Naval Sea Systems Command’s Industrial Operations Transformation Office, PSNS & IMF, Norfolk Naval Shipyard and Carrier Team One have partnered with BILT Incorporated, creator of the 3D interactive BILT app, to take ship maintenance and fleet readiness to the next level.
“The app is intuitive, easy to use and can be accessed via mobile devices,” said Tonya Shuler, Innovation and Technology lead, Code 200, Engineering and Planning Department. “Mechanics and engineers are able to access the work instructions when and where they need it.”
Rather than flat, two-dimensional drawings and graphics, end-users can now see schematics and models on the app in 3D, which allows them to manipulate visual tools. Employees can rotate images 360 degrees as well as enlarge and minimize as needed. This added flexibility enables those working on the equipment to zero in on specific areas at specific angles to ensure clear understanding of the task at hand. An added benefit is that a simple tap of the graphic pops up more detailed information about the particular part or tool.
“The app takes the guesswork out of the job with clearly defined tools, steps, safety warnings and more,” Shuler said.
She noted that the app is being tested and piloted in certain areas of the shipyard with several more being launched in the coming months. Teammates will be able to provide feedback, and adjustments to the app can be made as needed.
“We are piloting this app in the breaker shop with step-by-step work instructions to walk mechanics through the assembly and disassembly of two different breakers,” Shuler said.
The early reviews of the app are positive.
“About two-thirds of my crew are actively working on their qualifications, a process which takes three to five years,” said Chris Kealiher, supervisor, Model Line Circuit Breakers, Shop 51, Marine Electricians. “A visual representation of step-by-step instructions on one of our most time consuming and labor intensive subassemblies has helped a lot, especially with the lack of space.”
“This works better than a standing visual display, oversized tech manual or multiple build books,” he said. “The information is right at the crew’s fingertips.”
Other work groups throughout the command are also being looped in to improve these training and delivery processes even more.
“We are also integrating additive manufacturing technology by 3D printing a scaled down version of the parts and pieces associated with the BILT App valve job,” said Shuler. “These 3D printed parts will be used alongside the BILT App to demonstrate the ease of the job when this app technology is utilized.”
“We fully expect to see an increase in first-time quality along with a reduction in the time necessary to train our new employees,” Shuler said.
Since the app is self-pacing with play and pause features, users can approach complex projects safely and efficiently. Instructions are downloaded on mobile devices so Wi-Fi access is not necessary. Everything is at the employee’s fingertips.
The initiative falls under the umbrella of the command’s Mobile Workforce Enablement team, a group that works to enable users to have the right information when and where they need it. The BILT app ties in with MWE’s mission since it’s mobile and can be used shipboard, around the docks and in the shops.
“Since the start of this initiative roughly two years ago, our team has been engaged,” said Shuler. “We’ve learned together and solved problems together. We believe in this technology and what it will do for our workforce and the fleet.”