WRT-1045: Digital Engineering Implications on Decision Making Process
Report Number: SERC-2022-TR-010
Publication Date: 2023-07-10
Project: Principal Investigators:
Technology has changed the way Reliability, Maintainability and Availability (RMA) must be addressed. Greater complexity of the components ultimately means more complex breadth of tasks and the need for advanced warnings of failure probability. Complexity, randomness and emergence from multiple perspectives prevalent in the conceptualization and understanding the system in operation will also compound RMA practices. MSC has taken a revitalized approach to maintenance strategies — one that will better align with today’s digital evolution, sensor-based innovations, strict compliance mandates and escalating customer demands. It is more than just understanding the parts and aggregate of the parts but also the perspectives for how the aggregate must function in operations and the requisite decisions space necessary to maintain mission.
MSC has invested considerable capital and resources in responding to the Digital Engineering Strategy. Military Sealift Command (MSC), is actively employing digital engineering techniques to transform engineering practice within their ship maintenance division. Digital Engineering (DE) provides a unique opportunity for system resilience; its probative nature providing the ability to holistically interpret a problem domain over time and within context aide in the maintenance of a system and can be considered a critical component to pursuing Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM).
The importance of maintenance function has increased due to its role in keeping and improving the availability, product quality, safety requirements and operating cost levels. Accordingly, maintenance strategy selection has become one of the most important decision making activity in the industry. To rapidly infuse advanced technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Internet of Things (IoT), Digital Twin (DT), 3D printing, etc., and to gain and maintain advantages into the rapidly changing digital and connected environment, the US Department of Defense (DoD) delivered their Digital Engineering Strategy. The research is focused on MSC's implementation of DES in regards to a proactive RCM strategy and effective decision making and Reliability, Availability, Maintainability (RAM).
To this end MSC in collaboration with Old Dominion University (ODU) and Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) are working towards a general approach to implement an RCM strategy that will improve decision making at all levels of command activities. The magnitude of discerning fleet availability is broad and complex often requiring adopting new tools and processes to improve maintenance effectiveness and efficiencies. Navigating through the emerging technologies to know which is best suited to MSC's needs is daunting. Research and proof-of-concept are prudent activities before investing large sums of money on processes, techniques, and tools that are not fully vetted to meet the unique demands of MSC. The primary role for ODU and NPS is to research emerging capabilities to minimize the risk of introducing cutting edge technologies or processes into an operational venue or expending funds for a technology that ultimately does not meet mission. Ultimately, this research assists MSC with formalizing technologies and processes into the current development of their RCM strategy and decision making. The scope of this research included research into convert images into a 2D vector file and digitizing text images into a binary file, theoretical development for a bounding construct (conceptual bounding) using an open system model, and theoretical development of a decision space that supports human machine compatibility in a Digital Twin Environment.