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Improved Pipe Cutting / Beveling Processes On Board Navy Ships to Save Labor and Injuries


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Optimized onboard processes for large diameter pipe cutting / beveling will improve safety and reduce labor in confined work conditions. US Navy photo


The equipment used to perform onboard pipe cutting/beveling during ship and submarine construction and overhaul operations is intended for use in open environments and not the confined working conditions on Navy ships. The Navy Metalworking Center (NMC) is leading a Navy ManTech project with Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) and Ingalls Shipbuilding (Ingalls) to develop an improved onboard pipe cutting/beveling process that will enable reduced labor requirements and safer working conditions.

For large, thick-walled piping (3-inch diameter or greater, schedule 40 or 80), large, heavy portable equipment or handheld cutting/beveling tools are required. Both of these methods place a physical burden and/or ergonomic strain on the workforce that could result in worker injuries and down time. To alleviate ergonomic issues, a multi-person operation is utilized, resulting in non-value-added labor construction costs.

This NMC-led Integrated Project Team (IPT) will evaluate the current onboard pipe cutting/beveling operations at both NNS and Ingalls to establish a baseline for concept development. Using this information, the IPT will develop concepts for improved tooling and fixtures. Prototype tools and fixtures will be developed and evaluated in a simulated mock-up, and the most promising solutions will be refined for demonstration and implementation in the shipyard. Additionally, a final design package will be created and business case analyses will be performed to support Ingalls’ and NNS’s capital expenditure requests. The project results will be implemented on VCS and CVN new construction as well as CVN Refueling and Complex Overhaul at NNS and DDG 51, LHA, LPD, and NSC new construction at Ingalls starting October 2017. The total projected five-year savings are $3.5 million as a result of the reduced labor for all hulls.

The IPT includes the VCS Program Office; NNS; Ingalls; Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division; and NMC.

For more information, contact:
Mr. Robert E. Akans
Senior Technical Director