August 19, 2003

$20.5 million R&D investment in U.S. shipbuilding

The Executive Control Board of the National Shipbuilding Research Program Advanced Shipbuilding Enterprise (NSRP ASE) has announced the selection of seven new research projects, valued at some $20 million, as part of the Navy/Industry co-funded portfolio specifically designed to save taxpayers money in Navy shipbuilding and ship repair.

It also announced eight new Ship Production Panel Projects, totaling approximately $500,00

NSRP is a collaboration of 11 U.S. shipyards working with government, industry, and academia to achieve the continuous product and process improvements necessary for the U.S. shipbuilding industry to become internationally competitive, directly resulting in more affordable Navy ships. NSRP is sponsored by the U.S. Navy. The Navy's continued sponsorship of the Program is a reflection of its ongoing commitment to cost reduction in building and maintaining the Fleet.

The seven new projects, valued at approximately $20 million including industry cost share, were in response to an NSRP ASE solicitation released in February. They continue the implementation of the Program's Strategic Investment Plan.

A brief description of each project (listed alphabetically) with a list of participants follows:

Common Parts Catalog (CPC) Implementation: This project will provide full scale testing, refinement and implementation of a Common Parts Catalog for Electric Boat, Bath Iron Works and Northrop Grumman Ship Systems (and also enable future implementation at Northrop Grumman Newport News and National Steel and Shipbuilding Company) that will interface with existing cataloging "best practices," support continuous process improvements, and provide both short and long term cost savings opportunities. These "best practices" are categorized as part data standards, part commonality/equivalency and part data configuration management. The resulting Common Parts Catalog will be applicable to all commercial and military segments of the U.S. shipbuilding and repair industry after successful implementation at the three project shipyards.

The Executive Control Board, exploiting what was recognized as a significant opportunity for enhanced technology transfer industry sharing, and increased savings benefits, made provisions at selection to include additional shipyards not initially involved in the effort. The catalog will provide increased speed and accuracy in information retrieval, reductions in parts through standardization, and enable data reuse by providing more visibility and timely access to the data. A robust search capability will eliminate existing duplicate part numbers and eliminate the generation of new part numbers for components already shown in the Catalog.

Fleet maintenance issues addressed include increased variety of parts to maintain the fleet and visibility of design or construction yard inventory. Electronic part sharing will virtually integrate Navy inventories with shipyards.

Participants: General Dynamics Electric Boat, Bath Iron Works, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, Northrop Grumman Newport News, and National Steel and Shipbuilding Company

Development of ISE Interoperability Modules: This project builds on the interoperability infrastructure and industry-standardizations processes developed by the existing "Deployment of the Integrated Shipbuilding Environment" project, with the scope of work focused on the development of two new modules. The project will use product model data standards to develop interoperable exchanges between various CAD packages for HVAC requirements and develop the interface necessary to deploy a Common Parts Catalog across the shipbuilding industry. This improved interoperability will achieve cost reductions in Navy and commercial shipbuilding processes across shipyards and across the design/build/support life cycle.

Participants: General Dynamics Electric Boat, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, Northrop Grumman Newport News, Gulf Coast Region Maritime Technology Center, Intergraph Corp., Integration Partners, Inc., IBM, National Industrial Information Infrastructure Protocols (NIIIP), - Naval Surface Warfare Center — Carderock Division, SENER Ingenieria Y Sistemas, SIMSMART Inc., and STEP Tools Inc.

Managing the Extended Lean Enterprise: Application of World Class Business Processes to Shipyard Management:
This project builds on the current Lean Enterprise project, which focuses on internal shipyard processes—both on and above-the-shop-floor for naval and commercial shipbuilding and repair. This new initiative expands the focus to the larger value stream, adding interaction with the customer and suppliers. Specifically, it adds Lean implementations in the important shipyard processes of: design/engineering; onboard outfitting and testing; specification materials purchasing; and four material streams (steel, pipe/valves/fittings, consumables, and services). Value stream mapping is used to determine as-is and to-be models for each of these processes. Members of the improved value chain will appear functionally as one large extended Lean Enterprise performing as a fluid organization that can be structurally modified to make radical changes to product speed, quality and cost.

Participants: Atlantic Marine, Todd Pacific Shipyards, Bath Iron Works, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, SUPSHIP Puget Sound, V2R Consulting, P. Jaquith and Associates, Malone Consulting, W&O Supply, Hagemeyer North America, Moran Environmental Recovery and O'Neal Steel Inc.

Developing Lean Enterprise Simulation Exercises for Shipbuilding and Repair:
This project will develop five Lean training modules, each composed of a physical simulation exercise based on a shipbuilding or ship repair process. The modules include presentation materials including instructor and participant guides. These physical simulation tools will include actual applications from shipbuilding and repair and will incorporate the entire supply chain, as opposed to current exercises that focus solely on manufacturing operations. Included in the exercises will be processes representing both shop-floor and above-the-shop-floor activities, and will be designed to demonstrate the impact of Lean on a low-volume and high-variety environment.

Participants: Old Dominion University, Northrop Grumman Newport News and South Tidewater Association of Ship Repairers.

Second Tier Shipyard Design Enhancement Program: This project will leverage the developmental work accomplished in the ISE, Harvest and Material Standards NSRP projects to expand the capabilities of the design software of choice for second tier shipyards (ShipConstructor) in the areas of Common Parts Catalog interface, HVAC, and Piping.

Participants: Bender Shipbuilding & Repair, Albacore Research, Bollinger Shipyards, General Dynamics Electric Boat, Marinette Marine, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, Todd Pacific Shipyard, VT Halter Marine, Alan C. McClure & Associates, Elliot Bay Design Group, Genoa Design, Murray and Associates Ltd., Proteus Engineering, Atlantec Enterprise Solutions, Knowledge Based Systems, Vexcel, Bishop State Community College and University of Southern Mississippi.

SPARS Deploy: This project builds on the business process and infrastructure re-engineering processes developed by the previous Shipbuilding Partners and Suppliers (SPARS) project. The SPARS objective is to create a shipbuilding Virtual Enterprise using internet technology to enhance business interaction between the shipbuilders and their suppliers resulting in significant reductions in cycle time, labor content and material acquisition and management costs. The SPARS team will develop two additional electronic business processes to re-engineer current manual Shipyard-Supplier interactions that are labor intensive, paper-based, error prone and have long cycle times. The new functionality Includes Ship Repair and Engineering Center (SHIPREC) to support rapid material sourcing and buying as is frequently required in ship repair; and, Vendor Expediting which will extract supplier delivery information from Shipyard ERP systems and web-enable the ability for shipyards to post delivery expectations for suppliers on line and for suppliers to confirm delivery dates and/or identify potential issues.

Participants: General Dynamics Electric Boat, Northrop Grumman Newport News, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, Bath Iron Works, Todd Pacific Shipyards, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, NIIIP and IBM.

Wireless Equipment Monitoring and Control System (WEMACS): The WEMACS Project exploits an ongoing baseline wireless system installation project at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard to further research and develop a comprehensive solution for the extensive monitoring, control and utilization analysis of shipyard material handling equipment (forklifts, straddle trucks, cranes, and similar vehicles). The resultant system would monitor equipment location, electronically restrict access to qualified operators, analyze equipment usage, enable wireless transmission of work orders, and monitor certain vital functions. Benefits include reduction of maintenance costs and improved reliability and availability of the MHE by establishing the ability to locate equipment continuously, enhance safety and security by preventing use by unauthorized and unqualified operators, document time and location of major impact incidents, and remotely monitor machinery health functions.

Participants: I.D. Systems, Inc., NASSCO, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, RLW, Inc. and the Applied Research Laboratory at Penn State University.


To support Panel contributions in the areas of improved technology, innovation, networking and knowledge sharing within the industry, academia and Government, the NSRP Board periodically makes funding available for smaller, short-term projects, which lend real value but—because of their cost and duration—are not well-suited for inclusion in the process through which larger projects are funded. The Board noted that their selection task was a difficult one this year as there were many strong project proposals submitted by the Panels, but funding limited the number that could be awarded. The Board recognizes that the Ship Production Panels have been a valuable asset for the U.S. shipbuilding industry for more than two decades and works to support their efforts.

A brief description of each project follows:

Business Case Outline and Commodity Material Standardization Process: The intent of this project is to create a consistent, verifiable business case outline and process that can be applied to any specific situation that requires analyses for cost benefit and investment. Shipyards need a standard detailed business case outline and a repeatable process that can calculate the costs and benefits of making changes. This project will utilize current data and situations as the basis for creating a standard business case outline and process by addressing the problem that vendors of raw stock part numbers (e.g., shapes and pipe) must address - carrying a wide variety of slightly different, but functionally equivalent parts required for shipyard construction projects. Shipyards have cases in which near-duplicate and substitutable parts are used, specified and carried through the supply chain. Many of these parts can be eliminated and engineering changes can be made to minimize the number of raw stock parts and reduce costs throughout the entire supply chain.

Emerging Workforce Development for Shipbuilding: This project seeks to maintain a capable and age-diverse shipbuilding workforce through achieving a better understanding of the interrelated actions of recruiting, educating and training of entry level and job-changing workers, and professional development and retention of current employees. The process of building and maintaining a shipbuilding workforce has encountered a few obstacles in recent years and recruiting of qualified entry-level workers is perceived as more difficult now than several decades ago. A shift of secondary and post-secondary curriculum away from the academic and applied skills, competencies and abilities required of entry level manufacturing-shipbuilding candidates has occurred. Knowledge of and need for new workforce development issues are largely confined to individual shipyards and are not comprehensively shared in the industry or educational community. Best practices of new workforce development from related industries such as heavy manufacturing and steel construction trades are not well understood by shipbuilding professionals. This project will address these issues by gathering and analyzing current information, engaging pertinent stakeholders in conversation, sharing best practices, and exploring new ways that shipyards and educators can help each other.

Ergonomic Practices and Application: This project is intended to position shipyards with a recommendation and response to OSHA's proposed Ergonomic Guideline for Shipyards. This project will include documenting current ergonomic practices and applications at the eight participating shipyards and providing an analysis and recommendation on what makes practical sense in order to achieve reduction of ergonomic related injuries. The project team will build on the accomplishments of the previous NSRP-funded Ergonomic Guidelines project conducted by NIOSH.

Increased Productivity & Waste Reduction in Tank Blasting: This project reflects technology transfer from industrial bridge painting contractors and equipment suppliers to the shipyards. Bridge contractors have realized the savings offered by Recyclable Ferrous Metallic Abrasive (RFMA) for many years and their equipment and process knowledge have evolved to a point where they are ready to be used in a shipyard. The project will integrate the bridge industry procedures and equipment into a cost saving process for the shipyard, resulting in projected savings of 15 to 25 percent in tank blasting costs.

Laser Pipe Welding: This project will determine the weld quality and return on investment that a shipyard can expect by applying recent advances in laser welding technology to pipe welding during ship fabrication. Conventional pipe welding often requires multi-pass welding of beveled joints. Significant cost savings are anticipated due to elimination of multipass requirements while taking advantage of the deep penetration offered by keyhole laser welding, which will enable direct, single-pass butt-welding of pipes with little or no bevel required. Specific laser welding technologies that will be addressed include high power Nd:YAG (up to 6 kW, more than twice the power available for previous NSRP laser pipe welding studies), fiber laser technology and laser-assisted GMA (hybrid) welding.

Modeling of Shipyard Emissions:
The Environmental Protection Agency selected 10 shipyards to evaluate residual risk of emissions based on cancer and non-cancer risks. The project objective is to empower the shipyards with a tool called the Shipyard Risk Model with which they can assess their potential health risks in terms of "risk units" rather than in terms of "emission units." The project, which focuses solely on health risks due to shipyard air emissions, will develop a simple computer model to assess the potential health risks based on the air pollutant emissions and their associated toxicity ratings. Both lifetime carcinogenic ratings and life-time non-carcinogenic ratings will be considered in the model design and development.

Tagout Program Matrix: This project is designed to position the shipbuilding and repair industry to respond to OSHA's proposed standard on maritime lockout/tagout, encompassing programs intended to prevent accidents caused by inadvertent use of equipment and electrical circuits not ready for safe operation. This project will involve the documentation of current practices through the development of a matrix of current tagout program elements used in the eight participating shipyards. Information from a wider sector of the shipbuilding industry will be obtained where possible through interfaces with local, regional and national trade associations. Each element in the matrix will be evaluated on its importance in preventing tagout-related failures.

Tandem Spin-Arc Welding Process: This project seeks to meet manufacturing needs in the small batch-mixed production environment of military shipbuilding with a new arc welding approach that will easily accommodate the multiple parameter-torch setups needed for the full range of fillet weld sizes and dependably provide seam tracking at high production rates. This project will integrate the excellent seam tracking – small fillet performance of Spin-Arc gas metal arc welding (GMAW) with a high deposition trailing GMAW torch to develop a new variant of tandem GMAW. It is believed that the Tandem Spin Arc process will offer the best weld quality, seam tracking performance, and productivity over the full range of fillet weld sizes (3 to 8 mm) for ship construction.

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