LIFT Project Streamlines Shipbuilding Process, Enables Increased Use of Lightweight Metals

Automation, Lightweight Materials, Manufacturing

DETROIT – LIFT – Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow, a Manufacturing USA® institute, announced the creation of a new process which introduces the opportunity for shipbuilders to save production costs and improve build time — all while reducing distortion of lightweight materials.

Ship Shape

Ship Shape

The Joining-3 Project, led by Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Ingalls Shipbuilding division, with partners in government, NSWC-Carderock Division, NAVSEA and industry, including American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), Comau, ESI, and research, including the University of Michigan, EWI, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and The Ohio State University, developed innovative computer modeling to better predict where distortion, or warping, will occur when steel plates are welded together, ultimately reconfiguring the welding sequence. Using a U.S. Coast Guard Cutter unit as a test article, the project team demonstrated a 30 percent reduction in distortion and a 13 percent reduction in production costs compared to similar, previous cutter production units.

“As naval ship designs have trended toward using thinner and higher strength materials to reduce structural weight and add new combat capability, controlling the quality and cost of distortion has increasingly and adversely affected the shipbuilding industry,” said T.D. Huang, Principal Engineer, Huntington Ingalls Industries. “The LIFT project has provided an avenue to collaborate with world-class experts and systematically address thin steel distortion.”