Heat Induction Removal of Special Hull Treatment (SHT) using Exoskeleton and zeroG Arm Technology

NCMS Project #: 140481

Problem: The removal of SHT (Special Hull Treatment) is a major cost driver in the maintenance, repair, and disposal process of submarines.  The current method for removal of more than 10,000 tiles per 688 Class submarine is the use of reciprocating saw with one mechanic operating the saw, while another pulls the corner of a the tile with vise grips to give enough room for the blade to slice the back side of the tile.  The process leaves tile remnants, adhesive, and paint residue that must be removed with a small chipping gun.  These processes cause hand, wrist, and arm fatigue in a very short time period.  Over years, the accumulative effects and injury on personnel increases dramatically typically resulting in surgery of the shoulders or other areas of the body affected by repetitive exposure.


  • Provide the first ever data collected in regards to shipyard HAS ergonomic and business case implications. 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.
  • The technical results from this project will be used to approach targeted manufacturing facilities where the use of exoskeleton technology can result in safer operations at reduced costs, both financial and human.

Solution/Approach: This CTMA project will utilize the Heat Induction process with exoskeleton and zeroG® technology to achieve safe and efficient removal of SHT and MIP in a manner suitable for a shipyard dry dock environ­ment and operable with only moderate training.

Impact on Warfighter:

  • Cost reductions.
  • Increased productivity.
  • Reduced time in drydock or allow more maintenance per drydock period.
  • Reduced incidence of injury.

DOD Participation:

  • U.S. Navy (Puget Sound Naval Shipyard)
  • NAVSEA 04
  • U.S. Navy (NSWC Carderock)

Industry Participation:

  • Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control
  • Equipois, Inc.
  • NCMS

Final Report