From “Salute” April 28, 2022. Written by: Silvia Klatman
After taking a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences and Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility’s Technology Showcase came roaring back in the summer of 2021, offering hundreds of teammates the opportunity to check out industry’s latest innovations. In the six months since the event, people have been working behind-the-scenes to determine which technologies will help the command meet the mission of maintaining, modernizing and retiring the Navy’s fleet.
“Our engineering and production management teams were excited about this event,” said Jeff Brimhall, Technology Insertion manager, Code 1000i, Product Line Department. After seeing what technology was present, our leadership teams have a lot of options and projects worth pursuing.”
The technology showcase is the splashy, high-visibility event that brings awareness to possibilities, but it’s not the primary interaction the command has with the NCMS for Manufacturing Sciences. Through this Department of Defense partnership with NCMS, the command gains flexibilty to introduce and customize products and services to interested shops and codes.
“NCMS acts as an intermediary between the shipyard and private industry,” said Brimhall. “This allows the pursuit of open-ended development projects where developing a contract using normal processes would be difficult.”
This cooperative agreement creates a framework where the command and private industry partners can engage as a team to develop customized solutions to fit the shipyard’s specific needs. Since this is done for research and development purposes rather than procurement, Brimhall noted that there’s flexibility for engagement and teaming. Those can be difficult to achieve using the standard procurement process.
For example, last year the command’s innovation team was able to assist with more than a dozen projects. This included assisting Shop 38, Outside Machinists, with acquiring gate valve machining equipment. In addition, two portable lathes were purchased and a tooling demonstration of machine equipment was scheduled.
The innovation team and NCMS also helped Shop 11, Shipfitters, secure a site visit demonstration of innovative heavy steel welding fit-up equipment, which resulted in a purchase. Code 350, Inactivation, Inactivation Reactor Compartment Disposal & Recycling Department benefitted with funding to procure advanced equipment and safety gear. In all, the innovation team has helped with more than a dozen procurements, site visits and demonstrations — with plans to pursue even more.
The steps to make this magic happen are fairly straight-forward. The interested code or shop contacts Code 1000i to discuss the proposal, then Code 1000i works with NCMS. The initial project description is worked between the two parties. This helps ensure that the project is legally appropriate for engaging with NCMS.
After going through the approval process and transfer of funds, the project can begin. This usually happens within 45 days of submitting the paperwork.
Innovation team and NCMS services are available at any time. The Technology Showcase is used as a way to familiarize teammates with products and services available from industry as well as shine a spotlight on how to get those innovations through the gates. Preparations are underway for the 2022 showcase, which is open to all shipyard workers with supervisor approval.
“The command has been pleased with the ideas that come from the workforce as well as the work NCMS is doing to support those visions,” said Brimhall. “If anyone has an idea or has seen a product that could help make their work more efficient, safe or cost-effective, just let us know. We’d love to be of assistance.”
Contact the Technology Insertion Group for information about adopting new technologies by calling 360-476-8771.