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Title: Maintenance Products for Modern Maintainer

Author(s): Michelle E. Little, General Dynamics Electric Boat


Maintenance procedures have followed the same format for decades, containing written procedures, stagnant 2D drawings, and allowable parts lists. With a disproportionate number of skilled maintainers eligible for retirement within the next two decades, large amounts of “tribal knowledge” will be lost with their retirement. Integrating multiple learning modes through multimedia elements into maintenance documents will increase knowledge retention, reduce the knowledge gap, leverage the 3D product environment post-delivery, and modernize the maintenance world that modernizes the most advanced platforms in the navy. 

The current maintenance products such as maintenance requirement cards (PMS), maintenance standards, and unrestricted operations maintenance requirement cards all have a similar content structure. Written procedures, standard 2D drawings, and lists of replaceable parts are all captured in each document. This is incredibly outdated given the dynamic interactive environment that the future naval platforms are designed in and that was part of the early education of the current and future workforce. Shifting maintenance documents to be interactive and dynamic can increase knowledge retention. 

Methods for implementation can build upon the maintenance products developed and used today. The fastest way to implement would be to start revising current maintenance products to include multi-media elements such as 3D product model assembly and disassembly animations, audio clips of the written procedure, and recorded video clips of the workforce preparing to retire. Preserving the expertise of the retirement-ready workforce will preserve a potentially lost knowledge pool. These products can continue to evolve for a smooth transition to a younger workforce with the necessary skill sets to maintain our fleet. Integrating maintenance products into current 3D product model environments could deliver these enhanced products to the right person in an environment that provides greater access to all necessary documents. Follow on work will investigate integrating the maintenance products directly into the Ships’ Maintenance and Material Management (3-M) database, which would provide faster, easier, and more accurate maintenance history data, and potentially link to the supply chain while increasing reliability.