Ultra High-Pressure Water Blasting (2000-932)
- Atlantic Marine
- Todd Pacific Shipyards
- Munro & Associates
- Dana M. Austin Environmental Consulting
April 2000 - April 2002
NSRP ASE Investment: $287K
Industry Investment: $363K
Reduce the cost of Ultra-High Pressure Water Blasting, as well as reduce the potential storm water contamination that is associated with this process.
The goal of this project was to reduce the total life cycle cost of the ultra-high-pressure water blasting process through industrial engineering analysis, ergonomic interventions and the application of environmental solutions. Atlantic Marine achieved substantial process improvements and related savings in time and money, demonstrating it was economically feasible for a shipyard to transition to ultra-high pressure water blasting. Statistics show a 22% to 28% reduction in total life cycle costs using ultra high-pressure water blasting on a destroyer project over the project’s baseline – a previous destroyer repair job. Specific metrics include:
- Overall process productivity improved by over 38%
- Blasting gun on-time doubled from 24% to 47%
- Setup time cut in half
- Wait time dropped from 42% to 19%
- Labor per square foot reduced 38%
- Environmental disposal cost per gallon expected to drop 94%
A November 2001 demonstration in Jacksonville showcased project results to the U.S. shipyards as a means of quickly transferring this knowledge throughout the U.S. industry. The shipyard compared statistics from similar water blasting jobs on two sister warships, the USS Spruance (DD-963) and the USS O’Bannon (DD-987). The Spruance underwent interim dry-docking availability in 2001 when the project was just getting underway, which resulted in some substantial man-hour overruns for the surface preparation process.
“This project has had a significant impact on increasing our competitive position in the surface preparation process of military and commercial ship repair,” said Ed Fleming, President of Atlantic Marine in Jacksonville. “It has allowed Atlantic Dry Dock to compete with the more efficient dry blasting operations while reaping the environmental benefits of water blasting.”
This project also examined ways to reduce the physical stress caused by prolonged use of blasting equipment to improve worker comfort and reduce injuries with the associated workers’ compensation costs. Researchers worked to minimize prolonged static postures, awkward postures and static forces. Ergonomic improvements included a “gun rack” to support the stress of the blasting gun and a “crawler” to support the worker in reclined positions, which can be adjusted in angles maximizing production efficiency and minimizing ergonomic issues. Atlantic Marine also tackled the environmental protection costs associated with surface preparation. To reduce the cost of disposing of spent blasting water, the team assessed options and selected the Electro-Pulse System to remove metals that remain after primary cascade sedimentation has been accomplished. The storm water treated by the Electro-Pulse System produced an effluent discharge that meets the water quality standards specified in discharge permits.
Final Report – Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited
Point of Contact:
Greg Whitney, BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards