NEWS | Dec. 1, 2020

NSWC Panama City provides rapid testing support with in-house manufacturing capabilities

By Katherine Mapp NSWC PCD Public Affairs

While ashore or afloat, Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) is prepared to support and provide capabilities to strengthen the U.S. Navy’s mission.

During a recent technical evaluation in San Diego, Calif., a tiger team from NSWC PCD working to address launch and recovery capabilities related to unmanned surface vessels onboard Littoral Combat Ship Independence class ships encountered a need to replace a piece of damaged equipment with a quick turnaround. 

When the emergent need arose, NSWC PCD’s Fabrication and Prototype Shops (FPS) rapidly delivered solutions.

Logan McCall, NSWC PCD mechanical engineer on the Mine Countermeasures Mission Package Test and Evaluation Team in the Platform Integration Branch supported the technical evaluation on-site and modeled the parts using a radius gage set and dial calipers. In coordination with NSWC PCD Engineer Jim Brackett, McCall was able to reach back to the shops to begin the urgent request.

Once the FPS team received the initial request, located the material, solidified the computer-aided design by McCall, and received approval, the fabrication work began.

The NSWC PCD Fabrication and Prototype Shops offer a wide range of capabilities to support the personnel and programs at NSWC PCD and many other Department of Defense organizations. Typically, customers submit work requests through the web-based Shops workflow tool called SWFT to plan and estimate a job before it turns into a work order for the production floor.

According to Jesse Walton, NSWC PCD Prototype and Fabrication Shops project manager, the FPS has developed an alternate option called the "Urgent Request Process" which allows them to deliver a rapid solution for customers to accommodate urgent needs such as this job.

“Utilizing the urgent request process, having the materials on hand, and leveraging the skills of the FPS personnel allowed us to provide a solution to the customer and meet the warfighter's need,” said Walton. “Our machinist completed all of the parts and turned them over to the customer for a quick dimension check before getting them shipped out. In all, the FPS were able to turn around these machined parts in less than a week.”

Chuck Self, NSWC PCD Additive Manufacturing Laboratory (AML) lead, and his team, custom built 3D printed plastic fairlead bumpers.

“We made use of the AML’s large format 3D printer which was able to complete ten parts in 30 hours,” said Self. “For comparison, standard 3D printers would have printed only two parts in 40 hours.”

The FPS’ expediency in delivering the products helped McCall and the test team effectively provide direct support to the fleet.

“This was by far the fastest turnaround I have worked on and I greatly appreciate the support,” said McCall.