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NEWS | April 15, 2019

Naval Foundry and Propeller Center's High Velocity Learning

By Richard Locklear

In what is believed to be a first of its kind in U.S. Navy manufacturing history, the Naval Foundry and Propeller Center (NFPC) has purchased training simulators to bring training and real-world experience to the workforce.  The simulators are being used to train employees on the operation and maintenance of high speed profiling machines.


These machines are used to shape metal for the production of components for U.S. Navy vessels, and the simulators allow employees to learn and practice their operation in a controlled environment.  “With these simulators in a controlled classroom environment, employees can program and troubleshoot in a setting that does not risk damage to actual shop equipment or material,” said Bob Conover, NFPC training administrator. “The simulators present the students with various scenarios that production and maintenance personnel face while on the job, so they can take those lessons learned, apply it to their skill set, and be in a position to make an immediate, positive impact on the job site. This an example of the Navy’s High Velocity Learning,” Conover said.   


This investment is just part of NFPC’s efforts to enhance its training capabilities, and better serve an expanding workforce. 


Standing up this training effort also required involvement of NFPC’s parent command, Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY), which provided the resources and manpower needed for such a unique and specialized training need. “The main challenge of standing up a training program of this caliber was gaining a thorough understanding and requirements of an organization that has a much different product line than NNSY,” said Myron Evans, NNSY’s Supervisory Training Specialist. “The support team from NNSY immersed ourselves into the culture of NFPC to better understand how they do business. We knew that we could not simply say that a one-size-fits-all approach to training would work…that we would have to tailor our approach to the uniqueness of NFPC if we were to be successful.”


This investment into enhanced training capabilities certainly does seem to be paying off, according to employees who recently trained on the simulators. “This training has really helped me to better understand the controls on the machine,” said Wayne Chambers, a trainee who has been employed at NFPC for approximately 18 months. “And with this simulator, I can learn troubleshooting techniques while training, and in the process, make mistakes without breaking something.” In an industrial environment where well-trained employees are an absolute necessity, the enhanced training will continue to pay dividends not only for the safety of employees and the preservation of equipment, but in enhanced security through the high-quality components these employees will continue to produce.


NFPC, a detachment of Norfolk Naval Shipyard, is located in Philadelphia, PA, and specializes in the production of components for U.S. Navy vessels.