Original Date: 07/21/2003
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Automated Weld Process Statusing System
Electric Boat Corporation, Quonset Point Facility has moved from a manual, hand-written paper system which provides instructions for weld activities to the development of an integrated software suite of applications for the full management and scheduling of all weld operations in submarine manufacture. A specific tool of the software suite is the Automated Weld Process Statusing System, an invaluable resource in improving productivity and awareness for all welding personnel and management.
Electric Boat Corporation, Quonset Point Facility (EBQP) established an Automated Weld Process Statusing System (AWPSS) to improve welding operations for the manufacture of submarines. This system has been integrated into a suite of software packages for reporting, tracking, and scheduling of all operations associated with welding. The AWPSS system was specifically developed by EBQP to address and eliminate the inefficiencies of a hand-written, paper documentation/tracking system for weld processing.
Prior to AWPSS, instructions for welding were performed by a manual process known as the “Chit” system. Small, colored-coded forms (“Chit sheets”) indicating material type to be welded were written by the supervisor to direct the welding operator. The supervisor was responsible for researching data to ensure that the operator was qualified for the operation, determining the proper weld procedure, and verifying the selection of weld wire. Since this task was done daily for many weld operators in each working shift, the assignment of work to the operators became a time-consuming, complex task which easily introduced human error into the process.
Continuous improvement activity at EBQP led to the AWPSS system. This system greatly reduced the margin of error in obtaining the requisite information to perform all weld activity. The manual writing of “Chits” has been eliminated and replaced with computer-prompted forms from a database for weld procedures, specifications, and operator qualifications. The system readily provides the weld operator a job ticket with all applicable parameters to complete the weld operation. Also, the supervisor can choose from a variety of approved weld techniques, processes, positions, and fill wire type for each weld joint to either match operator qualification or optimize quality and performance. Since the inception of the system, welding quality has improved, and preparation time for welding has decreased from two hours to five minutes. The AWPSS has been the cornerstone of EBQP’s Weld Quality Accountability model of operation.
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