Project Participants: Marinette Marine Corporation
Project Start: June 2013

The U.S. Navy and Marinette Marine Corporation have a joint initiative to improve platform producibility & cost efficiency by reducing manufacturing costs without increasing vessel weight. The Navy ManTech program is participating in this initiative with specific focus on improving manufacturing processes for Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) construction.

The Freedom Class LCS construction strategy is based on traditional scantling design and subsequent panel fabrication, driven by the software tools and manufacturing processes that were available in the 1990’s. Conventional techniques/tools included early 2-D Computer Aided Design (CAD) systems and structural analysis programs. The advent of sophisticated Engineering Design Systems combined with the improvement of manufacturing equipment and advanced materials allows conventional design(s) to be more sophisticated. In addition, many scantling design approaches were based on conventional concepts of best engineering practices of the time. This led to configurations of stiffeners that had limited basis in efficiently resisting the hydrostatic or dynamic loads that they were meant to resist. By embracing advanced 3-D design software and state-of-the-art Finite Element Design programs, engineers have the ability to economically develop easily producible designs that are more efficient and cost effective. As part of the collaborative project a handbook documenting the best practices/approaches toward developing affordable, readily-producible designs is required to capture the benefits associated with the latest software and manufacturing equipment available today.

The goal of this project is to develop a systematic process for optimizing production of ship’s structure during the functional design stage and to compile this information in a design for producibility handbook to be used by both design and manufacturing engineers. This handbook will provide steps for the decision making process during functional design considering efficient alternatives and optimizing the best tools to ensure that the most efficient designs are developed for a Freedom Class LCS type craft in the future.

This technology, once approved and implemented, could potentially save an estimated $200K per Freedom Class LCS Hull. These savings will result from cleaner more efficient structures.

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