Advanced Metalworking Solutions for
Naval Systems that Go in Harm's Way

Improved Cable Routing Tools

Easy-to-use, small, lightweight, portable tools will reduce the effort required to route cables aboard ship as well as decrease the associated injury claims for VCS. EB photo


This Navy Metalworking Center (NMC) project developed innovative solutions that will reduce labor costs and injury claims associated with installing electrical cables in VIRGINIA Class submarines (VCS).


In ship construction, the installation of electrical cable, or cable pulling, is an expensive, labor-intensive, and injury-prone operation.

Technical Approach

The Integrated Project Team (IPT) investigated cable routing process improvements in two areas. First, the IPT identified possible improvements and/or modifications to the current cable routing practices and methods at General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB) shipyards. Second, the IPT developed easy-to-use, small, lightweight, portable tools that can be used to pull portions or entire lengths of cables, decreasing the effort required for these operations whenever possible. The tools also reduce the amount of effort required to route cable through bends. Since these tools are not commercially available, the IPT worked with industry to generate concepts for consideration. Candidate concepts were down-selected for prototype development, evaluation, and implementation. Industry involvement not only provides viable options to the solution, but their engagement early in the project will help to identify a potential industry partner to support the technology commercialization.


The project’s objective is to reduce the labor hours associated with routing cables on new VCS construction by at least 10 percent. In addition to the labor reduction, the technology has the potential to reduce injury claims and medical costs.


Several tools were implemented at General Dynamics Electric Boat in December 2013; more tools are planned for near-term implementation.




Charles McNamara
Asst. Program Manager for Virginia Class Development and Modernization
Naval Sea Systems Command, PMS 450D


General Dynamics Electric Boat Corporation
PMS 450 Virginia Class Program Office