Crane Army produces hand sanitizer to support warfighters

Two Crane Army Ammunition Activity employees mix ingredients for a modular hand sanitizer production line to replenish the DOD’s stockpile and alleviate stress on the commercial hand sanitizer market. Always ready to adapt to the needs of the U.S. Army and Department of Defense, Crane Army’s mission is to provide conventional munitions support for U.S. Army and Joint Force readiness. (Mallory Haag/Crane Army Ammunition Activity)
June 01, 2020

Crane Army always adapts to the needs of the warfighter and the Department of Defense in order to achieve its mission, with no exceptions being made in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, CAAA began conceptualizing a hand sanitizer production line in order to replenish the DOD’s stockpile and alleviate stress on the commercial market for hand sanitizer. After a few weeks, the line had been developed and installed. Though the line is different from typical products manufactured at Crane Army, their workforce was able to meet the need all the same.

“Let’s face it, COVID-19 is everywhere you turn right now and it really helps our team to know we are doing something to help,” Crane Army project engineer Dave Peel said. Peel, who worked closely on developing the line’s structure, added, “We’re all really excited to be a part of this.”

Within a few weeks, the Crane Army workforce had developed a hand sanitizer production line that was modular, allowing it to be taken apart or changed and capable of producing 2,000 gallons of hand sanitizer a day.

“Creating the line was just like what we do every day,” Peel said. “We put together lines like that quickly and thoroughly and we’re good at it.”

In order to make sure that the line would produce quality material, a development team reached out to private sector hand sanitizer manufacturing companies. With the help of these experts, Crane Army was able to swiftly assemble a line that uses the baseline ingredients necessary for effective hand sanitizer — isopropyl alcohol, glycerin, hydrogen peroxide and purified water.

“Our test run went exactly the way we thought it was going to go,” said Peel. “We had no surprises.”

The hand sanitizer line gives Crane Army and its employees an opportunity to support the U.S. Army while easing the burden on the private sector healthcare supply chain.

“We are able to be self-sustainable and meet the need of the DOD without taking from the public hand sanitizer inventory,” CAAA Countermeasures Commodity Manager Trish Staggs said. Staggs helped lead the line’s development team and emphasized the ability of all the team members’ involved. “We can meet just about any challenge that is given to us.”

The line remains able to adapt to changing requirements in response to the coronavirus and the workforce is eager to contribute to the U.S. Army’s fight against coronavirus.

“We didn’t start this process because it was easy to do,” Jason Gay, a production commodity manager, said. “We are addressing a need out there and the team is excited to tackle it.”

Crane Army Ammunition Activity produces and provides conventional munitions in support of U.S. Army and Joint Force readiness. It is part of the Joint Munitions Command and the U.S. Army Materiel Command, which include arsenals, depots, activities and ammunition plants. Established Oct. 1977, it is located on Naval Support Activity Crane.