Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) are developing increasingly intelligent 3D computer models for their products in support of design activities; however, they are not able to adequately leverage these models downstream to support component and assembly manufacturing. During the design phase of a product, models are created in computer-aided design (CAD) software that aids significantly in the development of design products, including traditional drawings (most common). Unfortunately, the usefulness of the 3D model often ends in design as the 3D model does not persist to downstream stakeholders and often lacks the detail necessary for manufacturing. This poses a significant problem as manufacturing equipment is becoming increasingly intelligent and is driven more by computer programs than traditional manual operations.
The Model to Manufacturing project, managed by the Naval Shipbuilding and Advanced Manufacturing (NSAM) Center will establish an end-to-end process where data flows seamlessly from the design agent, or technical authority (TA), to the build authority (BA) including manufacturing entities (internal and external), without losing any of its intelligence or integrity. Stated differently, the authoritative source model will be connected and persevere (maintain its integrity) to each downstream stakeholder including both external suppliers who may need different neutral formats (STEP, JT, etc.) and internal manufacturers.
Establishing an end-to-end process that includes configuration management of manufacturing by-products reduces the duplication of effort, saves time, reduces cost, and improves first-time-quality (FTQ) not just locally (in a shop) but also between businesses and suppliers. Manufacturing groups are able to use a pre-produced product as the baseline for their manufacturing work, utilizing basic attributes such as size, shape, form, material type, etc. This information, coupled with manufacturing details, can then be associated with the TA design model (authoritative source) and fed to the appropriate machines. Any engineering or design changes are captured by the system and new features and details will automatically become available to the manufacturing team, greatly improving the overall configuration management of a given component.
This project is expected to result in 5 year savings of approximately $5.1M. The Model to Manufacturing technology is expected to be implemented at NNS facility during the third quarter of FY24.