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NEWS | March 4, 2022

Tide Riser innovation propels NAVSEA mission priorities

By Jeremy Roman NSWC Panama City Public Affairs

The strength of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Warfare Center’s three mission priorities—Deliver Combat Power, Transform Digital Capability and Build a Team to Compete and Win—depends on the condition and stability of its individual parts, and how they must align and work seamlessly together. A recent accomplishment and innovation here at Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) personifies that very idea of how overall mission success is fortified in the details.

The Information Management and Customer Support Branch (Code 1042) from NSWC PCD recently completed an a Navy/Marine Corps Intranet Tech Refresh where more than 2,400 users were upgraded to newer computers allowing its personnel to continue to deliver combat power while also saving the Department of the Navy over $800k and 2,500 personnel-hours.

The overall mission was accomplished but some noticed how the temperatures of these computers felt unusually warm. In order to preserve and steward the sustained technical capabilities of these computers, something additional was needed to maximize the time, money and effort put forth in the tech refresh. Enter the team collaboration of NSWC PCD’s Codes E15 Hydrospace Laboratory and E42 Additive Manufacturing Lab (AML) and their innovation called the Laptop Lifter (aka the Tide Riser).

“Initial prototyping took place in late November, shortly after we received our Tech Refresh and observed the excessive heat produced with prolonged use. In an attempt to combat overheating by the new HP Laptops, we recognized that ventilation on the bottom-side was limited and boosting the rear of the laptop would increase airflow, accelerating cooling of the device,” said Hydrospace Laboratory Manager Dr. Christopher Musto. “Heat is typically detrimental to electronics’ lifetimes. Reducing the heat retained in the rear of the system should extend lifetimes, thereby eliminating the need for early replacement of these laptops.”

The idea to design a prototype to lift the computer and maximize its internal cooling system was assigned to Jake Moody V, a mechanical engineer at the Hydrospace Laboratory. The design consists of two external pieces to provide maximum stability while minimizing size.

“There were a total of four iterations with each version evolving with slight modifications to ultimately create the best solution,” said Moody. “Whether it was modifying the shape, adding ventilation holes or even adding a customized groove to lock them into place, each iteration made installing the lifters easier while keeping the same level of heat dissipation.”

The initial prototyping was accomplished using stereolithography 3-D printing at the Hydrospace Lab. Final identified prototype production was a collaboration between Chuck Self, NSWC PCD AML head, and the Hydrospace Laboratory team to reduce cost and production times.

“Ultimately, the final product is estimated to cost $2 per unit which offers a significant savings versus $6 - $8 per unit if produced externally,” said Self. “I can produce up to 240 units per day utilizing 10 or more Fused Deposition Modeling 3-D Printers.”

This team assembled to address a specific challenge to bring the best solution forward—Build a Team to Compete and Win, Transformed Digital Capability by using data to change how we innovate, ultimately improving NSWC PCD’s impact to Deliver Combat Power. This little detail will help accomplish NAVSEA mission priorities.

“The data we obtained using Forward-Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) technology measured a 15-20% reduction in temperature from the hottest regions of the laptops,” said Musto. “Extending the life of essential computer systems is critical for the continued support of the NAVSEA Warfare Centers’ innovation ecosystem and that is something we are proud to have contributed to.”