A team from NSWC PHD recently worked with Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Pacific on the first full ship scan of an LPD-class ship using the laser light sensing technology known as lidar—the first step in a 3D scanning project proposal being developed by a coalition of multiple warfare centers.
From an article in NAVSEA by Teri Carnicelli.
A cross-warfare center team based in San Diego spent nearly two months scanning inside and outside USS San Diego (LPD 22) in order to create a 3D digital model that can be used for, among other things, cost savings when ships go into availability for new installations or repairs.
Many installation teams rely on drawings generalized for an entire ship class but which do not capture minor dimensional or configuration differences between ships—from clearances to bulkhead locations to equipment in use. This can cause significant challenges during an installation.
“You have different lifecycles of a ship, and each has a different configuration,” said Jason “JD” Basden, Reality Capture project manager with the NIWC Pacific RESTORE Lab. “You have as designed, as built, as delivered, and as is. Ship configurations are constantly evolving and effectively tracking all of those changes throughout a ship’s 40 years of service has been a challenge for the Navy.”
Redesign, equipment tear-outs and rework due to inaccurate design specifications can result in contract modifications, cost overruns and redelivery delays.
“Every ship is unique; the measurements and space layout can be very different,” Basden said. “What is in a space can be different. You can walk into a computer room on one ship, and that same space on another could be a weight-lifting room.”
Lidar point cloud data modernizes the processes used by the Navy to design, plan and execute lifecycle maintenance.
“PHD has been doing targeted lidar scanning of individual spaces and systems for the past two years, but we wanted to demonstrate what lidar technology does at an enterprise level,” said Jason Bickford, NSWC PHD research manager and In-Service Engineering Agent of the Future (ISEAotF) engineering lead.
“In alignment with ISEAotF objectives of developing enterprise capabilities and pulling as many collaborators into our tech transitions, we conceptualized this full-ship scan prior to a major availability period to show the utility for the wider modernization community and expose as many stakeholders to the technology as possible,” Bickford explained. “This is all about demonstrating value to improving readiness and cost; we need to continue building a demand signal so that lidar data becomes a standard data item delivered to Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA).”
Lt. Cmdr. Todd Coursey, ISEAotF military lead, began experimenting with lidar technology when he was with Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center in 2016, and made it a priority when he came to NSWC PHD.
“Lidar is a gateway to numerous downstream digital applications; many people across the Navy can leverage the data to transform their execution,” Coursey said. “New opportunities to employ the data are constantly emerging, such as augmented and virtual reality, remote tech assists and virtual training. This is an exciting time and we are at a moment of real technology transition that will directly impact the fleet.”
The first objective of the Naval Innovation Science and Engineering (NISE) 219-funded 3D scanning project was to establish a cross-warfare center team. Seven of the 10 Warfare Centers jumped at the opportunity to support this transformational initiative, with PHD and NIWC Pacific taking the lead on the full ship scan of LPD 22.
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