The National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) announced that it has been awarded a Defense Manufacturing Excellence Award at the Defense Manufacturing Conference being held in Nashville, Tenn. The award recognizes project teams in the defense manufacturing community that have significantly contributed to the understanding, development or application of manufacturing techniques, processes, methods, practices or management throughout the nation.

NCMS industry partners and the Commercial Technologies for Maintenance Activities (CTMA) initiative, under the auspices of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Materiel Readiness and Maintenance Policy, were recognized for their Enhanced Wiring Integrity Systems (EWIS) project.

The EWIS project was a four-year joint services collaborative NCMS project formed to address electrical wiring issues based on end-user input. Electronic wiring problems annually cause thousands of mission aborts and result in hundreds of thousands of hours where aircraft are not available for use. Wiring maintenance issues also consume several million maintenance work-hours a year. This project focused on the need to increase mission readiness at reduced cost by requiring less overall maintenance.

NCMS member companies Eclypse International (Corona, Calif.) and Sikorsky Aircraft Company (Stratford, Conn.) and the DoD joint services represented by Seymour Johnson Air Force Base (North Carolina), Navy Depot (Jacksonville, Fla.), Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (New Hampshire), North Island (San Diego), Tobyhanna Army Depot (Pennsylvania) and the Ogden Air Logistics Center (Utah) collaborated to make this project successful.

"The EWIS project is a great example of how NCMS member companies deliver quantifiable benefits to the military," said NCMS vice president Chuck Ryan. "Our cross industry collaborative projects deliver new technology that improves materiel readiness and reduces cost for the Department of Defense."

The most significant new technology used by the project team is the standing wave reflectometer (SWR), which is based on an NASA patent licensed to Eclypse International. This technology is embedded in an easy-to-use handheld meter that an operator can use to rapidly connect, detect and find hard faults in wiring assemblies. The data is then downloaded to a personal computer where SWR software is used to detect and find wiring faults within inches.

As a result, the joint service depot maintenance activities using the EWIS technology are successfully addressing three specific wiring problem areas: aircraft, dockside and shipboard cranes, and high-density electronic motherboards in transportable communication shelters. The EWIS tools are being deployed at additional sites as these problem areas are being addressed by the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marines. Significant cost, cycle time and reliability improvements are being realized by all users.

Widespread implementation of this technology is expected across the services because of the success of pilot programs which proved the capability of EWIS technology. Examples of demonstrated savings include:

·         The test and repair of circuit breaker panels on 24 EA-6B aircraft which resulted in savings of more than $950,000.

·         Troubleshooting wiring problems in mobile Army communication shelters was reduced by more than 50 percent, allowing more shelters to be available to the warfighter.

·         Identifying faulty relays in Navy dockside cranes avoided $60,000 per delay in submarine servicing costs while in dry dock.

For more information about EWIS, contact NCMS Program Manager, Lee Patch at 734-995-4972 or customercare@ncms.org or visit http://www.ncms.org/.