Ship construction and modernization costs for naval vessels are escalating and becoming unaffordable relative to authorized funding levels. The Navy and its contractors must find new and innovative ways to reduce the cost of ship system design and upgrades. The current engineering processes for layout, production planning, and management of cable installations for electrical power and signals of Navy vessels are extremely complex and time consuming, taking hundreds of thousand man-hours for large naval combatants. Millions of feet of cabling are required to support the advanced and highly sophisticated systems now common to most ships of the U.S. Navy. While in the last thirty years 3D CAD packages and multi-physics analysis have become common in the design of ships, the cable route validation, production planning, and installation management for ships has remained unchanged: a labor-intensive process that cannot meet the current cost and schedule demands. In fact, the current cable management processes found in U.S. shipyards is not integrated and there are no tools currently available that address the complete process from validation to final production planning.

A two-year National Shipbuilding Research Program (NSRP) project began in late 2011 focusing on the adaptation, enhancement, and customization of wiring application software applicable to all ship programs to reduce cost and time for validation of cable layout design, creation of wiring and signal schematics, generation of production work packages, progressing the installation of hangers and cables, and the generation of test procedures. The project builds upon a proven wiring and cable management solution developed by TechnoSoft and successfully deployed on military aircraft. The same basic approach applies to a complex ship design with the potential to save millions of dollars based on the Navy’s shipbuilding plan. Newport News Shipbuilding in conjunction with TechnoSoft is customizing the wiring application software and plans to validate the application on the first ship of a new aircraft carrier class (CVN 78) with the intent of deploying it on numerous ship acquisition and modernization programs. CVN 78 includes hundreds of systems for power, communication, and control. These systems are connected through wire ways with more than fourteen million feet of cables over thousands of hangers. The validation and updates of the cables’ layout and hangers, the generation of the schematic drawings, installation drawings, and work packages along with the planning and tracking of the installation schedules is estimated to take hundreds of thousands of man-hours. The application will be used on the CVN 78 in parallel with the current “as-is” process on at least five cable systems to validate the application and to provide metrics against a baseline design process.

Expected benefits resulting from the application development include a fifty percent reduction in initial deployment and a ninety percent reduction in the work associated with design modifications. This paper will document savings realized to date via the deployment of the application on CVN 78 and report on the progress towards transitioning this technology on different ship programs.

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