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NEWS | Aug. 4, 2022

NSS-SY Spotlight: Infrastructure Pillar

By Aime Lykins, PSNS & IMF Public Affairs Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility

Established in 1891, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility has a rich tradition of maintaining, modernizing and retiring U.S. Navy vessels on the West Coast. A walk through the shipyard provides a glimpse into the past as historic buildings pepper the landscape and remnants of an era gone by are nestled between modernized structures. With the emergence of new Ford-class aircraft carriers, Columbia-class submarines, and cutting-edge technology, PSNS & IMF is looking ahead to support the contemporary fleet by upgrading and improving shipyard infrastructure to keep the U.S. Navy agile and combat-ready. The Naval Sustainment System-Shipyards Infrastructure Pillar and the Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program are two Navy efforts to upgrade outdated facilities and production equipment, and usher in a new era of innovation, efficiency and peak performance.

PSNS & IMF employees can expect to see SIOP in action through dry dock structural upgrades, new capital equipment on the waterfront and refreshed architecture to optimize maintenance capacity. To reach its objectives, SIOP is utilizing advanced infrastructure studies, industrial engineering, and modeling and simulation to develop and prioritize future waterfront infrastructure improvements. In parallel with SIOP’s efforts, the NSS-SY Infrastructure Pillar has prioritized immediate improvements to the health and lifecycle of shipyard industrial plant equipment.

The production shops depend on IPE and facilities to execute their ever increasing workload. The Infrastructure Pillar has established and chartered IPE work centers for Shop 31 inside machinists, Shop 11 shipfitters, Shop 17 sheet metal mechanics and Shop 26 welders with the objective of gathering necessary information to schedule maintenance activities, forecast future resource requirements for IPE maintenance, prioritize deployment of maintenance resources based on asset criticality, and make data-driven IPE recapitalization and procurement decisions.

“The Infrastructure Pillar is laying the foundation to finally allow interconnectivity between the back shop and waterfront,” said Joseph Houck, industrial engineer, Code 980S.1 Capital Investment Branch. “Data from the effort is allowing the shipyards to proactively build equipment and maintenance budgets based on the work to come, rather than relying on what we’ve done in the past.”

With input from the production shops, IPE work centers have also implemented a hierarchy system to track and manage assets that are most critical to availability performance.

“Critical 1 and 2 IPE are machines that are of the utmost importance to the shipyard because of the type of work they typically support,” said Houck. “If one of these assets goes down, they are likely to cause a delay to an availability. These are often expensive, one-of-a-kind and complex.”

To foster communication with production shops, an IPE work center representative now participates in all Inside Shop Pillar Production Control Center meetings to provide status and milestone dates for IPE-related maintenance, repair and procurement initiatives.

The Infrastructure Pillar also has a role in the digital transformation effort. The pen-and-paper system of tracking maintenance records is gradually being replaced by tablets and electronic communication devices. This allows for instantaneous input of information into the Electronic Facilities and Equipment Maintenance database for live feedback to the production shops for daily decision making.

The next step for the Infrastructure Pillar IPE work center initiative is continuing to expand to Shop 51 electricians, Shop 52 regional calibrators, and Shop 67 electronics technicians in August 2022. The goal is to further expand to other production shops by the end of fiscal year 2023. Other expansion plans include overhauling the preventive maintenance scheduling process to allow forecasting of labor based on equipment demand, and consolidating numerous crane department and nuclear refuelers maintenance databases into a singular eFEM database.

Coming soon to PSNS & IMF, via the Infrastructure Pillar partnership with SIOP, is the deployment of an $84.5 million investment into use of radio frequency identification technology for tracking the location and movement of shipboard components, remote equipment monitoring, and advanced manufacturing cells with interconnected machines.

Thanks to the NSS-SY Infrastructure Pillar and SIOP efforts, PSNS & IMF is taking great strides to create a modern, efficient and tech-savvy work environment that will keep up with private industry organizations.