Members of the welding team pictured here are credited with utilizing a new process improvement that resulted in first-time quality.

Shipbuilders Use New Process to Deliver First-Time Quality

Published May 8, 2024

A group of welders from Newport News Shipbuilding’s Joint Manufacturing and Assembly Facility (JMAF) were recently recognized for first-time quality while incorporating a new process improvement.

“All craftsmen and leaders put forth the effort to take this process improvement and get excellent results,” said X18 General Foreman Kevin Williams. “It was a group effort.”

The team – which included shipbuilders from different shifts – completed more than 500 inches of weld for a Virginia-class submarine impulse tank. Following ultrasonic testing (UT), the rejection rate beat expectations at less than 2%.

“Along with the UT success, they were also able to improve processes by using a mechanized MIG weld process and mechanized carbon arcing for the first time that I’m aware of,” said X18 Foreman Kyle Morgan.

Additional members of the welding team that were recognized.

To prepare shipbuilders to use the new process, X18 Foreman Nicholas Herman and Danny Page (X18) created a mock-up that replicated the impulse tank for training. “The training increased their confidence and made them comfortable with the equipment we hadn’t used previously on this particular job,” Morgan said.

Shipbuilders who contributed to the success included Herman, Page, Joshua Grizzle (X18), Michael Williams Jr. (X18), Lorenzo Flemming (X18), Stefin Piechowski (X18), Josian Rosario (X18), James Sessoms (X18), Jesse Ray (X18), Randall Taylor (X18), Louis Jones (X18) and Marlon Rodgers (X18).

“This is the future,” Grizzle said.

The team is looking forward to building on their success.

“It’s cool being part of a process being used for the first time that will possibly become a new standard,” Michael Williams Jr. said.