059 – “Tank and Bilge Pump Improvement”

Author: Peggy Hough
Phone: (315) 243-4462
Email: peggy.hough@srf.navy.mil

The United States Navy Ship Repair Facility-Japan Regional Maintenance Center at the Fleet Activities Yokosuka and a Detachment at Fleet Activity Sasebo, Japan supports and maintains 21 forward deployed Navy ships. In concert with our host nation, SRF-JRMC employs approximately 2500 Japanese Nationals that form compose the touch depot maintenance labor. Their work efforts are in partnership with the civil service and US Navy military personnel working in a fast-paced maintenance environment. This pace leaves little time to do rework or use tooling that increases down time and decreases productivity.

It is with that mindset, and the Japanese workforce can do spirit called “Nan Demo Dakimasu” or “We can do anything”, that lifted them to find solutions to cut the number of tank and bilge pump repairs and reduce the time to pump out tanks and bilges. Over several years, the number of pump repairs continually rose causing the X99 shop to do numerous repairs of pump vacuums. In researching the root cause, the team found that debris or foreign object damage was the main culprit. Further, review showed that while the pumps were in use the vacuum pressure would steadily decrease causing a decrease in water vacating from the tank or bilge. Workers would remove the hose and check the in line strainer to remove the debris, however, this would be repeatedly stopped to remove debris during the pumping of the tank and/or bilge causing an increase in the time to complete the job.

X99 artisans decided to find a solution that would improve the pumping systems operations, decrease work stops, and decrease pump failures. The artisans developed a larger strainer, similar to those on shop vacuums, to catch both, large and small, debris that would still allow the water to flow freely with no reduction in suction capability.

This simple but effective solution provides a 1033 man-hour savings of over the span of less than two years – or an 18.3% savings in labor hours in tank and bilge pumping. Additionally, this ensures tank and bilge pump availability when and where needed to meet ship repair/maintenance schedules with no delays.

Lastly, the reduced hours a worker spends fixing pump problems during a pump out of tanks and bilges equates to a decrease in risk with adverse environmental conditions such as cold, heat, and gasses; making the on the job experience better for the workers.