Non-Contact Metrology In Shipbuilding
Project Participants: Huntington Ingalls Industries – Newport News Shipbuilding
Project Start: February 2016
At Huntington Ingalls Industries – Newport News Shipbuilding (HII-NNS) optimization of the shipbuilding process is not only a focus, it is a requirement. If designing, constructing and providing worldwide fleet support for the Virginia Class Submarine (VCS) program was not enough of an undertaking, HII-NNS is also the sole designer and builder for the US Navy Aircraft Carrier programs as well. To be better equipped to keep up with the high demands of both the VCS and the Aircraft Carrier programs, HII-NNS has implemented a focus on improving the efficiency of traditional practices which provides opportunities for substantial cost reduction of both programs as well. One of the many methods of improving efficiency and reducing cost is by shifting much of the workload to earlier in the construction process. This will allow for the construction and fabrication of key components to happen in the shop, where modifications can easily be made, rather than in the difficult work environment onboard the ship. To facilitate this type of workload adjustment, precise measurements are required to ensure that the components fabricated in the shop meet the stringent specifications of the ship. Though the industry has been able to produce high quality vessels utilizing traditional metrology methods, constantly changing build plans contribute to the need of maintaining and utilizing the top-of-the-line metrology equipment.
The ‘Non-Contact Metrology in Shipbuilding’ project, led by HII-NNS, is focused on identifying standards for integrating laser scanning and projection technology into product lines, and providing Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs) for their utilization at HII-NNS. By providing a clearly defined integration process and detailed procedures of how to best apply and the benefits of emerging technologies, HII-NNS will ensure the efficiency and accuracy of each metrology, and ultimately each construction process.
The ‘Non-Contact Metrology in Shipbuilding’ project will be conducted in two phases, with Phase I consisting of the identification and definition of process requirements, an initial pilot of the legacy process for gap identification, and the identification of suitable applications for non-contact equipment. Phase II will include the development of the various standards used to govern the use and application of various non-contact metrology equipment and a final pilot to verify the applicability of those standards. To support implementation, HII-NNS will implement the final standards into production following the final pilot. The improved guidance provided by the new standards is anticipated to result in an estimated $920K savings per CVN hull and an estimated $385K savings per VCS hull. Additional savings are anticipated be realized through implementation of the standards starting with the construction of the first Ohio Replacement Submarine in 2019.