072 – “Innovation Testing Team”

Author: Vincent C. Stamper
Company: Naval Intermediate Maintenance Facility PacNorWest
Phone: (360) 340-2781
Email: vincent.c.stamper1@navy.mil

The use of industrial processes in and around sensitive systems and equipment aboard naval assets pose risk. To mitigate this risk, restrictions on the use of these processes are in place, based on the best testing methods available at the time. Since then, new testing capabilities have been developed and should be used to more accurately evaluate the risks of industrial processes. This may provide a loosening of the restrictions on work around sensitive equipment. For example, the application of this at IMF Bangor recently enabled a near doubling of the number of welders allowed in and around a sensitive area on Ohio Class Submarines, adding capacity to this constrained resource.

Several advances enable this new capability:
• The DOD has many employees trained in principles of project management, process improvement, and industrial engineering. This knowledge should be leveraged to identify those constraints, which could yield the most significant gains for the mission, such as cycle time, schedule risk, and capacity.
• The ability to research state of the art methods and instrumentation, that would otherwise be isolated to academia or laboratory settings, can now be discovered through internet searches.
• The capability, price, and availability allow acquisition of the needed instruments and other equipment feasible even for a small command.
• Advances in computing and analytic software allow the networking and data logging of reading from these instruments at high sample rates, enabling the creation of accurate modeling of the effects of various industrial processes.

Even relatively small organizations can then utilize industrial engineering and process improvement practitioners within their command to assemble a team. At IMF ours is called the Technology Insertion Deployment Evaluation (TIDE) line team. This TIDE line engages with process, equipment, and system technical warrant holders to develop a test plan to capture data, and develop models to provide recommendations. The team then identifies testing opportunities in upcoming maintenance periods, and coordinates with production trades and shops, safety, engineering, planning and ship’s force to execute the actual test. Subject matter experts, managers, and qualified trades people are surged into the team for preparation, test execution, and post analysis as needed.

The TIDE line enables the evaluation of both old and new technologies, in both existing and new applications. This fast local response team is able to identify testing opportunities, share results with internal and external warrant holders, who in turn can improve overall maintenance results. These improvements benefit the maintenance activity, the warfighter and the Navy.
The IMF Bangor TIDE line has completed testing of welding, heat induction coating removal, and preliminary tests of plasma blast coating removal. Additional testing of weld, plasma blast and cold spray applications are planned.