Trade-Friendly Locating Dimensional Techniques

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Project Participants: General Dynamics Electric Boat

Project Start: May 2014

The U.S. Navy and General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB) have a joint initiative to reduce the construction cost of VIRGINIA class submarines (VCS). The Navy ManTech Program is participating in this initiative with specific focus on improving manufacturing processes for ship construction.

Metrology technologies have dramatically increased their functionality and purpose for modern manufacturing. GDEB has capitalized on this technology by acquiring and using modern metrology systems for various VCS submarine alignments and inspections. But the technologies of choice are currently limited to certified and highly trained tradesmen and engineers. GDEB VCS modular construction (hull sections and hull decks) requires the tradesman’s ability to quickly and accurately obtain metrology coordinate placement data during manufacturing operations, not post-manufacturing inspection and alignments. The goal is to determine the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of GDEB “trade personnel” friendly dimensional locating metrology technology for immediate incorporation into the VCS manufacturing processes.

This ManTech project is divided into two distinct phases, executed similarly to other standard process improvement efforts, where a comprehensive investigation of alignment inspection processes will first be conducted to identify the time and quality drivers to obtain a quality metrology alignment and assembly data points as required. The project team will focus on both the physical requirements as well as the information requirements to prepare a tradesman to perform their work. Upon completion of the initial investigation (Phase I) of the current hull section assembly processes, new technology solutions will be studied and proposed to increase project alignment productivity in Phase II. Phase II of the project will focus on targeted, testing of alternative improvement technologies identified and qualified based upon requirements obtained during the Phase I investigation. While the primary focus of this project is the VCS Program, it also offers opportunities to improve manufacturing processes for the Ohio Replacement Program (ORP).

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