NCEL Develops New Multi-Function Tool For Naval Diver Use

The first seawater hydraulic multi- function tool system ever developed for Navy divers has been approved for Navy use by the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA).

The acceptance marks the culmination of a major 10-year research and development effort by the Naval Civil Engineering Laboratory (NCEL), Port Hueneme, Calif.

NCEL project engineer Bruce Farber said the system consists of several subsystems, including (1) a self-contained power supply, (2) portable band saw, (3) rotary disc grinder, (4) rotary impact wrench/ drill, and (5) rock drill. Three systems will be delivered to the Navy Underwater Construction teams early next year.

A revolutionary 3- by 3- by 21/2- inch underwater hydraulic motor, that uses seawater instead of oil as the working fluid, was the first component of the system to be developed. Mr. Farber said seawater hydraulics offer many advantages over oil, such as no environmental pollution, dramatic reduction of tool maintenance requirements, and elimination of fire hazards and slippery oil on decks.

Perhaps the biggest advantages are enhanced equipment capabilities. There is no need for a return hose and less pump power is required. NCEL's research divers have found that reduced back pressure gives them the ability to work at greater depths. They also learned that the more flexible single-hose system was easier to handle.

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