Metal frames that are critical for the structural support of fleet equipment such as ships, airplanes, trucks, and buses need to be scrupulously maintained. Repairs and upgrades to these frameworks are primarily done by welders who are trained in all specifications and safety requirements. The current standard for hull cut welding at Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) is to use the stick welding process, which requires constant starting and stopping as well as meticulous cleaning in order to be satisfactory. This process is very slow and generates a lot of debris.
But as with all work, some routine duties could be completed by an automated system that would equalize the quality of work, and release talented welders to be productive on other crucial areas. The use of an automated process will prevent excessive rework, excessive labor costs, and high manning levels of highly skilled welders needed for manual welding. It was estimated that $15K (smaller hull cuts) to $30K (large cuts) savings per hull cut can be achieved based on material and labor savings. This initiative will demonstrate the Ecompass Gantry Hull Welding System proving out capabilities on hull weld cuts, develop shipboard procedures, and implement its use shipboard. Once the technology is proven, the procedures, lessons learned, and final equipment configurations will be shared with the other public and Naval shipyards so cost savings can be realized across enterprises.
Those interested in participating in this initiative should contact Debbie Lilu by September 15, 2017. We encourage participation of Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs), including Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) and Women’s Business Enterprises (WBEs).