NORFOLK NAVAL SHIPYARD, Portsmouth, Va. —
Norfolk Naval Shipyard’s (NNSY) Sheet Metal Shop (Shop 17) just took a huge leap into modernization with the introduction of a brand new hydraulic punching machine to its arsenal.
Part of the NNSY Structural Group (Code 920), Shop 17 specializes in working metals for the shipyard and the Navy. Being continuous hard labor each day, it’s important that the tools these employees use provide safe and efficient avenues to get the job done.
“We have our AMADA Laser Cutting and Turret Punch Machine that handles close to 80 percent of the work in this shop,” said Doug Hamilton, Shop 17 Supervisor. “It handles laser cutting, punching, etc. However, with being such a heavily utilized machine, we wanted to find a new piece of equipment that would help take the burden off of it. So we sought out something that fit our needs, something that could take the brunt of the punching jobs that’s easy-to-use and will help my team do their day-to-day efficiently and safely.”
Joining their arsenal of machines is the LVD Strippit P-1225, a cost-effective computer numerical control (CNC) hydraulic ram. The machine is a punch press, providing consistent and accurate punching holes of different sizes into various types of metal depending on what the job entails. The user inputs the dimensions into the computer and what used to take a lot of time by simple drills or punches in the shop now can be completed in less than an hour.
“This job was a quick turnaround for the shipyard once we identified the need for the shop,” said Vatanak Chhim, Production, Facility, and Equipment Management Team (Code 983) Electrical Engineer. “Equipment this size is typically considered capital equipment but with it being less than $250,000 it was not only cost-effective but fast to install and get up and running.”
Engineering Technician Barry Forbes said, “Our job in Code 983 is to help modernize the shops where we can with bringing in these types of equipment that could really improve workflow and provide the workforce with the tools they need to succeed. When we have the chance to help innovate our shipyard, we hit the ground running. For the LVD Strippit Machine, this was a huge win! It was officially installed in February and already it’s become such an important tool for Shop 17 and America’s Shipyard.”
“We also installed this light curtain safety system with the machine to further advance the shipyard’s push to keep our employees safe,” said Chhim. “If anyone steps between any two points of the laser line around the machine, it will shut down completely to keep the employee out of harm’s way.”
Shop 17 Sheet Metal Mechanic Ryan Ward is currently the main operator for the LVD Strippit Machine, one of the many machines he operates across the shop. The shop and Code 983 are looking to build a formal training program to get all of Shop 17 trained in the modernized equipment being installed.
“Our machines are used so frequently, so being able to spread out the work to this new machine that is able to provide such an accurate product in such a short amount of time is huge for us,” said Ward. “We are able to get the job done quickly and safety, providing the Shop 17 team a tool we could use for many years to come.”
“These machines are our future and I’m looking forward to seeing my team continue to work with the LVD Strippit to unlock its full potential for the shipyard,” said Hamilton. “Innovation and modernization is the future of the Navy and America’s Shipyard so being able to bring these new tools to our shop is a huge win for us. We’re going a step in the right direction. I have such an amazing crew here and being able to provide them the tools to succeed is so important for me.”