National Center for Manufacturing Sciences News and Views from the World of Manufacturing
Welcome to The CTMA Connector, a monthly newsletter designed to provide news and ideas about the Commercial Technologies for Maintenance Activities (CTMA) program. The CTMA program is a joint Department of Defense/National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (DoD/NCMS) effort promoting collaborative technology development between industry and the DoD maintenance and repair facilities. This newsletter highlights ongoing projects, serves as a forum for promoting new project ideas, and provides other news of interest to the program. Our goal is to stimulate your participation and solicit your input.
Feel free to submit items for the newsletter as well as any suggestions to make it more useful. More information about the program can be found at http://ctma.ncms.org/.
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The CTMA Annual Partners Meeting is now primarily a virtual event from May 21-23. The meeting will be broadcast to participants and will consist of three keynote speakers, the deputy commanders panel, a technology showcase event, and the DoD Joint Technology Exchange Group panel. For those who can travel, NCMS will host the event and will be the site of the technology showcase. Companies participating in the on-site showcase will also be given 20-30 minutes on-line to expose their technology to interested participants. We will start at 1300 on 21 May, and conclude at 1200 on 23 May. We are in the midst of developing the virtual capability, and registration for the event will be available soon. Please plan on participating in the exciting new virtual event!
Technology Showcase at US Navy Yard, Washington D.C. We are going to salvage a vestige of the original Partners Meeting at the Navy Yard by holding our CTMA Technology Showcase on-site at the Navy Yard on Tuesday, April 9. All NCMS member companies are invited to the Navy Yard to participate at the tabletop event and present your capabilities to the engineers and managers located at the Navy Yard. Stay tuned for event updates.
Deadline is March 8 to enter the 2013 $100,000 NCMS/OSD Maintenance Challenge:
We are looking for new CTMA project ideas with strong impacts on the DoD maintenance community. Ideas submitted will be reviewed by a panel of judges and the winning team will receive $100,000 as part of a CTMA project. Last year, several of the projects submitted to the Maintenance Challenge were funded by the CTMA program.
CTMA Project Highlight: Human Augmentation System (HAS) Technology
This project conducted a productivity assessment to evaluate the benefits of applying a Human Augmentation System (HAS) to assist workers as they used a heat induction tool to remove special hull treatment (SHT) from a submarine’s exterior. The study addressed both quantitative measures of productivity (residue removal rate) and qualitative measures of productivity (worker fatigue, ergonomics, etc.). The HAS technology is designed to carry the weight of heavy tools, allowing the worker to accomplish tasks with higher quality and less fatigue.
A HAS productivity evaluation was successfully conducted at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS) & Intermediate Maintenance Facility (IMF). Five test subjects used a low heat induction tool to remove SHT tiles and SHT tile residue from various locations on a submarine hull. The workers performed this task both non-augmented and with a HAS. The evaluation had four primary objectives:
Quantitatively determine how the HAS impacts productivity for a work team that is performing a heat induction task.
Quantitatively determine how the HAS impacts productivity for an individual worker that is performing a heat induction task.
Qualitatively evaluate how the HAS impacts worker injury and fatigue.
Evaluate HAS reliability during a field trial to determine if the it can be effectively deployed in the rugged shipyard environment.
The evaluation produced compelling results:
The HAS enabled a single worker to continuously employ the heat induction tool with the assistance of one (1) other worker. In the current process a three (3) worker team is required to perform the same task. The testing indicates that HAS usage may reduce the necessary team size from three (3) to two (2), a 50% productivity improvement.
Qualitative data that suggests HAS improves worker ergonomics and significantly reduces worker fatigue.
The HAS performed effectively in a wide array of work environments (unstable footing, loose impediments, rain, wind, cold, etc.).
Additionally, test participant feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Test participants were able to quickly acclimate to the system, maneuver through the entire shipyard while wearing the system, and implement the system in their typical activities. Test participants expressed a desire to implement the HAS into some aspect of their standard work.
This study proved that using human augmentation to accomplish shipyard tasks involving heavy tools can improve productivity while mitigating a significant cause of worker injury. Both the improvement in productivity and the reduction in worker injury should result in cost savings.
The HAS technology is a fundamental redefinition of the relationship between the worker and the tool, where the physical strength of the worker is no longer a limiting factor for work assignment. The cost benefit using the HAS allows PSNS to reduce required crew size for from three to two, equating to a cost saving of $104K per year for Heat Induction Tool applications. These savings are increased as the number of HAS are deployed and utilized on SHT removal projects.
” HAS technology is a fundamental redefinition of the relationship between the worker and the tool where the physical strength of the worker is no longer a factor.” CAPT Williamson, PSNS CO
Industrial Human Augmentation System (iHAS)
Increases productivity & quality of work, with reduced injuries
zeroG ® – Exoskeletal Arm Systems: TRL 9
Allows operators to use heavy tools as if weightless