Taking a prototype through the wind tunnel has always been a significant cost. The more iterations required, the more simulation testing, the higher the cost of development.
Ideally, the more you can simulate the better off you will be, but how can we afford to do this? How does simulation interrupt the process? Is there a way to continue making progress while simulation is being done?
There are many new tools available to offer industrial designers the ability to simulate independently.
Professional simulation is still a necessity, but with these new tools designers can conduct some basic testing and analysis throughout the design process without having to stop what they are doing, and duplicate the resources required in order to do so.
Computational Fluid Dynamics offers testing in two categories: aerodynamics and heat transfer. The use for aerodynamics is pretty straightforward, limiting drag is one of many ways we can improve efficiency. Determining how the lines and curves can be tweaked to allow air to flow over and under aircraft helps designers by providing immediate, actionable feedback.
The ability to make adjustments and test in real time allows designers to be more accurate earlier in the design process.. Another application for fluid dynamics testing is heat transfer. This is especially important in mechanical engineering.
Simulation of the mechanical components allows you to properly test the impact that heat can have on the performance of particular parts. Say for example, plastic is being used to replace a traditionally steel part, but can only handle a certain amount of heat. Fluid dynamics analysis can identify points of failure or areas that have to be insulated to protect certain parts from high amounts of heat. Not only can it cause a part to fail, but it could also cause warping depending on the heat/material used, or be dangerous if the hot parts are too close to a worker.
Parts are stress-tested. As an example, bumpers and siding in the event of collision is a common application for this type of simulation. This is especially important as alternative materials are used where there is limited experience for specific parts. Often times components need to factor in both thermal stress as well as pressure loading due to normal use. Although engineers know the mathematical formulas to calculate key performance, incorporating simulation allows an algorithm to validate the design or identify points that require modification.
In recent years, the tools mentioned above have not only become available to designers and engineers, but have become affordable as well. There is no real replacement for crash-testing and wind tunnels, but a lot can be done in earlier phases of design to reduce the number of times these real-world simulations are required.
Simulating early and often can help identify issues early, reducing the amount of rework that inevitably flows downstream. Similar to 3D rendering, these simulation tools improve the design and communication process, helping to reduce the number of iterations of the traditional tried and true methods.
Our new Design workshop space will showcase the technology from start to finish.
Every new technology comes with a learning curve, but we don’t want that to keep our customers from exploring what’s possible with our tools.
Every manufacturer should be able to consider new and better ways to make things, and that’s why we’re opening a new workshop space to show our customers what generative design is, how they can use it and how it’s going to change the future of manufacturing.
Generative design is our AI-based technology that uses design constraints like weight, strength and manufacturing method entered by the engineer to generate a set of solutions that fit within those constraints. Rather than coming up with a design and performing simulation studies to ensure it works, generative design takes the guesswork out of the process, letting designers and engineers use more of their creative potential because they already know the solutions are sound.
It’s an incredible tool to have at your fingertips, but it’s also a different approach that offers a new way to tackle design problems. That gave us another reason to create a place where people could come to kick the tires on the technology.
The Field Lab is equipped with state-of-the art machinery so that customers can see how to design, prototype and make products in real time. Today’s manufacturers have a lot of options when it comes to making their parts—from tried-and-true CNC machines to the newest 3D printers on the market.
Generative design allows a user to select their preferred manufacturing processes right from the beginning, so they can be sure that whichever solution they choose will be manufacturable with the equipment they have at their disposal.
We are excited about the ability for our team to explore more design options from the beginning and iterate more quickly. “We do a lot of iteration when designing parts, but sometimes it’s not going very fast in the time cycle that we have. The product that we get at the end may not be exactly what we want as far as the product spec, but we get as close as we can.
As our products get more complicated, we’re going to have to look at new methods and new tools, and that’s why we’re here at the Generative Design Field Lab. We’re ready to test new things like generative design and additive manufacturing because that’s how we’re going to become even better in our industry.”
“To move manufacturing forward, we need to be thinking about the entire product life cycle, and that starts with the earliest stages of design. We can make things today that weren’t possible before because we are bringing solutions to the table by walking people through the whole process of design to make—is such an important part of us delivering on our mission and vision.”
With our continued Repair Shop process improvements, Marines have the opportunity to better support the requirements of the Fleet without compromising current operational maintenance needs, while ensuring long term readiness of its surface force.
The process was not set up for success. We were not scheduling inspections at the right point We consistently did not executing the class maintenance plan and the tools commanders have to ensure the plan is executed consistently were not strong enough.
So, we've had problems there. The expert capability to identify the easy stuff was not even there.”
We are studying creation of a formalised aviation maintenance schoolhouse. Currently, each wing has its own processes. We have begun "breaking down and tracking every dime" in Engineering & Logistics budget. "We've never had it to that level of fidelity, but we're doing that now.” We have great maintainers, but how do you make sure they stay? And how do you make more of them?"
Implementation of certification process improvements has only been in place for a short time, but a huge payback has been realised. Not only has the technical discipline of work and work certification during availabilities been strengthened the process “gaps” or problem areas are now visible, permitting development of corrective actions and implementation strategies.
Event certification has led to improvement in how availability work packages are defined and improvement of the technical management of work in execution and more effective integration of testing.
Establishing the certification process as the core foundation for maintenance availability planning and execution will guarantee a greater technical discipline in work planning; repair accomplishment and adherence to availability schedules, all of which are necessary to stabilise what has been a very dynamic maintenance planning and budgeting process.
With the depots unable to keep up with the demand for maintenance from aircraft carriers and submarines, those in the maintenance, engineering and fleet teams are looking for any solutions to help ease the backlog of work. And while better advance planning alone won’t solve the problem, the officials say, the situation cannot be resolved without improvements in planning.
To that end, a maintenance planning summit brought together carrier, submarine and surface ship maintenance planners to discuss best practices. One of the action items from the planning summit is to go back and look at, are we in some cases we don’t have the right balance between condition-based maintenance and a more time-directed model.
Take example of tanks, we have enough data to know that when this type of vehicle comes in for this type of availability and the age of the fleet component is this, We know statistically know we’re probably going to have to go work on X number of tanks,”
“Today what we do is say, go inspect the tanks, and then go open them up and I find out you got to go work on them. That means we have to go get material and do the engineering work and we are starting the work late so we need to do the engineering, load those resources into the plan.
We are working hard to improve contracting process, getting requirements for work and materials to the depots farther in advance. “We are also attempting to improve our forecasting for material procurement. So we want to buy our supplies and work to forecast our material needs earlier and order earlier.
“So that will help, including developing a rotatable pool of equipment. So instead of removing a component like a electrical breaker, remove it and repair it – instead of doing that, just remove it and replace it with a new breaker or a refurbished breaker.”
We’re also paying closer attention to the resources available at the depots compared to the resources required to complete an availability on time. The office has implemented “weekly, if not daily reviews of maintenance availabilities with senior leadership in the effort to ensure we have the right resources applied when needed to execute these availabilities on time at the depots .
And where we don’t have these resources, we’ve been reaching out to our industry partners and contracting – whether it’s one of the lead maintenance providers topside– we’ve been reaching out to industry to shore up resources in yards during availabilities to deliver on time.”
A second key idea that came out of the planning summit was to create a faster feedback loop to inform technical foundation papers that inform each ship class’s maintenance plans.
“We need a tighter learning circle.”
The technical foundation directives are going to be updated – and completed and reviewed each year in coordination with the budget process. The carrier, submarine and surface ship planning organisations will also work together to ensure real-time information-sharing as they improve their own planning efforts, and they will meet regularly to share lessons and measure progress.
Planning will never be 100-percent accurate, but that the data exists to make more informed decisions we are making today. “We may not be able to predict everything, but current estimates are unacceptable.
DoD Reporting of Depot Maintenance Funding Allocations puts Goals for 50/50 Workload Balance between Private and DoD Work Sites at Risk”
Reporting of expenditures instead of obligations by DoD depots presents an inaccurate picture of depot maintenance allocations since the amounts differ. For the most part, the allocation percentages for budgeted funds represent obligation amounts obtained from DoD financial accounting systems. However, in reporting the amount of depot maintenance funds allocated to the private sector, some reporting organisations used expenditures rather than obligations as required by official guidance.
For example, several depots we visited reported their subcontracted depot-level maintenance work as expenditures rather than obligations. Reasons given by depot officials for reporting expenditures rather than obligations include :
Workload against obligated funds may not have been fully performed during the fiscal year, so the depot believed reporting expenditures was a better reflection of the actual workload.
Depot did not know obligations were to be reported instead of expenditures; and many work orders can be associated with a multiyear contract, so the depot believed that reporting expenditures would be a better representation of the costs associated with multiyear contracts for the fiscal year in question.
Depots said producing types of information we suggested would require a massive undertaking and may be of limited value. We disagreed and, on the basis of the response, and assigned the matter for oversight consideration.
Because DoD has limited visibility over the allocation of private/public funds in some interservice agreements and direct sales agreements, inaccurate reporting of the depot maintenance workload allocation may result.
Interservice workload agreements refer to work that is performed by one DoD component for another. Official guidance requires that the service departments establish measures to ensure correct accounting of interservice workloads; however the allocation of these funds may not always be accurately reported. We found instances where a service awarded depot maintenance work to another military service, which then contracted out a portion of that workload to the private sector.
The military service awarding the work, as principal owner of the funds, inaccurately reported this as public workload because it had not inquired whether all the awarded work was performed at the DoD depot.
While we were unable to fully evaluate the extent of inaccurate reporting associated with interservice agreements, until the service departments establish sufficient measures to accurately account for and report their distribution of depot maintenance workload reporting information will continue to be inaccurate.
Limited visibility over direct sales agreements is another reason why the depot maintenance workload allocation may be inaccurately reported. A direct sales agreement involves private vendors contracting back to DoD maintenance facility for labor to be performed by depot employees.
We found that the reporting of the distribution of private/DoD sector workload for direct sales agreements may not be accurate. With a direct sales agreement, there is no requirement for the *private vendor to identify and break out the contract costs, such as materials and other factors of production, and allocate them to expenses performed by the private vendor or the DoD depot.
We found the use of direct sales agreements may have resulted in an overstatement of private-sector funds, and understatement of DoD sector funds. In addition, we found similar instances where work performed by DoD sector under a direct sales agreement with a private vendor may have been misreported as being performed by the private sector.
Although we were unable to fully evaluate the extent to which costs associated with these types of contract agreements were misreported, until private vendors break out direct sales agreement costs by the private and DoD sectors, DoD reporting of funding allocations to maintain a 50/50 workload between private and DoD job sites may remain inaccurate.
Reporting agencies did not always provide accurate information for the Core Report because they do not have clear guidance on issues such as how to report additional depot workload performed that has not been identified as a core requirement, accurately capture inter-service workload, calculate shortfalls, and estimate cost of planned workload.
Services organise and aggregate their capability information by categories of equipment and technologies known as work breakdown structure categories. The work breakdown structure category is a grouping of work associated with DoD’s weapon systems and equipment.
DoD uses these categories to organise information on its various core capability requirements and workloads. The work breakdown structure can be expressed at any level of detail down to the lowest-level part, such as a bolt.
Our experienced staff can help you with the logistics of any project. We can assist in planning your repair, what may be needed and make sure that the process goes smoothly. We aim to make sure you aren't left stranded without parts or the tools needed to complete a job once started.
We have a professional shop available to any unit that wants to do their own work and save money doing it. Our rates are much less than the independent shops and we offer professional grade tools.
Our Shop has online access to the same repair manuals that the pros use, updated constantly and available at modern workstations. An important facet of our business model is that customers can blend their jobs to include multiple pricing models for any one job – providing flexibility and saving money in the process.
The stability of our model should allow us to attract some of the best in the industry, and as a result, more senior staff will be available. One of our biggest differences is that we are a top-notch technical repair facility. We know field units have to have the ability to bring their own parts into theatre and to do their own repairs. We provide education, mechanical assistance, facility and tools.
Without context, work orders can be a difficult thing to deal with. On the other hand, smart work order tracking—which will explain the what’s and how’s of the most common problems—can yield a number of benefits.
First, it can lead to lower costs. Second, it can produce a more productive workforce. In the delicate balancing act of facilities administration, these two things are very important goals. To help you achieve them, here are the most important questions to help you ensure that your work order system is efficient.
What’s Ordered Most Often? Look at what problems pop up the most often. Is it an overflowing tank? Faulty electrical fixtures? A stuck button? It may be tempting to use a quick and temporary fix for these problems to save time and money. However, if there’s a problem that’s recurring, it will most likely cost you less in the long run to order an extensive inspection of the problem area. Those quick fixes may seem cheap now, but repeat them enough times and they can be a big expense overall.
How Long Does It Take to Fix It? Tracking the time needed to complete each order can help you improve how you use your maintenance team. For example, let’s say there’s an elevator malfunctioning on a ship. If you track how long it takes a maintenance worker to fix it, you can better plan how you’ll dispatch the team the next time the issue occurs. This will be especially key for large depots, where multiple work orders are generated each day.
How Often Is It Ordered? If you have multiple units complaining about the same item in the office, that may be a sign that you need to purchase new assets. If the desk chairs on the Titanic keep breaking, it may be time to look at a brand of chairs that are more sturdy. If you receive multiple complaints about ALIS not working on the F-35, that may be a sign to order new systems.
While it’s understandable that you want to get the most value out of your assets, once they’ve outlived their usefulness, they can be a roadblock for productivity, and therefore have a negative impact on the field unit bottom line.
How Quickly Is the Order Filled? Another important part of tracking work orders is knowing how much time passes between the order’s submission and its completion. This will vary according to different factors, including the problem’s complexity, the field units size, the methods used for generating your work orders, etc. Still, regardless of your field unit’s specific situation, you want to make sure that you streamline the process as much as possible so that interruptions to the staff’s workday do not continue longer than they have to.
How Does Communication Flow? For large field units that don’t have an efficient work order system, it can be easy for communication about a problem to break down or get mixed up. How are your work orders submitted and processed? Is information passed via electonics, paper, or word of mouth? If a worker submits an order, do they know when the order has been processed?
Also how does the maintenance team know how to prioritise each order? In a shop where a worker’s wondering why the request they submitted months ago hasn’t been answered and your maintenance teams are unhappy because they just got an urgent order when they already had a busy day ahead of them, and both are calling you to complain...well, that’s not good situation for anyone involved.
1. We teach and assist units that are willing to “turn the wrench” so that they can experience significant repair savings – providing as much or as little assistance as the customer needs.
2. We provide our Repair Shops service today in an large hangar bay facility to allow our customers to significantly reduce the costs of repair
3. We help field units understand more about their vehicle through instructional classes, and empowering them to control vehicle maintenance costs.
4. We include in our model vehicle lift, tools, pneumatic air tools, workbench, mats, and lights. Shop supplies are included in the price.
5. Vehicle fluids e.g., oil, brake fluid, radiator fluid and parts are marked up on average over cost.
6. Mechanic assistance in diagnosing the vehicle provides education and guidance on how to repair the item, and assist units in making the repair as needed.
7. We make sure facilities are always open generating more availability, and less staff required.
8. We take advantage of technology to optimise our scheduling with customers using Shop Automation system
9. We track the average amount of time it takes a customer to repair a vehicle
10. We are always on call to fix emergency unplanned repairs encountered by most field units living from appropriation to appropriation.