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By Gary Ell
A team of engineers at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division (NSWCPD) are leading a collaborative Department of Defense (DoD) readiness initiative focused on the development and implementation of data analysis and sustainment technology capabilities to improve the reliability and maintenance effectiveness of U.S Navy systems and components.
Condition Based Maintenance (CBM) is a maintenance strategy that monitors the actual state of machinery equipment in order to indicate what repairs or actions should be performed. These recommended repairs, generated and provided to maintenance and technical communities, are based on specific indicators that show performance degradation or an upcoming potential failure. This differs from existing time-based maintenance, which is performed at a predetermined time interval without regard to the condition of the equipment.
Two of the newer faces of the program are NSWCPD’s Mathias Haegele, a mechanical engineer currently working as the analytics integrator for the Remote Monitoring and Condition Based Maintenance Systems branch and Sonia Selvan, who serves as the project manager for the enterprise Remote Monitoring version 4 (eRM v4) project.
Haegele started at NSWCPD as a summer intern in 2018 supporting research and development efforts for Ship Service Gas Turbine Generators (SSGTGs). Upon graduation from college at the Pennsylvania State University in 2019, he accepted an offer to work as a Propulsion Performance & Operability Engineer for the F/A-18 program for Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) at Naval Air Station, Patuxent River. It was in this role that Mathias was introduced to the Navy’s transition to Condition Based Maintenance on the F/A-18 propulsion systems. In 2022 he transferred to NSWCPD to work a full-time role focusing on implementing analytics that enable Condition Based Maintenance in the Navy.
“There are numerous challenges, both internally and externally, in front of us as a Program. Some of the new and innovative products that we are developing and preparing to deploy are going to require a change in culture and how we interact with our end users to encourage engagement, adoption, and continuous feedback. Along with the proper amount of communication, those are keys to the Program’s success,” Haegele said.
Selvan graduated from Drexel University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering. Upon graduation she worked for a company called Diagnostic Driving, supporting the development of software designed to identify leading indicators for crash risk using data from a mobile simulator. In 2018 Sonia joined NSWCPD working to support the Risk Management Framework (RMF) efforts. In 2021 she was given the opportunity to do a rotation with the Condition Based Maintenance group and fully transitioned into the CBM group six months later.
“Embracing system modernization enables us to utilize new and innovative technologies and move towards Big Navy’s goal of deploying software at quicker rate than we previously had the capacity for. This will empower us to stay competitive especially in times of adversity. While there is still a long way to go, we are taking big steps towards a more mission prepared Navy,” Selvan said.
In 2019, the CBM+ES (Enterprise Systems) program began to deploy its new shipboard platform, Enterprise Remote Monitoring (eRM), to the fleet in efforts to replace the legacy Integrated Condition Assessment System (ICAS), which has been deployed in the fleet since the 1990’s. Similar to ICAS, eRM acquires data from various pieces of shipboard equipment via the machinery control systems while also fully digitizes log sheets and allows Sailors to view live data streams from Hull, Mechanical, and Electrical (HM&E) systems.
In addition to increasing shipboard data accessibility, eRM makes ships “smarter”. The eRM system is constantly assessing available data streams for anomalies and impending failures via analytical algorithms. These algorithms have been developed and vetted, organically, by the NSWCPD Remote Monitoring and Condition Based Maintenance Systems branch data scientists and various In-Service Engineering Agents (ISEAs).
These analytical algorithms include statistical, logic-based algorithms, as well as python-based Machine Learning (ML) models; this is where “digital twins” are incorporated on the ship. A “digital twin” is a computer model, trained on historian HM&E system operational data, which can be deployed shipboard within eRM to predict nominally healthy performance and indicate when anomalies are occurring that need to be addressed. eRM enables the outputs of these analytical algorithms to notify Sailors of recommended maintenance actions directly in the ship’s Planned Maintenance System Scheduler (PMS SKED), where Sailors can take action accordingly.
On the shore side, NSWCPD’s Remote Monitoring and Condition Based Maintenance Systems branch is actively working to maintain and expand the Consolidated Machinery Assessment System (CMAS) such that Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) stakeholders can view data-driven insights into HM&E system performance across the fleet. CMAS is a cloud-based data repository for all of the Navy’s HM&E system data, storing both legacy ICAS and eRM data. Designed to be used by NSWCPD ISEAs, CMAS offers condition assessment visualizations in the form of dashboards that aid in making informed maintenance decisions. In fact, those decisions can be made directly in CMAS as the system offers a process to write, review, and submit maintenance actions (known as “2-Kilos”) directly to the fleet.
In late 2021, the CBM+ES program was tasked by the Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO) to accelerate its timeline for implementation of a CBM+ end-to-end solution into the fleet. This effort would leverage the technologies and architectures described above. This instruction led to the accelerated development and deployment of both the program’s shipboard and shore-side platforms.
As these platforms become more widely adopted by the fleet, the CBM+ES program has recognized multiple ways to accelerate CBM+ implementation and meet the objectives outlined by the VCNO.
NSWCPD’s Remote Monitoring and Condition Based Maintenance Systems branch is working with the company Fathom5 to develop and deploy the next version of eRM on a surface ship. This next version, eRM v4, is a massive step for the program: Changing from a monolithic software architecture to a microservice software architecture. This change aligns with the direction software is taking in industry since it allows for rapid deployment, easier integration of new technologies, and a more scalable design.
Specific to the CBM+ES program, the changes in eRM v4 has enabled third party (industry) analytics providers to join NSWCPD in algorithm development. This approach encourages best-of-breed analytics to be incorporated within eRM for each component of complex HM&E systems. eRM v4 accepts algorithms as containers, allowing industry partners to preserve confidentiality behind their propriety analytics algorithms. eRM v4 is to be installed and piloted on an Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) Class Destroyer in 2024 and then, once fully demonstrated, rolled out across the fleet.
Similarly, CMAS is also being revamped to meet VCNO stated objectives. CMAS was originally developed to expedite the delivery of shore-side NSWCPD ISEA HM&E system assessments meant to drive shipboard maintenance. With eRM now fulfilling the responsibility of issuing maintenance in a shipboard environment, CMAS is being reworked to accommodate “Big Data” and enable more informative data visualization methods. Specifically, with eRM deployed, CMAS is ingesting substantially more sensor data at higher frequencies than ever before. Since the sheer volume of data being transferred shore-side has increased, CMAS is beginning to transition its focus to data storage as the “data lake” for HM&E system sensor data.
In conjunction with this transition, the CBM+ES program is integrating CMAS with Jupiter, the Department of Navy’s (DoN) enterprise data environment. Jupiter will be able to offer a collaborative environment that promotes data visibility across the command as well as data science tools which foster creativity for the program. NSWCPD’s Remote Monitoring and Condition Based Maintenance Systems branch CMAS developers are working with a team from John Hopkins University Applied Research Laboratory to roadmap these upcoming improvements to the application that will achieve VCNO objectives.
NSWCPD employs approximately 2,800 civilian engineers, scientists, technicians, and support personnel. The NSWCPD team does the research and development, test and evaluation, acquisition support, and in-service and logistics engineering for the non-nuclear machinery, ship machinery systems, and related equipment and material for Navy surface ships and submarines. NSWCPD is also the lead organization providing cybersecurity for all ship systems.