Design for Production 0- Process Improvement
Project Participants: General Dynamics Electric Boat
Project Start: April 2007
Electric Boat Corporation assessed and evaluated a new methodology utilizing “design for production” (DfP) process improvement techniques at their ship construction facilities in Groton, CT and Quonset Point, RI. This project targeted three key areas of the DfP process: cost-based design, design standards/rules, and seamless deliverables.
Navy ManTech funded this two-year, multi-phase effort to ensure the VCS production workforce receives accurate, configuration-managed, electronic data that meets their information needs in a timely manner. This project employs a new knowledge management system and rule-based/cost-based/standardized designs with advanced visualization technology to improve the process for ships’ systems. Research activities have captured and continue to investigate the best lean manufacturing capabilities; transform them into design standards; apply them during design activities; and produce seamless, “on demand” deliverables derived from 3D product models for cost effective manufacturing. The investigation has also addressed implementation issues such as overall process changes necessary to incorporate the new technologies.
Phase I activities focused primarily on process methodology development. These principles were then validated in Phase II via prototype implementation studies. The project culminated with a detailed plan for full implementation, which is currently being carried out by Electric Boat.
As Electric Boat continues to implement, these improved DfP processes will reduce design/engineering and production labor hours and eliminate wasteful steps in the manufacturing process. The resulting technology will provide the design community the design tools that reduce manufacturing, assembly, and testing costs downstream. Project results and lessons learned have been disseminated across the shipbuilding industry, as improvements through DfP processes are not limited to submarines but are applicable to aircraft carriers and other surface combatants as well.