Portable Automated Bulkhead and Hull Straightener (2007-372)
- Ingalls Shipbuilding
- Native American Technologies
- Bender Shipbuilding & Repair
January 2007 - August 2009
NSRP ASE Investment: $825K
Industry Investment: $825K
Adapt the technology used in straightening deck plates to remove distortion to include bulkheads and ship hull plating.
This project continued the development of the portable automated straightening process to include bulkhead and hull straighteners. Stresses introduced into the structure during welding and fitting of the hull can also cause decks, bulkheads, and hull plates to be distorted from the natural shape of the framing and adjacent plates. This distortion results in the plates being out of compliance with Navy specifications for fairness. This effort adapted the new technology already developed for straightening deck plate to applications involving out-of-position bulkheads and ship hull plating. The project goal was to reduce cost significantly by accomplishing plate straightening in half the time it takes now with a manual process involving skilled workers who employ a handheld torch and water hose.
The new technology involves an induction heating head controlled through the use of sensors and software that ensure steel properties are not compromised while straightening the plate to within Navy specifications. The equipment is designed as man-portable modules transported with or without the use of cranes depending upon the requirements at the application site. The plate straightening system controls the temperature of the bulkhead, thereby preventing damage to the surface of the steel.
This temperature control is becoming more critical with the use of high strength alloys that are more susceptible to overheating. The increased temperature control also results in reduced re-work to repair the coating on the opposite side of the plate being straightened, since the damage to the coating is considerably less than with flame straightening.
In the first year of the project, the team developed a functioning prototype bulkhead straightener, which was successfully tested on board an Amphibious Transport Dock (LPD) under construction at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding—Gulf Coast, Pascagoula Operations. The second year entailed modifying the bulkhead straightener for hull applications. The hardware was adapted to lift and hold the bulkhead straightener against the ship hull. A man-basket was added to the lift system, which was also modified to be compatible with a forklift or a man-lift. The software was enhanced to straighten non-flat plate found on a ship’s hull. Testing of the prototype machines revealed significant time savings in the plate straightening processes and a promise of associated return on investment. The system, known as Portable Automated Bulkhead and Hull Straightener or PAS-B/H, is now commercially available through N.A. Tech.
Final Report – Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited
Point of Contact:
Garth Turner, Ingalls Shipbuilding