The flame straightening process has been developed since 1940; however, the process at Ingalls Shipbuilding (Ingalls) was loosely controlled with the majority of procedural steps governed by the flame straightener performing the operation. Findings from initial research showed excessive heat, both in the size and temperature of the heat spots as well as the quantity of spots used to achieve flatness. The amount of heat involved drastically increased paint rework, delayed schedules, and affected the surrounding structural members causing crippled structures that must be cut out and replaced. Between operators or applications, the process also varied greatly which provided no measureable work scope and led to the tendency of the straighteners to apply far more heat than necessary to achieve panel flatness tolerances.

The Ingalls research team executed tasking that analyzed the current flame straightening process, quantified issues associated with overheating, tested a variety of different straightening patterns, and ultimately implemented a revised procedure. The new, more efficient procedure reduces the amount of heat spots required to achieve flatness tolerance with and thus decreases the process cost, minimizes heat input, and prevents damage caused by past practices.

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