Innovation Challenge wraps up with breakthrough ideas at Fleet Readiness Center Southeast
A new tool that ensures the safe and accurate installation and removal of aircraft fasteners earned the top spot at Fleet Readiness Center Southeast in the Naval Air Systems Command Innovation Challenge.
The repair of aircraft metal damaged by improperly installed or removed fasteners regularly cost the maintenance, repair and overhaul facility hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.
“Our kit can provide a more accurate method of fastener removal to the entire military; I foresee this used on aircraft carriers and out in the field,” said team lead Dennis Mccleary, an overhaul and repair supervisor at FRCSE. “This idea originated with me in Afghanistan, and just grew with the support of my team.
“I believe this is going to help the young Sailor, Soldier, Airman and Marine to supply a more quality product to the warfighter.”
The initiative at FRCSE is part of a wider effort by Naval Air Systems Command and Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers to harness the vast intellectual capacity of its workforce.
In May, leadership announced the challenge with cash awards for the top three finishers of $1,000 for third place, $1,500 for second place and $2,000 for the top spot. Employees responded with more than 80 submissions.
“We had a lot of submissions, and it took us months to evaluate them all,” FRCSE Commanding Officer Capt. Trent DeMoss said. “The number and quality of submissions shows the spirit of innovation is alive and well here at FRCSE.”
That spirit was also shown in the scope of submissions. The second place prize went to FRCSE Materials Engineer Peter Sheridan and his team for their electromagnetic interference shielding tape.
“We replaced our current electroplating process around the avionics bay doors with a conductive tape,” Sheridan said. “That’ll significantly reduce turnaround time from about 90 hours to about five hours, increasing speed to the fleet.”
Third place went to the team that is overseeing FRCSE’s transition from paper to digital technical publications. The publications provide artisans on the floor with exact specifications for maintenance processes. Since they are continuously updated, digital publications will save the Navy time and money, and give artisans the information they need to do their jobs.
Though the ideas were creative and the cash awards will be appreciated, the Innovation Challenge was about something more.
“This means speed to the fleet,” DeMoss said. “We can implement these projects and get the warfighter what they need faster.
“That’s what this was all about.”