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NEWS | Jan. 24, 2024

NUWC hosted another TECHTalk focused on Design for Manufacturing and Assembly

By Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Keyport Public Affairs

As technology evolves at an unprecedented pace, staying ahead of the curve requires a commitment to continuous learning. Recognizing the importance of skill development, the Undersea Weapon’s Department at Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Keyport forged a partnership with the Naval Postgraduate School to provide an experiential training opportunity aimed at enhancing skills in the crucial domains of Designing for Manufacturing and Assembly. This training culminated in a day of Technical Talks (TECHTalk) hosted at NUWC Division, Keyport, Nov. 16, to provide recommendations for improvements toward sustainment issues.

The collaboration stemmed from a need identified in the Lightweight Torpedo In-Service Engineering Division to provide high-velocity learning to the newer workforce in the area of design for manufacturing and assembly, to ensure sustainment efforts to support systems such as the LWT torpedoes, are affordable to manufacture and maintain for their serviceable lives.

Dave Chaney, Deputy Division Head of the LWT ISE, spearheaded this effort. Dave noted, “Over time, the steady demand for effective and economical weaponry has driven the need to marry the tried and true hardware of yesterday to the technological advancements of tomorrow. This has meant that weapons engineering must not only focus on the next iteration of technology development but on new innovative methods to address obsolescent and/or aging hardware. This collaborative effort with NPS provided engineers with the tools necessary to understand the challenges ahead and empowered them to critically evaluate and address these challenges.”

The collaboration between NUWC Division, Keyport and NPS represents a synergy of academic rigor and industry acumen and goes beyond the traditional classroom setting. Students were required to combine real-world issues aligned to their everyday jobs, while being tasked to devote time to insert recently learned best practices, creativity and innovation into a solution. In the end, the students present their recommendations to department leaders for recommendation for further action. By combining the theoretical foundations imparted by NPS with the practical insights from the ISE experience, students gain a holistic understanding of how to bridge the gap between design concepts and their real-world application in manufacturing and assembly processes.

“Continuous learning is the backbone of innovation,” stated Angie Meier, the department technology officer for the Undersea Weapons Department. “In an era where technological breakthroughs are constant, companies that invest in the ongoing education of their workforce position themselves at the forefront of this industrial innovation. The NUWC Division, Keyport-NPS collaboration exemplifies how partnerships between educational institutions and industry leaders can create a pipeline of talent that is not only well-educated but also attuned to the dynamic demands of our Navy’s sustainment efforts.”

Consider the case of a company that invested heavily in a cutting-edge product design without thorough consideration for the manufacturing and assembly processes, the result? A product that was not only hard to manufacture, but also incurred exorbitant sustainment costs. This scenario is all too common for new systems supporting our Navy, and underscores the importance of designing with manufacturing and assembly in mind. By aligning design principles with the practicalities of production, companies can optimize efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance the overall sustainability of their products. The recent training aimed to empower students to avoid such pitfalls in their future support efforts for the Navy, which often maintains systems long after their original lifecycle design.

The NUWC Division, Keyport-NPS collaboration is not just a one-time initiative, but also a blueprint for future partnerships between academic institutions and industry leaders. As technology continues to advance, the need for a workforce equipped with the latest skills becomes even more critical. Continuous learning, as exemplified by this collaboration, is not merely an investment in individuals, but a strategic move toward ensuring that NUWC Division, Keyport can maintain and expand our Navy’s undersea advantage.

Editor’s note: Angie Meier contributed to this article.


About Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Keyport
NUWC Keyport provides advanced technical capabilities for test and evaluation, in-service engineering, maintenance and industrial base support, fleet material readiness, and obsolescence management for undersea warfare to expand America’s undersea dominance.