Revolutionizing repair: Expanding Navy’s undersea edge with automation!

Expanding the Navy’s undersea advantage by revolutionizing repair through automation

Key Points:

  • The Navy’s Undersea and Combat Systems Depot has tested a new automated laser engraver system for torpedo shell etching, replacing a manual process that has been in place for over five decades.
  • The automated laser engraver is expected to reduce engraving time from 1.5 hours to less than 15 minutes, saving over $230,000 a year.
  • Automation streamlines production and repair processes, contributes to resource conservation, reduces maintenance time, and improves product quality.

The Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division’s Depot Revitalization, Advancements and Growth Opportunities Network (DRAGON) team has been working to revolutionize repair processes for torpedo shell etching. The team has partnered with the Keyport Innovation Center (KIC) to explore ways to automate the process and improve efficiency.

Last week, the team successfully tested a new Master Oscillator Power Amplifier automated laser engraver system at the Undersea and Combat Systems Depot. The new automated system is expected to replace the outdated, labor-intensive pantograph-style process that has been in place since the 1960s.

The transition to automation not only streamlines production and repair processes but also contributes to resource conservation, addressing the growing demand for sustainable practices in the repair industry. The automated laser engraver is expected to reduce the time required for engraving each shell from an hour and a half to less than 15 minutes (unattended), saving over $230,000 a year.

In addition to cost savings, automation also improves product quality and reduces maintenance time. The precision and consistency of the automated laser engraver minimize human error and ensure a higher level of accuracy and detail in engraved products. The transition to automation also addresses the challenge of expertise and resources for repairing and maintaining the outdated pantograph process.

The DRAGON team’s use of the KIC to test and implement automation in sustainment processes demonstrates their commitment to supporting digital transformation and making sustainment of the undersea weapons program more affordable. This move positions the team as a leader in implementing automation within the sustainment realm, showcasing the transformative power of innovation in maintaining and expanding the Navy’s undersea advantage.

In conclusion, the Navy’s adoption of automation in torpedo shell etching processes represents a significant step towards improving efficiency, reducing costs, and enhancing the overall quality of engraved products. The transition to automation aligns with the Navy’s commitment to sustainability and highlights the benefits of digital transformation in the defense industry.