Project Participants: General Dynamics Electric Boat

Project Start: November 2019

The U.S. Navy and General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB) have a joint initiative to reduce the construction cost of the VIRGINIA Class Submarine (VCS) and COLUMBIA Class Submarine (CLB). The Navy ManTech Program is participating in this initiative with specific focus on improving manufacturing processes for ship construction.

Currently Electric Boat operations create a high level build plan. Afterward, Quonset Point (QP) Process Improvement (PI) examines the individual drawings or design models Level of Assembly (LOA) to re-engineer the manufacturing plan. The benefits of this step include defining product lanes that optimize the use of the facility, identifying welds that can be mechanized, and rendering build instruction graphics for the trades.  Most of the work during this stage entails manual research and labor intensive development of assembly plan graphics. As a result, a significant amount of time is spent planning 140,000+ structural welds (per hull).  In addition, these manual efforts can cause quality issues due to human error.

The purpose of the Envision for the Model Based Enterprise project is to provide a software tool that will deliver an enhanced user experience for planners, process improvement personnel and operations teams to query TC/NX models for part attributes specific to their jobs and to link the analysis to advanced visualization capability.  The Envision software tool would be capable of providing data to the Electric Boat Planning, Process Improvement, and Operations teams.   The data generated within the tool would be used to better understand the world of work. The increased  visibility would improve manufacturing process efficiency by aiding service and support for the trades with the potential for schedule improvements, refining work flow, identifying mechanization opportunities, and provide overall cost reduction in both VCS, CLB, and other future programs.

This 12 month, single phase project will develop a user-friendly software tool that is capable of providing accurate information to Electric Boat Planning, Operations, and Process Improvement departments. The software will utilize attributes from NX data to provide a central location to easily query and extract key data within the CAD drawings.  The development plan will follow an incremental and iterative approach in which the tools will be built first to address simple shapes and welds, and will progress to address more complex geometry, such as curved shapes and cut-outs.

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