Arsenal unveils $61 million energy upgrade

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The Rock Island Arsenal's plating shop is one of the oldest and busiest places in the factory.

Nearly every piece of metal moves through here before becoming a part. It takes a lot of energy.

"It's very expensive to have this capability within an organization," said Col. David Luders, JMTC commander.

That explains the ceremonial shoveling of coal on Wednesday. A partnership between Honeywell and the Army will take the plating shop into the future.

Improvements will cut energy use by more than a third. That will save more than $5 million each year.

"Significantly improve their productivity, the efficiency and their competitiveness," said Kevin Madden, Honeywell vice president. "It's a great win for the home team."

Renovations help the Arsenal to meet a presidential order to reduce energy consumption. It's good for the environment and employees. The huge coal pile outside the factory could eventually become extinct.

"If you have a more effective or efficient process, it just allows you to be more competitive than the commercial industry," Col. Luders said.

While the plan saves energy, it's also about enterprise. This is another way that the Arsenal can prove its versatility during challenging times.

The entire plating shop will eventually have this sleek, safer set-up. It makes the factory more valuable and saves jobs.

"If it resides with the community, we can do business with the community," Col Luders said.

Business to keep this plating shop busy for years to come at the Rock Island Arsenal.