NSRP Approves 11 Ship Production Projects

Tuesday, April 12, 2005
The Executive Control Board of the National Shipbuilding Research Program (NSRP) has selected 11 new Ship Production Panel projects, totaling approximately $756,000, designed to reduce the costs of Navy shipbuilding and ship repair. These relatively short, low cost projects were selected to complement portfolios of larger R&D projects funded through NSRP in responding to industry-consensus priorities and the Navy customer’s research areas of greatest interest.

Second Tier Shipyard Price Competitiveness Analysis

(Business Process Technologies Panel): U.S. commercial shipbuilding is important to maintain and modernize the industrial base for both new construction and repair of military ships and craft. The United States builds less than one percent of ships worldwide. One of the reasons given for the small amount of commercial shipbuilding in the U.S. is the view that ships are too expensive to build here. The U.S. commercial shipbuilding industry is continually asked by its prospective customers why ships are so much cheaper in foreign yards. The purpose of this study is to determine the real differences in costs for ships that could be built in the United States with similar ships that could be built in Europe, at yards and facilities similar to those in the United States.

All-Position Flux Cored Electrode for Welding Copper-Nickel Pipe

(Welding Technology Panel): This project aims to reduce shipyard costs by doubling the productivity of copper-nickel (Cu-Ni) pipe welding in shipyards. Processes will be developed utilizing an all-position flux cored electrode that will effectively replace most of the current welding practices employed in gas-tungsten arc welding and pulsed gas-metal arc welding. Specifically, this new electrode for flux core arc welding will be designed to provide superior out-of-position capability and substantially increased deposition rate over current practices, improved overall productivity in welding 90Cu-10Ni piping in Naval ships and excellent resistance to solidification cracking and ductility-dip cracking. If successful, this new flux cored electrode would have the same outstanding out-of-position capability and high deposition characteristics as the “E71T-1" electrode used to weld steel. With the development of an all-position flux cored electrode for welding 90Cu-10Ni (C70600) piping, the expected improvements in out-of-position welding capability combined with increased deposition rate would potentially double the cost-effectiveness of installing/welding 90Cu-10Ni piping on Navy ships.

High Speed Narrow Groove Submerged Arc Welding (SAW) for Thin Steel Panels

(Welding Technology Panel): The objective of this project is to reduce distortion on complex panel long seams made from thin steel. Narrow groove welding procedures using advanced power supplies, flux copper backing (FCB) and precise root opening (gap) will be used to minimize single-sided, full penetration weld size and heat input on thin steel butt joints. The focus of this effort will be welding procedures for 5, 8 and 10 mm plate to target the most common thin steel applications and demonstrate the potential of the new procedures. Both conventional and advanced tandem SAW power with DC-AC or AC-AC polarity will be evaluated for maximizing travel speed and fusion quality. The current and electrode phase will be developed to control filler melting rate, base metal dilution and bead shape, and minimize heat input. A pre-gap joint preparation will permit rapid fusion of the faying edges, assure complete penetration and minimize the weld size and heat input. The effects of gap of process performance will be assessed for each plate size. The use of bevels to improve weld bead shape and quality will be evaluated to improve resistance to solidification cracking.

Improving the Use of Work Orders in the Shipyard by Reducing Cycle Time and Standardizing the Format

(Systems Technology Panel): A significant amount of effort is incurred in both the acquisition of material and expenditure of labor when a work-order is generated. This project will significantly reduce the amount of non-value added activities found in the work order process by identifying a more efficient, reusable process and developing standardized terminology, templates and software to create and access work orders in the office and on board the vessel.

Mobile & Wireless Expansion of Shipyard Systems

(Systems Technology Panel): The goal of this project is to provide beneficial features and functions for mobile and wireless computing tailored to the needs of ship manufacturers and ship repairers. Mobile devices (PDAs) are currently in operation at various shipyards supporting the automation of labor collection and integration of that data to host systems. This project will add features and functions that will enhance this current state of automation, including a Web/browser interface that will provide the freedom to create a transaction and review information on virtually any PC or connected computing device, and use an assortment of computing devices that support a browser (desktops, laptops, PDAs, Touch Terminals, etc.). Also envisioned is a voice capability that will enable a user to speak into a PDA to create a voice file that will become part of the record in the corporate information system.

Reusing Ship Product Model Data

(Systems Technology Panel): With the advent of full service contracts by the Navy, shipyards are becoming increasingly responsible for the life cycle support of ships, including maintenance and logistics data over the life of the ship. Hence, it is becoming increasingly important for shipyards to efficiently integrate acquisition data with lifecycle support products. In particular, the use of Integrated Data Environment (IDE), mandated for all Category 1 acquisition programs, will serve to collect and configure engineering and design information during acquisition. The shipyards’ cost and performance in these new Navy contracts will depend on the efficient incorporation of this engineering and design information. Previous NSRP projects have developed a data architecture for Integrated Shipbuilding Environment information models, which have been used to exchange design, engineering and production data. A new international standard, S1000D, is emerging as the life cycle support data standard within both the shipbuilding and aerospace domains. The objectives of this project are to investigate and report on the use of the S1000D standard (for technical documentation as well as product life cycle support data) and the feasibility of interfacing the ISE information models; propose the basis of an architecture to transfer ISE product data and PLCS data into S1000D standard format; and provide feedback to the S1000D standards body to ensure better integration. This project also represents the first step toward the integration of engineering and logistics data domains as well as providing a common standard for ship and aircraft life cycle support needs.

Employee Sources & Skills Summit

(Crosscut Initiatives Panel): Crosscut Initiatives Panel conferences and surveys reveal that employee sources and skills are falling behind requirements to replace aging workers and cover workplace turnover in shipyards and throughout industry. U.S. manufacturing is in competition with other industries in the U.S. and in other nations. There is strong demographic evidence of a gap in required skills and interest in shipbuilding and manufacturing in general. This project will organize and conduct a conference that will further connect shipbuilding and repair workforce development and skills initiatives with other national manufacturing and professional-technical education initiatives to achieve a more consolidated understanding and generate a joint action plan. The summit will give the manufacturing industry, regional workforce boards and education providers the opportunity to share new employee needs, common problems and best practice solutions to achieve greater national, regional and local unity. Resulting recommendations will help reduce costs and improve efficiency in shipbuilding and repair.

Internet Enabled Common Parts Catalog Interface

(Product Design & Material Technologies Panel): The Common Parts Catalog (CPC), as implemented by first and second tier shipyards to date, has enormous potential for standardization across the industry. Dissemination of the information that makes up the CPC will allow vendors and shipyards to more effectively interface their systems. An Internet-based CPC interface will allow part information from the vendors and suppliers to be entered directly into a shared area that can be accessed by any shipyard for data retrieval and integration into their CPC implementations. This promotes the sharing of data in a standardized format that is ready for immediate use in existing shipyard CPCs and significantly reduces manual re-entry of data by multiple shipyards. This project will provide vendors a direct interface into the CPC compliant standard for part descriptions, thus relieving the shipyards from the task of raw data entry; provide a central repository for the collection and collation of pertinent part data to the shipbuilding industry; and serve as a neutral collection point to allow shipyards to decide whether to include particular data or not—keeping control of parts catalogs in the hands of the shipyard.

Applying Statistical Process Control to Coating Activities to Assist in Lean Production Implementation

(Surface Preparation and Coatings Panel): One of the key elements of lean manufacturing principles is the reduction of work in progress. This implies getting production right the first time to reduce the levels of re-work or unscheduled work, thus making the manufacturing process lean and efficient. The goal of this project is to identify or develop a software package that will enable application of Statistical Process Control techniques to coatings management processes in shipbuilding and ship repair. Improved process control in shipyard coatings work will reduce re-work and excessive use of paint and abrasives. Yard schedule and budget will benefit, as will the environment.

Applying Lessons Learned to New Building Coatings Selection and Application

(Surface Preparation and Coatings Panel): The Navy is faced with increasing costs of surface fleet maintenance, a situation aggravated by surge demands associated with the global war on terror. Ships are coming back to the U.S. for rapid refits and minimum maintenance, resulting in less than optimal coating selection and application since meeting short vessel turnaround time is paramount. There are opportunities to learn lessons from this and apply them to new vessels to optimize the applied coating scheme in order to gain maximum benefit in through-life costs. The aim here is to assess the needs of coating at new build to minimize life cycle costs for the vessel, while meeting the needs of the new building process and the associated budget restrictions. Benefits include cost reduction through the life of the vessel by identification, management and elimination of repetitive problems. The new procedure will also enable alternative new building specifications to be evaluated and costed, allowing assessment of the impact on through-life maintenance and new building and design budgets. Previous work carried out for NAVSEA has shown that $1 per square foot spent at the design stage can save up to $100 per square foot through the life of the vessel in reduced maintenance costs.

Coordination of Shipbuilding and Repair Industry Response to Environmental Protection Agency Residual Risk Rule

(Environmental Technologies Panel): As part of addressing residual risk requirements for shipyards, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is preparing to conduct site-specific risk assessments of several shipyards. The EPA is likely to begin inputting data into air dispersion and risk assessment models based in part on information obtained from 11 private and public shipyards in the U.S. The results of these model runs will determine if further regulation is warranted to address residual risk from shipyard air emissions. The EPA’s primary focus for the Residual Risk Rule is welding emissions, leading to potential future regulation of these emissions. The EPA has agreed to review emissions data with shipyards before the actual model runs begin. The industry currently lacks the specialized expertise to effectively review these data in the context of their impact on the risk modeling results. Industry also lacks the expertise to analyze and critique the model results. This project’s objective is to ensure that the EPA utilizes valid, representative data and realistic assumptions in conducting the risk analysis and to provide consultation for the industry on the model results. In the event that EPA modeling data identifies any non de minimis residual risks, the EPA will proceed with developing a new regulation that likely will contain either emission limits or work practice standards necessary to reduce individual facility emissions from welding operations below regulatory thresholds. The work done under this project will enable the shipbuilding industry to provide the most accurate data possible on which the EPA can base their regulatory decisions.

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