American

***image1***The discovery of cracks in the floor of the 1st Communications Maintenance Squadron’s vehicle bay led to a $100,000 makeover that transformed the old facility into a high-tech maintenance operation.

This month, the final touches on the newly renovated maintenance facility, where more than 110 trucks and large vehicles are serviced and maintained by the team, were completed.

The facility got a new concrete floor, able to withstand nearly twice as much weight. And, the newly installed state-of-the art vehicle lifts makes this vehicle maintenance shop able to take on bigger maintenance projects, said Isabell Kuhl, 1st CMXS vehicle control officer.

“We’ve put one and half ton trucks on there with no problems,” Ms. Kuhl said, pointing to the new vehicle lifts. “We do major work here now.”

The 1st CMXS is a unique unit, with the mission of supporting engineering and installation units from the states, including 17 guard units and one active-duty unit. The 1st CMXS took over the fire station at Kapaun Air Station 13 years ago, using the mechanical lifts left by the firefighters.

The fire station bunk beds were removed to make room for the administrative office. But the lighting in the bay was never what it should have been, tools were exposed, and over the years work space became cramped and cluttered.

About a year ago, the renovation began. In addition to tearing out the old floor and building a new one, a sealant was added to keep oil from seeping in and eroding the concrete. The project also included enclosing a storage area where $500,000 of tools and equipment is stored.

A computerized tool carousel and mechanical space-saving shelves were installed, which allowed the team to regain 325 square feet of work space in the maintenance bay and cut time spent searching for and maintaining tools by 50 percent, said Wolf Volker, 1st CMXS shop foreman.

“Everything was dusty,” Mr. Volker said. “To move parts you had to wear a mask. Now, the parts are in one location – its good for safety, nothing walks away and, of course, nothing gets dusty.”

Senior Airman Timothy Talkie, 1st CMXS operator dispatcher, said the space saver shelves and a computer-operated carousel changed inventory from jotting down parts and tools on a piece of paper near the open shelves to keeping a computerized log, so that each mechanic knows who has checked out parts and tools.

The renovated work space helps the team track its equipment, keep it clean and usable and saves time, said Capt. LaToya McFields, 1st CMXS flight commander.

“They can do their job more efficiently and effectively,” Captain McFields said. “Everything is more consolidated.”