MH-60 Gunners Seat
Design for manufacturability and proceed directly to full rate production
The Navy’s seat design was not yet finalized as it came to KIHOMAC, so we offered to help refine the technical data package to improve producibility in full rate production. KIHOMAC understands the rapid manufacturing environment required for critical parts supply. As the test article (and full rate production) manufacturer we felt it was our job to ensure that the final design would satisfy all requirements while being cost effective and delivered on time.
We treated this as a legacy part. The first thing we did was review the non-recurring engineering to better understand where the part would change from prototype to test article. We wanted to ensure that any changes would be fully incorporated into the Technical Data Package (TDP). Next, we ordered long lead material. We did this knowing that the technical data package was not fully complete. It was a calculated risk that would save time to test article production – and thus save another sailor from back problems down the road. When KIHOMAC works reverse engineering, we understand that many legacy parts do not match their technical data. In the case of the gunner seats, these were new build items. But we still checked for incorrect dimensions, conflicting and erroneous requirements (such as load requirements), and tolerances that might be too tight for intended operation. When we understood design intent, we could help make the design better, and be reasonably sure that if we ordered long lead material that it would not go to waste.
Design, then manufacture
The Navy has been working to redesign today’s Gunner Seats and provide more vibration isolation during flight, and shock absorption to reduce landing impact loads to the gunner crews. They commissioned another small business to create a new design. This was a good design for prototyping the seats. But it was incomplete for test article and full rate production.