Lead Installation Process Improvement

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Project Participants: General Dynamics Electric Boat

Project Start: April 2012

In support of the increased construction rates of the VIRGINIA-Class Submarine (VCS), the U.S. Navy and General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB) have joined forces to address costs for contractor labor, shipbuilder materials, and government furnished equipment. A goal of reducing lead installation labor hours by 15% and reducing lost work time has been established. The Navy ManTech Program is participating in this initiative with specific focus on manufacturing processes for ship construction.

Lead installation processes have not changed in decades, resulting in higher non-recoverable cost expenditures through lead material waste, energy consumption, equipment wear and other costs. The purpose of the Lead Installation Process Improvement project is to identify, review and select processes to improve current lead installation procedures. It is the goal of the project team to reducing man hours, improving lead installation efficiency, and minimizing or eliminating hazardous work procedures for lead shielding installation.

GDEB will execute this project in two phases. Phase 1 includes requirement identification, present process identification and mapping, a market study, future state determination, resulting gap analysis, solution determination and prototype down-select. Phase 2 will concentrate on conducting prototype evaluations and creating an implementation plan with a validated business case. It is estimated that this project will result in a savings of $277K per VCS hull and 3,000 man hours/hull, and minimize hazardous waste streamlines.

Findings from this project will be applicable and beneficial to construction activities at other major shipyards and easily extended to commercial and other combatant platforms.

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