Project Participants: General Dynamics Electric Boat
Project Start: February 2008
Recent studies have concluded that Design for Production (DfP) is the single most influential factor to reduce ship production cycle time and costs, as ship design processes are not keeping pace with state-of-the-art manufacturing practices. The production workforce must receive timely, accurate, configuration-managed, electronic data on-demand; meeting their information needs. To this end, this ManTech project focused on two key DfP areas: (1) cost based design drivers and rules by manufacturing shop and design phase, and (2) work cell specific manufacturing best practices and rules as candidates for design standards. The objective was to capture the best proprietary lean manufacturing capabilities, transform them into design standards and cost metric tools, and have them readily available for application during design activities for the VIRGINIA-Class Submarine (VCS) program.
This project investigated DfP standard and cost data models as follow-on activity to the DfP process methodology developed and implemented by another CNST project, DfP(0)-Process Improvement, and integrated into existing processes and tools. It addressed the implementation issues associated with the new DfP process, automated data gathering, and electronic delivery to the design workforce. It also evaluated the savings and accuracy of using standards and cost information relative to today’s design/build practices.
These efforts continue to increase designer/engineer knowledge of manufacturing, work cell capabilities, and what drives cost during manufacture, test, and assembly. Utilizing this knowledge permits product designs which are best suited to current fabrication capabilities, with critical decisions that significantly impact product costs made earlier in the design process, thus enabling reduction of product manufacturing costs. This has been confirmed through metrics on several redesign product efforts.
New technologies are being implemented at General Dynamics Electric Boat in both Groton, CT and Quonset Point, RI sites. Potential savings from DfP in construction costs range from 10-30 percent. While this ManTech project is one supporting element of the overall DfP mission, its contribution is estimated to ultimately reduce VCS production costs by approximately 0.5% or $575K per hull.