Line Heating System (2000-042)
- Atlantic Marine
- Edison Welding Institute
July 1999 - January 2002
Industry Investment: $268K
Develop a complete line heating system that can be used by shipyards to efficiently and accurately form complex shapes in typical plate sections. The line heating method will convert what is essentially an art form practiced by skilled craftsmen into a predictable metal forming method.
This project developed and demonstrated a semi-automatic method to form plates using the application of heat from an oxy-fuel torch. The project included a device to hold the torch, predictive software and recommendations on heat line patterns required to produce several shapes of interest. Shipyards typically rely on manual trial-and-error work by experienced craftsmen to form metal shapes. Widespread interest in the ability to accurately predict and induce curvature in plate is evidenced by the large volume of research that has been dedicated to this area, as well as ongoing attempts both in Europe and Asia to develop and implement this technology. The streamlined finite element modeling technique developed as a part of this NSRP effort has vastly improved the speed of the computation; however, the time needed to predict the desired curvature limits the process. Through the use of a line heating device, what once was a manual process taking multiple days to complete based on trial and error is now a semi-automated process that takes approximately four hours, a dramatic improvement but still short of the 20 minute goal of the project. This aspect of the project was further pursued in a follow-on project, CNC Thermal Plate Forming, funded by the Office of Naval Research through the ManTech Centers of Excellence.
An additional technique used in manual line heating, which is being addressed in the follow-on project, is the need for a torch-holding device to scribe a triangular heat pattern, typically used during the manual line heating process. Implementation of line heating expects cost savings of 75%.
The projected savings are associated with the plate forming process, largely due to the reduction of welds, the reduced number of pieces of plate that have to be rolled and the reduction of associated rework. “The research effort performed during this project resulted in critical improvement to the former manual line-heating process,” said Jim Dydo, former senior engineer with the Edison Welding Institute. “The tools and equipment that were developed will enhance Atlantic’s plate shaping capability. The advantage of the technique lies in its ‘first principles’ approach to the predicted shape.” At the conclusion of this project, the Edison Welding Institute continued research in the area of thermal plate forming and prediction. In October 2002, the Edison Welding Institute completed Phase I of a Navy ManTech-funded project titled “CNC Thermal Plate Forming,” which added triangular heating to the EWI prediction module. Phase II of the program focused on building a prototype automated thermal plate forming system.
Request Final Report from NSRP – Limited Distribution authorized to U.S. shipyards and NSRP ASE Program representatives
Point of Contact:
Greg Whitney, BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards