After a two-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, nearly two hundred leaders from government, industry, and academia gathered at NCMS’s 2022 CTMA Partners Meeting, held May 3-5 in Virginia Beach, VA. Focused on advancing the development and adoption of key maintenance and sustainment (M&S) technologies, the Partners Meeting provided a forum for experts to exchange information about successful projects and to address challenges.
Keynote speakers included Steve Morani, who at the time served as Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment, and Col. Howard K. Marotto, AM Business Director for EWI. Mr. Morani shared details about the DOD’s Logistics and Materiel Readiness Strategic Plan 2022-28, and spoke enthusiastically about CTMA collaborations: “The DOD can’t do it alone—we need our industry and academic partners to be successful.” Col. Marotto, during his keynote address, discussed lessons learned during the Marine Corps’ NEXLOG project. Panel topics included the Sustainment Technology Program, Modernizing the Organic Industrial Base (OIB), CBM+/Predictive Maintenance, Advanced Manufacturing/Additive Manufacturing, Energy/Environmental Health and Safety, NavalX and the Tech Bridge Network, Sustainable Modernization of Weapons Systems, and Improved Business Operations. Additionally, the event featured tabletop demonstrations by 25 industry innovators. For more information about the event, visit: tinyurl.com/CTMA2022PM.
JROBOT Summit V
JROBOT Summit V took place June 6-9 in Detroit at the Automate Show, North America’s largest automation and robotics exhibition, which is held every two years. The JROBOT Summit was an invitation-only event focused on assessing the latest solutions using robotic capabilities within the Automate Exhibit Hall and identifying the policy elements needed to maximize asset availability across the DOD and Allied Partners.
Participants included maintainers and researchers from the DOD, NASA, and the DOE, along with industry and academic partners via the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Institute and NCMS. During the event, over twenty-five volunteers interviewed 230+ exhibitors (suppliers, integrators, and OEMs). An additional survey available by QR code was provided to 500 exhibitors. These surveys identified robotics-focused companies that are interested in assisting the DOD to meet maintenance needs.
Additive Manufacturing Workshop
The seventh annual Additive Manufacturing (AM) Workshop, held June 28-29, 2022, gathered over one hundred leaders and stakeholders with an interest in AM from government, industry, academia, and nonprofits. Attendees collaborated on advancing foundational aspects of AM necessary for the DOD’s wide adoption of this game-changing capability.
The event organized working groups focused on five important AM areas: standardization prioritization, cybersecurity, assessing additive manufacturing crisis response, AM portal for education (AMPED), and agile inspection and testing. To learn more about the event, visit tinyurl.com/2022AMworkshop.
NCMS Technology Showcase at Corpus Christi Army Depot (CCAD)
NCMS’s July Technology Showcase at Corpus Christi Army Depot (CCAD)—the first showcase NCMS has held at this depot—was a huge success, attracting nearly 50 world-class exhibitors to demonstrate their maintenance and sustainment technologies.
This event gave industry and academia a special opportunity to display and demonstrate novel capabilities at the Army’s premier helicopter overhaul and repair facility. DOD leadership, maintenance managers, and artisans met face-to-face with industry and academic experts to learn about the latest processes and technologies that can best solve their maintenance and sustainment (M&S) challenges.
A unique feature of this showcase was that both Army and Navy representatives were able to attend, because CCAD is located on the site of the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station (NAS). Corpus Christi NAS serves primarily as an aviator training facility, and provides pilot training for the Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard. To learn more about the event, visit: tinyurl.com/2022CCADshowcase.
The wildly successful, first-ever Repair Technology Exercise (REPTX), a US Navy demonstration event, took place from August 22 through September 2. More than 60 technology providers substantiated their products’ capacity to tackle real-world fleet maintenance challenges, including assessing and repairing potential battle damage aboard the Navy’s Self Defense Test Ship, an asset of Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division (NSWC PHD).
REPTX participants addressed four focus areas: visualization, command and control aids, forward manufacturing, and expeditionary maintenance. NCMS was pleased to assist the US Navy with identifying and vetting industry and academic participants via its network of hundreds of innovative technology solutions providers. For more information about the event, visit: tinyurl.com/2022REPTX.
NCMS Technology Showcase at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard
In partnership with innovation leadership at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNSY), NCMS organized, facilitated, and co-hosted a Technology Showcase to help fast-track relevant maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) innovations. Working closely with the innovation leads at PSNSY, NCMS identified best-in-class technologies aligned to nine key MRO functional areas: Advanced/Additive Manufacturing, Business IT and Analytics, CBM+/Predictive Maintenance, Coatings and Corrosion Prevention, Energy/Environmental/Health & Safety, Enhanced Inspection, Facilities and Industrial Process Modernization, Hardware Reliability Improvement, and Workforce Development and Visualization.
Forty-four companies participated in the showcase from September 14-15. Personnel from key PSNSY production shops, Command leadership, NAVSEA engineering and sustainment, and representatives from the Navy’s Repair Technologies (REPTECH) working group collaborated and shared ideas at the event. Visit tinyurl.com/2022PSNSYshowcase to see more information about the event.
Airfield Autonomy Initiative (AAI)
The first-ever AAI is a US Air Force (USAF) development, integration, and test demonstration initiative that is enabling industry and academia participants to partner with the USAF to advance airfield automation and command and control (C2) systems. For this initiative, the USAF is focusing on automation for the simple tasks of lawn mowing, Foreign Object/Debris (FOD) detection, and perimeter patrols (for both security and wildlife management).
In order to advance toward AAI consortium demonstrations, a preliminary group of applicants took part in a collaborative information exchange session on October 13-14. During this session, the participants engaged with DOD and FAA organizers to learn the detailed rules for operating autonomous vehicles on active airfields, the nature of airfield layouts, existing obstacles, and how the step-by-step demonstration plan will be executed. The collaborative team also provided introductions to the FAA advanced technology airport engineers who will ultimately decide on the future of Smart Commercial Airports (including automated vehicles). The exchange session created a venue for discussions with other government officials considering automation of the maintenance of large open areas. Participating companies are slated to perform initial demonstrations beginning in early 2023. For more information about the initiative, visit the AAI web page: tinyurl.com/2022AAIevents.
DOD Maintenance Symposium
NCMS recently took part in the DOD Maintenance Symposium, held December 12-15, 2022, in Orlando, FL. In our exhibit hall booth, we showcased seven outstanding industry partners: AMETEK/Spectro Scientific; Automated Precision Inc. (API); Atmospheric Plasma Solutions (APS); Boston Engineering; DAES Group; Ricardo Defense; and Siemens Industry Software. These companies embodied the theme of the symposium, “Next Generation Materiel Readiness Forged through Data Advantage, Technology, and Innovation.”
Of equal importance, NCMS facilitated a breakout session during which the six Maintenance Innovation Challenge (MIC) finalists presented their entries and competed for awards. The Overall MIC Award Winners are Jim Becker, Perfect Point EDM, and Jared Wright, Naval Air Systems Command and their entry, E-Drill: A New Way to Remove Aircraft Fasteners. The winning entry was selected by the DOD’s senior maintenance leaders from the Maintenance Executive Steering Committee, the Joint Group on Depot Maintenance, and the Industrial Base Commanders. The People’s Choice Award winners are Brett Jordan, Air Force Research Laboratory, and Tech. Sgt. William Kesler, Aircraft Battle Damage Repair Technical Support Office, Air Force Sustainment Center, for their entry Fiber Optic Fusion Splice Repair. It was selected by the breakout session’s attendees. For more information about the MIC winners, visit: tinyurl.com/2022MICwin.