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NEWS | Nov. 7, 2020

Southwest Regional Maintenance Center’s Intermediate-Level Maintenance and Repair Processes Improve with Kata

By SWRMC Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO, Ca. - Southwest Regional Maintenance Center’s (SWRMC) latest success comes from their implementation and use of what’s called the Kata Improvement Process method to better overhaul and repair engine components in house.  

Members of SWRMC’s Diesel Engine shop continuously work towards increasing their Intermediate-level (I-Level) maintenance and repair knowledge by expanding their ability to provide critical repairs, technical support, and training to the ships homeported in San Diego as well as numerous visiting ships. Their recent efforts to implement the Kata Improvement Process improved business practices culminating in the successful overhaul and refurbish of Colt-Pielstick PA6B cylinder heads. With this accomplishment, SWRMC will be able to support an availability with 13 PA6B cylinder heads in June of next year, expanding their overall footprint in the maintenance community.

This repair capability is a significant victory for SWRMC; we are no longer dependent on the original equipment manufacturers to accomplish this complex task,” said Capt. David Hart, SWRMC’s commanding officer. “I am very proud that SWRMC can assist the maintenance teams to meet the mission and support the Fleet through on-time delivery of ships’ from availabilities.”

The Kata Improvement Process is a method SWRMC uses to improve business practices. When implementing Kata a learner uses a structured practice for consistent improvement in an effort to produce a form, routine, or pattern of behavior that can be practiced to develop a skill to the point where it becomes second nature; scientific thinking to achieve a goal through repeated target setting and experimentation. Using evidence-based experiments to find new insights and solutions, the SWRMC team spent more time in the planning phase to better approach and execute the plan to achieve the target outcome, overcoming obstacles associated with certain tools that were deemed unsafe and recalled by the Original Equipment Manager (OEM). Collaborating with the Process Improvement division, the teams designed a new device to safely hold the cylinder head during maintenance events. SWRMC’s Weld shop along with Machine product family then successfully manufactured and tested the new device ensuring it was ready for use.

With additional assistance from the Planning department, a Controlled Work Package was created to incorporate standardized procedures with appropriate detail in accordance with OEM specifications. This allows all diesel related maintenance to be completed using the same process, regardless of available personnel or location. The shop also joined with the In-Service Engineering Agent (ISEA) and Diesel Engine Inspectors to validate the component repair process, allowing final certification of each process through Quality Assurance, Local Tech Authority and the ISEA. This task was finished months ahead of the planned completion date that was reported in the Kata experiment, allowing for a timely execution in the overhaul of three PA6B cylinder heads. Currently, Diesel Engine shop has completed overhauls of 12 cylinder heads, allowing zero down time between removal and installation in order to meet 100% on-time delivery.

SWRMC is meeting its mission to provide superior ship maintenance, modernization, technical support, and training for the Pacific Fleet.

For more information on SWRMC please visit