Laser imaging reduces submarine manufacturing costs

SEPTEMBER 3, 2009--An innovative laser imaging technique, developed with funding from the Office of Naval Research (ONR), could cut more than 7,700 man hours from the manufacturing cycle of the VIRGINA-Class Submarine (VCS).

SEPTEMBER 3, 2009--An innovative laser imaging technique, developed with funding from the Office of Naval Research (ONR; Arlington, VA, USA; www.onr.navy.mil), could cut more than 7,700 man hours from the manufacturing cycle of the VIRGINA-Class Submarine (VCS). Per submarine, the savings could reach $500K per hull, translating in a projected savings of $15.5M over a 31-hull construction program.

Successfully piloted in June 2008, the laser image projection technology allows the Quonset Point, RI, Electric Boat (EB) manufacturing facility to automate the layout of attachments during the early outfitting stages of the VCS. This automation could result in an estimated 85 percent reduction in labor over the current method.

The laser imaging technology uses 3-D digital ship design data generated by the OneStop CAD database. OneStop extracts positional data from the EB product model to determine the quantity and specific location of various attachments. The EB project team cut its dependency on paper templates and string measurements using OneStop. In fact, the team located and attached 4,822 electrical and ventilation hangers, and installed approximately 8,862 studs in 21 of the 22 VCS hull cylinders during the pilot program. The laser image projection technology will ultimately equip production workers with direct access to the CAD model information needed to locate/mark points of attachment. For more information, go to: http://www.onr.navy.mil/media/article.asp?ID=193.

-- Posted by Conard Holton, Vision Systems Design, www.vision-systems.com

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