Overhauling a ship is complex and time-consuming work. Removing the slip-resistant decking is one of the most labor-intensive, and body-damaging activities. Traditionally, the maintenance staff had to either work on their hands and knees or lay prone on the deck to remove the tough coating using a hand scaler. When Cele Bryan, general manager of Temple Allen Industries understood the scope of labor involved, she immediately modified the scaling tool into a Stand-up Abrading Machine (SAM) to make it more ergonomic. With its upright handle, dust capture and reduced vibration, she knew the end-user would be thrilled to try it.
In October, Bryan was able to demonstrate the SAM at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard thanks to the efforts of Debbie Lilu, CTMA Program Director at NCMS.
“For the first time we were able to demonstrate our SAM on an actual ship surface,” says Bryan referring to the ex-McKee submarine tender. “The maintainers could see the scaler working. It was a beautiful thing!”
Each maintainer got an opportunity to experience the equipment and was amazed at the low level of vibration and noise with almost no resulting dust or dirt. The advantages of standing to operate versus kneeling or laying down were immediately apparent. The speed and ease of using the SAM caused a ripple of excitement and each maintainer stood patiently waiting for their turn to try the equipment.
“At the demonstration, we had the people who are involved with this actual kind of work,” says Dale Berkley, Technology Insertion Manager at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. “It’s really about what they thought. They loved the equipment and were very impressed.”
Because the demonstration took place on an actual ship, Temple Allen was able to understand that deck surfaces aren’t always flat and certain areas can bend and buckle. By reconfiguring their equipment to have a removable guard and adjustable cut height, the SAM would be even more versatile in all areas of ship decking coating removal and more user-friendly for the operators.
“This demonstration was organized by the team in the Technology Innovation Lab who reached out to the shops and codes ensuring that the mechanics, who are the real subject matter experts, could attend. This was a very collaborative effort especially with Code 970 that went above and beyond in supporting this technology demonstration,” says Berkley.
Temple Allen has made minor modifications to the SAM and will demonstrate once more this month. Barring any other requested changes, the Navy certification process can begin. Once certified, the SAM could be saving time and injuries for decades to come.
“I couldn’t have been prouder to watch the maintainers evaluate the SAM. I’ve been working with Bryan and have seen this technology evolve based on end-user feedback so I knew they would love it,” says Lilu. “This is what the CTMA Program is all about, collaborating with industry to fill unmet government maintenance and sustainment needs.”