Encompass Machines Inc. (EMI) was originally founded in 1996 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Now located in Rock Hill, SC, EMI is a full-service provider of welding and robotic technology services including custom engineering, prototyping, manufacturing and support. Encompass designs and manufacturers a variety of orbital, robotic and industrial welding systems and services.
In early 2017, EMI began working with Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) to evaluate an application commonly referred to as the “D-Welds” which reference a “D” shaped hole which is cut into the side of a vessel for the purposes of installing/removing equipment and components. Upon completion of the work, the “D” shaped piece which was removed from the vessel is then re-welded in place to patch the hole. Norfolk’s desire to automate this welding process was the driving force which led to the involvement of the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS). EMI and NCMS were able to form a collaborative agreement for a co-funded development project which was commissioned in late 2017 (Oct). The resulting system as outlined below was completed in 2019 and after extensive testing and training was then installed at NNSY in early 2020.