Mississippi State partners with Ingalls Shipbuilding to create heat safety device

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Mississippi State University and Ingalls Shipbuilding are partnering to develop a technological advancement that will help shipbuilders avoid heat-related injuries.

The college’s athlete engineering institute is collaborating with Mississippi’s largest manufacturing employer and supplier of U.S. Navy surface combatants, to build wearable CoolMitt devices, which cool individuals by circulating water at the ideal temperature in a specialized glove that, when worn, can pull heat from the body and rapidly cool the body’s core.

“Shipbuilding has a lot of unique challenges, whether those are high temperatures, changing conditions throughout the production timeline, or managing personal protective equipment,” Reuben Burch, MSU associate vice president for research, said. “Ingalls has been a great partner in this effort as we look to maximize both the performance and safety of the industrial athletes that are carrying out critical work on behalf of our country.”

With temperatures often reaching above 100 degrees during summer months in South Mississippi, where the Pascagoula shipbuilding center resides, experts say it is critical for shipbuilders to stay cool and hydrated.

“Safety is a top priority for our shipbuilders, and we are grateful for the work our partners at MSU are doing to assist us in our efforts to enhance the well-being of our team,” Alexis Moran, environmental engineer at Ingalls, said.

“The partnership with MSU has opened an opportunity to bring new innovations to the personal protection equipment that each of our shipbuilders need in order to conduct their jobs safely while also providing on-the-job experiences for students.”

Edward Hargrove, federal projects manager at AccelerateMS, adds that the solutions developed through this project will have benefits beyond the shipbuilding industry.

“AccelerateMS is proud to support this innovative collaboration between Mississippi State University’s Athlete Engineering Institute and HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding division through our MS-SHIPS DoD grant,” Hargrove said. “This partnership is aimed at enhancing the safety and productivity of our shipbuilders through advanced wearable technology. Together, we are driving forward new solutions that will benefit both our shipbuilding industry and defense manufacturing workforce as a whole.”

In addition to the athlete engineering institute’s full-time staff, Mississippi State student researchers are gaining experience developing solutions for real-world problems outside the shipbuilding industry.

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