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NEWS | June 6, 2019

NSWC Philadelphia Division Dry Docks Scanning Supports Newest Generation of Aircraft Carriers

By NSWCPD Public Affairs NSWCPD

PHILADELPHIA - During a recent visit to Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division (NSWCPD), Steven Lagana, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) PMS 555, Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan (SIOP) Program Manager, toured the Command’s test sites and labs critical to supporting the construction of the Gerald Ford-class aircraft carriers. 

“PMS 555 is totally revamping the way the public shipyards do things,” said Glenn Ward, NSWCPD’s Strategic Planning and Investments Director. “We wanted to highlight what NSWCPD does to support the shipyards.” 

SIOP is a 20-year, $21 billion program that will bring the Navy’s four public shipyards up to industry standards by recapitalizing dry-docks, optimizing the shipyards physical layout and workflow, and modernizing capital equipment. Those shipyards include Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in Hawaii, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility in Bremerton, Wash., Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, and Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Va. 

Lagana received briefs of current efforts to support the shipyards, NSWCPD’s future projects, and the Command’s support of Norfolk Naval Shipyard construction of the first Gerald Ford-class aircraft carrier, CVN-78.

The visit highlighted NSWCPD’s Advanced Data, Prototyping Technologies, and Virtual Environments (ADAPT.VE) Lab that previously supported the SIOP project that created a 3-D point cloud representation of Norfolk Naval Shipyard’s Dry-dock 8. 

NSWCPD engineers created a precise digital 3-D model Dry-dock 8, one of a limited number of shipyard facilities large enough to support the Gerald Ford-class aircraft carriers. The 3-D computer model allowed the Navy to manipulate data using existing computer-aided design (CAD) tools to study workflow and increase shipyard productivity.

ADAPT.VE Lab engineers first scanned the dock using laser metrology equipment. They were able to use the data to create a 3-D CAD object or a point cloud representation. Then it was possible to program future dry dock operations into the model. This allowed for the visualization and study of workflow, leading to recommendations for the optimal placement of hardware.

“The work NSWC Philadelphia accomplished with Dry-dock 8 is exactly what we’re looking to do for all four Naval Shipyards – build a 3-D digital twin of the yards and find where we can build efficiencies into the workflow while also executing critical maintenance and upgrades to our dry-docks, infrastructure, and capital equipment,” Lagana said. 

This effort created the baseline for optimizing Norfolk Naval Shipyard’s capabilities and has future applications for continued support for SIOP and NAVSEA's mission priority to support the on-time delivery of ships and submarines, as well as improve warfighter capability and availability of ships and ship systems. 

Norfolk Naval Shipyard saw the potential for use of 3-D laser scanning to help streamline various activities in the shipyard, and has obtained their own scanners. NSWCPD has continued to support Norfolk’s efforts and has created training documents to aid Norfolk personnel with the use of the equipment. 

"As a warfare center, we were one of the first to have our foot in the laser metrology door," said Patrick Violante, ADAPT.VE team lead. "We are also striving to make everyone here, and across the Navy aware of what they can do with this technology."

NSWCPD is currently supporting the shipyards through several work-tracking projects. 

NSWCPD’s Machinery Control Systems and Advanced Damage Control Systems Branch Manager John Buckley and his team have developed programs that streamline the way shipyards plan and track ship availability. 

The Works Space Planning Tool and the Electronic Mapping Board help visualize upcoming work by digitally plotting upcoming work in a central application that all stakeholders can access. This allows work to be planned in advance removing work conflicts that can arise during ship availability.

The Electronic Mapping Board utilizes existing ship system drawings and allows the workers to record detailed progress reports. Both applications use the Advanced Damage Control System (ADCS) software framework. 

“There’s a world of opportunity in these products,” Buckley said. “Mr. Lagana has a lot of vision and long range goals to improve the efficiency of the yards, and he sees our potential to further that.”

NSWCPD employs approximately 2,600 civilian engineers, scientists, technicians, and support personnel doing research and development, test and evaluation, acquisition support, and in-service and logistics engineering for Navy ships. NSWCPD is also the lead organization providing cybersecurity for all ship systems.