NORFOLK – Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable Richard V. Spencer, made his first visit to Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) Feb. 20. Spencer met with shipyard leadership to learn about NNSY’s optimization plan, facility needs and employee training and development programs.
Spencer took a tour of the structural, mechanical and piping departments where shipyarders perform vital work servicing the Atlantic Fleet. He visited a Continuous Training and Development (CTD) area for welders and shipfitters, learning how apprentices start their careers entrenched in training and gradually ramp up responsibilities to support ship work as they progress in their four-year apprenticeships. A CTD centerpiece in the structural department is the Learning Center 1, a multipurpose mock-up where employees apply classroom learning in a customizable hands-on training area that Welding Superintendent Chris Comar said provides “a prototypical shipboard environment where it’s safe to fail.”
NNSY Piping Group Superintendent John Tuthill discussed how 800 personnel perform piping work at the shipyard, with equipment such as a pipe bending machine dating back to 1948 and requiring four to five persons to operate. Seventy-year-old equipment was juxtaposed with cutting-edge tools such as the FARO Arm, a coordinate measuring machine that can perform shipboard measurements to within a thousandth of an inch. Having already been used on USS La Jolla (SSN 701) and USS Rhode Island (SSBN 740), the FARO Arm provides great savings in servicing the Fleet by replacing piping systems with pinpoint accuracy. The piping group’s transition from analog to digital equipment has reduced some jobs that formerly required three business days to now taking four hours.
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Source: Michael Brayshaw | Norfolk Naval Public Affairs