The U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee noted this project's human augmentation technologies and resulting cost and labor savings and urged the Navy to continue to develop these types of technologies. Ingalls photo
A Navy Metalworking Center (NMC) project has been recognized in the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee’s National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017. The report accompanies a bill that authorizes appropriations for military activities.
Under a section titled “Human augmentation technology for industrial operations,” the committee commended the Office of Naval Research Manufacturing Technology Program “for efforts toward understanding the benefits of human industrial operations augmentation technology that improved the health and safety of the workforce and reduces the total ownership cost of Naval assets.”
The NMC-led project team developed manufacturing improvements, namely a portable grinding station consisting of a mechanical arm and versatile mounts, to fabricate the Aegis Destroyer (DDG 51 class) sonar dome, which is challenging to construct due to its complex geometry.
In the report, the Senate Armed Services Committee said it “continues to be interested in technological advances that help reduce the labor component of total ownership cost by increasing productivity, improving quality, and reducing costs associated with workplace injuries related to repetitive motions.”
NMC’s project is expected to reduce labor to fit and assemble DDG sonar dome components and structures across other DDG, LPD, and LHA processes by an average 16%. The labor reductions will save approximately $7.6 million over five years on the ship platforms constructed at Ingalls Shipbuilding. Improvements in environmental, health, and safety conditions for employees (reduced worker fatigue and improved ergonomic benefit) are also expected.