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

Automated Manufacturing Cell for Repetitive Assemblies

A manufacturing work cell that automates and / or mechanizes various processes will reduce costs, improve ergonomics and quality, and increase throughput on multiple naval platforms. Ingalls photo


Applying work cell principles and planning, mechanization, and automation to the manufacture of parts such as ladders, railing, aircraft tie-downs, manhole covers, and lifting lugs will allow products to be produced more efficiently and improve part quality resulting in reduced costs. The anticipated savings will be realized by a significant reduction in the manual labor to produce these assemblies, along with improved material handling and ergonomics, and the reduced rework associated with implementing a mechanized / automated manufacturing work cell.


The Navy Metalworking Center (NMC) is conducting a ManTech project that will improve efficiency at the Ingalls Shipbuilding (Ingalls) Industrial Products Division (IPD) shop, which fabricates hundreds of relatively small, high-volume parts per ship, mostly through manual labor at individual stations throughout the facility.

Technical Approach

The Integrated Project Team (IPT) will initially evaluate current processes and perform workflow analyses to identify part families and associated processes to target for automation / mechanization. NMC and Ingalls will establish prototype work cell requirements that will be used to develop automated work cell concepts for the highest priority and ranking part families. NMC will work with Ingalls to design flexible fixtures that accommodate the variation of geometries between platforms and part families that are produced in the work cell. The concepts will be down-selected and developed to demonstrate the manufacturing cell benefits.


Implementation of mechanized or automated processes in conjunction with a work cell approach to manufacture small assemblies is estimated to result in an annual savings of $1.4M across all platforms constructed at Ingalls, i.e., DDG 51, LHA, LPD, and NSC.


The results of this project are expected to be implemented during the fourth quarter of FY16.




Gregory Pierson
Program Executive Office Ships PMS 400D