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The All Aluminum Naval Ship - The Way to Affordable Naval Ships

T Lamb, BSc(Hon), MBA, FIMarEst, FRINA, FSNAME and N Beavers, BA, ASNAME, MASNE

SYNOPSIS

In an earlier paper, the authors conducted an analysis of the difference in acquisition and total ownership costs of steel and aluminum equivalent naval ship designs. It was shown that an aluminum ship can be built within just 7.5% of the acquisition cost of an equivalent steel ship. This is possible because of the cascading benefits of the aluminum ship’s significantly lighter weight. The aluminum ship was also shown to have operational and total ownership cost advantages. This paper reports on additional design effort conducted by the authors that validates the structural and fire insulation weight estimates used for both ship designs in the earlier paper. This is important, because the weight estimates were the basis for the cost comparison. In addition to validating the weight estimates used in the earlier paper, this paper provides additional information about the total ownership cost advantages of aluminum ships. It also introduces the notion that breakthroughs in aluminum technology for shipbuilding are quickly closing the stated difference in aluminum versus steel ship acquisition costs. As an example, an analysis of the reduction in cost and weight achieved by utilizing aluminum extruded stiffened panels coupled with friction stir welding for the aluminum ship is presented.

INTRODUCTION

A common perception is that aluminum ships cost significantly more than steel ships and that their added cost is warranted only for high speed operations. This is incorrect. In an earlier paper (1), the authors compared the acquisition and total ownership costs of steel and aluminum equivalent naval frigates. It was shown that even though the cost of aluminum material is twice the cost of steel and even though it takes 50% more labor hours to build the structure for an aluminum ship, an "equivalent" aluminum frigate can be built for within just 7.5% of the acquisition price of a steel frigate. This is possible because of the cascading benefits of the aluminum ship’s significantly lighter weight. Furthermore, breakthroughs in aluminum technology in products, design methods and manufacturing technologies for shipbuilding are quickly closing the stated difference in aluminum versus steel ship acquisition costs. In fact, some shipyards today are producing aluminum ship structure more cost effectively than what it would take to produce equivalent steel structure.

Authors Biography

Thomas Lamb has over 50 years of experience in ship design as well as shipbuilding companies, in the UK, Denmark and the USA, and in academia. He retired from the University of Michigan at the end of June, 2006, where he was a Research Scientist and Adjunct Professor.

Nathaniel Beavers works at the Alcoa Technical Center, Alcoa’s main research and development location. He is responsible for aluminum structural and materials design, development and manufacturing programs with the U.S. Navy, shipyards, naval architects and classification organizations. He is an Affiliate Member of SNAME and a Member of ASNE.

THE EQUIVALENT ALUMINUM SHIP

A Concept Design for both the steel and aluminum frigate was developed and is shown in Figure 1.

The aluminum ship design was developed to meet the same performance requirements as the baseline steel design. Payload, speed, endurance, stability, fire protection, weapons integration, etc. are all the

same for both ships. In other words, the aluminum ship is 'equivalent' to the steel ship.

As this paper focuses on a naval combatant ship, the hull dimensions will probably have been determined by the required stack length, deck area and/or internal volume rather than the required payload weight. Thus the length, beam and depth of the equivalent ship will be the same as the baseline steel ship, except in the case of the reduced draft option where the hull depth could be reduced.

reduced draft option where the hull depth could be reduced. Figure 1. Small Frigate General Arrangement

Figure 1. Small Frigate General Arrangement

When both of these factors are taken into account, the actual weight of the aluminum structure compared to the steel structure for the earlier concept design was estimated to be 47% based on the authors’ experience in designing craft and ships in both materials, as well as other papers (2). The resulting reduction in displacement can be taken into account in two ways or by a combination of the two ways. First the block coefficient can be reduced. Second, the draft can be reduced.

For ships where the Light Ship weight is larger than the Payload (Deadweight), the increased material and manufacturing costs for aluminum ship structure can be almost offset by taking advantage of the weight benefit of the aluminum in reducing either the draft or the block coefficient. This impact has a cascading influence where the reduced displacement reduces the required draft or block coefficient for the same principal dimensions and draft. Less propulsion power is then required for the same speed and less fuel is required for the same endurance. This in turn reduces the displacement even further. The calculations are repeated again and again until an equivalent aluminum ship is derived.

It can be argued that reducing the draft does not really give an equivalent ship; that is the draft should

be

the same. However, a reduction in draft could be of such a benefit, especially for a ship operating

in

the shallow littoral waters. The reduced draft equivalent ship had the lowest displacement and

propulsion power it was selected for the continuing study. Table 1 gives the pertinent characteristics for the baseline steel ship and the two equivalent aluminum ship designs based on Preliminary Design

Calculations. It shows the validated weights for structure and resistance and the propulsion power

which was validated by developing hull forms for each alternative in Ship Design software and using the built-in Holtrop resistance calculation method to derive the resistance and thus propulsion Power.

Another possibility is that the endurance can be more than doubled by maintaining the same displacement and offsetting the Light Ship weight reduction by an equal amount of additional fuel. However, the endurance is a Design/Performance requirement, so the extended endurance ship is not an equivalent ship.

There was no attempt to select the best combination of reduced draft and depth or hull form coefficients. Rather only the extreme solutions of either block coefficient reduction or draft reduction were considered. This gave a very low block coefficient for the equivalent aluminum ship and probably the preferred solution would be a block coefficient of about 0.5 with a draft of 3.75m. This would also result in a potential depth reduction of 0.75m. The weight breakdown for the Baseline Steel and Aluminum Equivalent Ships is shown in Table 2.

Table 1- Baseline Steel and Aluminum Equivalent Ship Particulars

Maximum Speed 30Knots, Endurance 2000 Nautical Miles, Payload excluding Fuel 150 ton

 

Baseline Steel

 

Aluminum Reduced Draft

 

Aluminum Reduced Block Coefficient

 

LBP

 

91

m

 

91

m

 

91

m

Beam at DWL

 

12

m

 

12

m

 

12

m

Depth

 

8.5

m

 

8.5 m

 

8.5

m

Draft

 

4.5

m

 

3.66 m

 

4.5

m

Block Coefficient

 

0.52

   

0.52

 

0.42

Midship Coefficient

 

0.85

   

0.85

 

0.76

Prismatic Coefficient

 

0.61

   

0.61

 

0.55

Propulsion Power

 

34,800 kW

   

28,800 kW

 

29,400 kW

Light Ship Weight

 

2095

t

   

1630

t

 

1641

t

Displacement

 

2627

t

   

2122

t

 

2140

t

Fuel Weight

 

413 t

   

342 t

 

349 t

Table 2. Weight Breakdown for Baseline Steel and Aluminum Equivalent Ships

 
 

Baseline Steel

   

Aluminum Reduced Draft

 

Aluminum Reduced Block Coefficient

 

Hull

919

t

43.9%

 

425

t

26.4%

436

t

27.0%

Machinery

518

t

24.7%

 

476

t

29.6%

476

t

29.4%

Electrical

94

t

4.5%

 

94

t

5.9%

94

t

5.7%

C & Co

61

t

2.9%

 

61

t

3.8%

61

t

3.8%

Auxiliary

279

t

13.3%

 

279

t

17.4%

279

t

17.3%

Outfit

197

t

9.4%

 

189

t

11.8%

189

t

11.7%

Add. Insulation

     

79

t

23.4%

79

t

3.4%

Weapons

27

t

1.3%

 

27

t

1.7%

27

t

1.7%

Light Ship

2095t

100%

 

1630t

100%

1641t

100%

Aluminum has excellent corrosion resistance in marine environments. The structure does not require painting other than the underwater anti-fouling coating. This results in an 8 t weight savings for the aluminum ship. The often stated disadvantage of having to provide added fire insulation for the aluminum ship was estimated for the concept design to be 55 t. This is the difference between insulation on the aluminum ship versus the steel ship, not the total insulation weight. It has been validated since the original paper by the calculation given in Table 3. The weight for the fire insulation for the aluminum ship is therefore now stated at 79 t.

Table 3. Fire Insulation Weight Comparison for Steel and Reduced Draft Aluminum Equivalent Ships

INSULATION

 

STEEL

   

ALUMINUM

 

WEIGHT t

 

AREA m 2

VOLUME m3

WEIGHT t

AREA m 2

VOLUME m3

WEIGHT t

DIFFERENCE

HULL

             

Decks

3900

234

30

3900

351

46

 

Sides

2400

144

19

2400

216

28

 

Major Bulkheads

864

52

7

1728

156

20

 

Miscellaneous Bulkheads

1000

45

6

2000

120

16

 

HULL TOTALS

8164

475

62

8028

723

110

48

DECKHOUSE

             

Decks

3250

195

25

3250

293

38

 

Sides

2000

120

16

2000

180

23

 

Major Bulkheads

720

43

6

960

86

11

 

Miscellaneous Bulkheads

500

23

3

1000

60

8

 

DECKHOUSE TOTALS

6470

381

49

6210

559

80

31

SHIP TOTALS

SHIP TOTALS

14634

14634

856

111

14238

14238

1281

190

79

VALIDATION OF STRUCTURAL WEIGHT

The actual weight of the aluminum structure compared to the steel structure is the basis for the cost comparison thus it is important to validate the structural weight reduction. In the Concept Design comparisons the structure weight equations were based on the author's extensive experience of designing craft and ships in both materials. The validation was accomplished by deriving the scantlings for a 10 meter length of hull and superstructure structure as shown in Figure 2. The scantlings were derived using the ABS High Speed Naval Craft Rules.

were derived using the ABS High Speed Naval Craft Rules . Figure 2. Built-up Stiffened Panel

Figure 2. Built-up Stiffened Panel Hull and Superstructure

A comparison of the scantlings for the steel and aluminum frigate is given in Table 4. Table 4 also shows the scantlings and the extent of use for the structure when using extruded panels. Table 5 shows the resulting geometric properties and stresses for both the steel and the aluminum frigate.

The design stresses were 23.5 t/cm 2 for steel and 12.4 t/cm 2 for aluminum and it can be seen that the stresses in the Deck and Keel are well within these. The reason that the Midship Section cannot be designed to come closer to the allowable yield stresses is that much of the plating is based on allowable minimum thicknesses rather than that derived by the formulas. No attempt was made to optimize the scantlings and longitudinal spacing for either the steel or aluminum midship sections for minimum weight or manufacturing cost. This will be done later in the ongoing study.

Table 6 shows the structural weight comparison and validates the weights derived in the Concept Design calculations. The built-up aluminum structure is 45% of the equivalent steel structure.

Table 4. Comparison of Structural Scantlings for Steel and Reduced Draft Aluminum Equivalent Ships

       

ALUMINUM

All Dimensions in mm

 

STEEL

 

ALUMINUM

EXTRUSIONS

Bottom Shell Plate

 

12

 

13

 

13

Side Shell Plate

 

7

 

9

 

9

Superstructure Side Plate

 

7

 

9

 

Superstructure Deck Plate

 

7

 

9

Shell 4mm with

Strength Deck Plate

 

7

 

9

40x4/30x15

2nd Deck Plate

 

7

 

9

on 75mm centers

Bulkhead Plate between Decks

 

7

 

9

 

9

Bulkhead Plate below Subdivision Deck

 

10

 

11

 

11

Bottom Longitudinals

T

200x10/100x20

T

240x10/140x25

T

240x10/140x26

Side Logitudinals

T

70x7/50x10

T

100x10/60x10

 

Strength Deck Longitudinals

T

60x7/40x10

T

90x10/60x10

 

2nd Deck Longitudinals

T

50x7/30x10

T

70x10/50x10

 

Bulkhead Stiffener Above 2nd Deck

T

50x7/30x10

T

70x10/50x10

T

70x10/50x11

Bulkhead Stiffener Below 2nd Deck

T

120x7/60x15

T

180x10/80x15

T

180x10/80x16

Bottom Web Frame

T

700x7/160x20

T

800x10/180x20

T

800x10/180x21

SideWeb Frame above 2nd Deck

T

150x7/60x15

T

200x10/100x20

T

150x10/80x15

Side Web Frame below 2nd Deck

T

420x7/130x15

T

580x10/200x20

T

580x10/200x21

Superstructure Web Frame

T

150x7/60x15

T

200x10/100x20

T

150x10/80x15

Strength Deck Deep Beam

T

150x7/50x10

T

200x10/50x15

T

150x10/80x15

2nd Deck Deep Beam

T

120x7/50x10

T

160x10/50x10

T

160x10/50x11

1. All dimensions are in mm

2. The shaded items are those impacted by Extrusions.

Table 5. Geometric Properties and Stresses for Steel and Reduced Draft Aluminum Equivalent Ships

 

Steel

Aluminum

Bending Moment Hogging t m

146250

146250

Bending Moment Sagging t m

109399

109399

Section Modulus deck

cm 2 m

96091

111006

Section Modulus Keel

cm 2 m

56856

63884

Stress Deck Hogging

t/cm 2

1.52

1.32

Stress Keel Hogging

t/cm 2

2.57

2.29

Stress Deck Sagging

t/cm 2

1.14

0.99

Stress Keel Sagging

t/cm 2

1.92

1.71

Table 6. Structural Weights for Steel and Reduced Draft Aluminum Equivalent Ships

 

STEEL

ALUMINUM

STRUCTURAL COMPONENT

t

t

Shell Plating

21.4

8.7

Deck Plating

27.2

11.7

Bulkhead Plating

7.2

3.5

Girder Plating

2.4

0.9

Shell Longitudinals

10.9

5.0

Deck Longitudinals

6.5

3.4

Bulkhead Stiffeners

2.1

0.9

Web Frames

6.1

3.2

Deck Deep Beams

3.7

2.2

Deck Girders

3.4

1.2

Structure Weight in t

91.0

40.7

ACQUISITION COST IMPACT OF ALUMINUM SHIP STRUCTURE

Cost estimates were developed for the steel ship and the reduced draft aluminum equivalent ship using Preliminary Design Cost Estimate forms. The cost estimating methodology is a parametric weight- based approach at the Ship Work Breakdown Structure (SWB) Summary (single digit) level with special factors to take into account ship size and complexity. It was first developed over 40 years ago but has been continuously refined by use over all the years since. It was further developed for the Product Oriented Design and Construction (PODAC) Cost Model developed for the U.S. Navy in 1998 (3,4,5). For a complete description of the Cost Estimating Model including the development of the Cost Complexity Factor, see the referenced papers.

Table 7 shows the Total 2009 Price Breakdown with direct and non-direct items. Table 8 shows the fully burdened price (the non-direct items are proportioned to the direct items on the basis of their respective direct cost) of each ship design.

It can be seen that the price difference between the steel and aluminum ships is $27 million (7.5%). Table 9 gives the fully burdened price breakdown for just the structure so that the respective influences of material and labor can be seen.

Table 7. Total 2009 Price Breakdown for Steel and Reduced Draft Aluminum Equivalent Ships ($1,000)

 

Steel

Aluminum Reduced Draft

Hull

$14,577

4.1%

$20,492

5.3%

Machinery

$52,865

14.8%

$49,326

12.9%

Electrical

$17,638

5.0%

$17,638

4.6%

Command & Communications

$9,162

2.6%

$9,162

2.4%

Auxiliary

$14,331

4.0%

$14,888

3.9%

Outfit

$22,489

6.3%

$24,659

6.5%

Weapons

$409

0.1%

$409

0.1%

Production Support

$21,745

6.1%

$25,949

6.8%

Overhead

$142,399

40.0%

$155,280

40.5%

Bonds

$1,182

0.3%

$1,272

0.3%

Insurance

$4,434

1.2%

$3,816

1.0%

Margin

$14,781

4.2%

$16,156

4.2%

Profit

$40,351

11.3%

$44,107

11.5%

Price

$356,363

100%

$383,392

100%

Note: Table does NOT include Cost of Weapons and their Control Systems. Typical Weapon and Control System Cost

for Small Frigate is $125 Million.

Items shown in italics are non-direct items

Table 8. Fully Burdened Labor and Material 2009 Price Breakdown for Steel and Reduced Draft Aluminum Equivalent Ships ($1,000)

 

Steel

Aluminum Reduced Draft

 

Labor 1

Material 2

Labor 1

Material 2

Hull

$42,778

$6,610

$64,043

$6,969

Machinery

$25,430

$104,867

$26,150

$97,895

Electrical

$6,638

$36,142

$6,638

$36,723

Command & Communication

$4983

$17,816

$4,983

$18,103

Auxiliary

$22,239

$18,860

$24,277

$19,164

Outfit

$46,811

$22,163

$53,265

$24,221

Weapons

$243

$783

$242

$796

SUB-TOTALS

$149,122

$207,241

$179,598

$203,794

SHIP TOTALS

 

$356,363

 

$383,392

1. Includes Labor Cost to install the Weapons and their Control Systems 2. Does NOT include Cost of Weapons and their Control Systems.

Table 9. Labor and Material Breakdown for Steel and Reduced Draft Aluminum Equivalent Ships Structure

 

Steel

Aluminum

Draft

Reduced

Labor

$42.8 Million

87%

$64.0 Million

89%

Material

$6.6.Million

13%

$7.0 Million

11%

It is clear from Table 9 that the opportunity area to lower the cost of aluminum ships is in improving labor which traditionally has been about 50% higher than steel. If a 20% improvement in material was possible, it would result in a structural cost benefit of $1.4M. However, if a 20% improvement in productivity were possible for the aluminum structure, it would result in $12.8M in savings. Therefore improvements in the shipyards for aluminum production and advancements in aluminum manufacturing technology are areas that will offer significant future cost savings.

TOTAL OWNERSHIP COST

Although the acquisition cost for the aluminum equivalent ship is currently higher than that for the steel ship, the aluminum equivalent ship will have a lower total ownership cost. This is because of fuel savings and lower maintenance needs. The aluminum ship does not require painting over its life, except for anti-fouling painting. It also has lower power machinery to repair, and less manning due to decreased onboard maintenance by the ship's crew a significantly higher residual value at end of life scrapping as well. Because the aluminum ship uses less fuel it will have a lower carbon footprint, than the steel small frigate. Potential future carbon costs would be lower for the aluminum small frigate.

The fuel saving will be 71 t per voyage. Assuming the ships conduct 40 voyages per year, this would yield an annual fuel saving of 2840 t. At today's price of around $450/t, this is an annual cost saving of $1,278,000. For a 25 year life cycle fuel cost saving would be $32 million.

The cost saving for the lower maintenance is more difficult to estimate. The obvious saving item is the elimination of painting, by both the ship's crew and maintenance team. The cost to paint a steel structure small frigate would be about $500,000 for both labor and material. Assuming that the steel ship requires re-painting every five years a savings of $2 to $3 million per ship is possible over the life of the aluminum small frigate.

These fuel and maintenance savings would easily offset the additional price for the aluminum equivalent ship. Also, there could be a reduction in manning due to this reduced maintenance and this

would be a further life cycle cost saving. When these potential benefits are extended to a fleet of 10 ships the fuel saving would be $320 million and the maintenance saving $25 million. This will become even more important if the fuel supply diminishes and the price of fuel for the ships increases.

PRODUCTIVITY IMPROVEMENTS

As stated, improvements in the shipyards for aluminum production and advancements in aluminum manufacturing technology are areas that will offer significant future cost savings. Since aluminum manufacturing is generally not as prevalent or mature in shipbuilding as it is in other industries, there are many opportunities for productivity improvements. Recent breakthroughs in aluminum technology in products, design methods and manufacturing technology for shipbuilding are proving this. Along with other advancements (1), the use of aluminum extruded panels, friction stir welding and modular ship design and manufacturing are particularly improving the cost of aluminum ships. Shipyards using these technologies and methods today are producing aluminum ship structure at equal to or lower cost than equivalent steel structure.

Friction stir welding (FSW) is a relatively new aluminum welding technology that shipyards are increasingly taking advantage of for the construction of aluminum ships. FSW is a solid-state aluminum welding process that was invented in 1991 at The Welding Institute (TWI) in the United Kingdom. FSW works by plunging a cylindrical, shouldered tool with a profiled probe into aluminum, and then traversing the aluminum while rotating the tool along the joint, as shown in Figure 3 (6).

the tool along the joint, as shown in Figure 3 (6). Figure 3. Friction Stir Welding

Figure 3. Friction Stir Welding (FSW) Process

The advantages of FSW for shipbuilding are:

Usually only one weld pass,

Panels have less distortion and are more dimensionally accurate,

Does not require addition of welding filler wire,

Consists of fewer primary welding parameters which in turn makes it easier and simpler to operate, control and train on,

Fully automated process which lessons reliance on highly skilled work force ,

FSW systems are simple to set up and maintain in production,

Extremely repeatable weld quality, which makes it more reliable,

Yields welds that are as strong, and sometimes stronger than MIG weldments, and

Process results in reduced repair and reject rates, which in many cases makes it more productive and cost effective than the GMA welding process.

Traditionally, aluminum ships have been constructed from manually welded built-up stiffened panels. This involves MIG welding a number of “T”, “L”, or flat bar type stiffeners (typically extrusions) to an aluminum plate to make a stiffened panel. The stiffened panels are then MIG welded to each other to arrive at sub-assemblies and then ultimately final structure. Each aluminum stiffener requires two welds (a fillet weld on each side). In addition to the time and cost associated with the welding of the stiffeners, there are other associated costs due to weld defects, distortion and rework.

Shipbuilders are now coupling the advantages of FSW integrally stiffened panels and aluminum extruded sandwich panels to replace traditional MIG welded built-up panels. FSW aluminum extruded panels of these types offer multiple advantages including less weld preparation, less welds and less rework and distortion. These types of panels typically offer better dimensional tolerance and they can be pre-fabricated. This results in reduced fixturing fit-up time and labor savings is shown in the Figure 4. The traditional built-up panel requires eight welds to weld four "T" extrusions to the base plate. The comparable aluminum extruded FSW panel requires only three FSW to weld four "T" stiffened extruded planks together. With the latter, the stiffeners are integral to each extruded plank. Figure 5 illustrates the use of FSW aluminum extruded panels for deck applications.

use of FSW aluminum extruded panels for deck applications. Figure 4. Sketch of MIG Built-up Stiffened

Figure 4. Sketch of MIG Built-up Stiffened Panel vs. FSW Extruded Panel

of MIG Built-up Stiffened Panel vs. FSW Extruded Panel Figure 5. Aluminum Extruded Panels in Decks
of MIG Built-up Stiffened Panel vs. FSW Extruded Panel Figure 5. Aluminum Extruded Panels in Decks

Figure 5. Aluminum Extruded Panels in Decks

To determine the potential weight and cost savings, a design of the structure for the aluminum small frigate using extruded integrally stiffened panels was prepared as shown in Figure 6. Extrusions were applied to all the decks and the sides above the 2nd Deck.

EXTRUDED PANELS EXTRUDED PANELS
EXTRUDED PANELS
EXTRUDED PANELS

Figure 6. Extruded Aluminum Panel Midship Section

Table 10 shows the structural weight breakdowns for the aluminum design for both a built-up structure and a structure using extruded panels as shown in Figure 6. It can be seen that the use of extruded panels reduced the weight from 40.7 t to 34.1 t, or by 16%. When compared to the original steel structure the weight saving would be an additional 8%.

Table 10. Aluminum Built-up and Extruded Panel Ship Weights

 

ALUMINUM BUILTUP t

ALUMINUM

STRUCTURAL COMPONENT

EXTRUSIONS t

Shell Plating

8.7

8.2

Deck Plating

11.7

10.5

Bulkhead Plating

3.5

3.5

Girder Plating

0.9

0.9

Shell Longitudinals

5.0

3.5

Deck Longitudinals

3.4

0

Bulkhead Stiffeners

0.9

0.9

Web Frames

3.2

3.2

Deck Deep Beams

2.2

2.2

Deck Girders

1.2

1.2

Structure Weight in t

40.7

34.1

NOTE: The shaded items are those impacted by Extrusions.

The real benefit to using aluminum extruded panels with FSW is seen in the labor hour reductions. For the typical deck panel described in Table 10, the labor hours for the extruded FSW system would be 50% of the manual built-up system. These labor savings are typical for aluminum extruded panels and FSW in use today. This can be clearly seen in the reduction in joint Weld Length, calculated for a 10 m long section of the hull. The comparison is shown in Table 11. This shows a reduction of 31%

of the steel Joint Weld Length. Some of this saving would be offset by the cost for the welding of the smaller width extruded panels together.

Table 11. Joint Weld Length for Built-up and Extruded FSW Panel Aluminum Ships (10 m Hull Length)

 

Built-Up Structure m

Extruded FSW

Structure m

Plating Seams

820

800

Friction Stir Welding of Extruded Panels 1

0

1780

Longitudinals

3820

940

Built up Girders

300

600

Web Frames

2660

2880

Total Shipyard Welding

7600

5220

1. Note that total shipyard welding does NOT include friction stir welding of extruded panels

Obviously these savings will have an impact on cost. This is derived by taking the welding man hours, which traditionally are 60% to70% of the structural man hours and using the 31% welding reduction from Table 11 to determine the eliminated man hours. The reduced labor cost would be in the range of $8 to $10 million. The additional cost for the aluminum extruded panels would be $500,000 giving a resulting savings of $7.5 to $9.5 million.

The use of FSW extruded panels will not replace all applications of traditionally built-up MIG welded panels. In fact¸ in many instances traditional built-up panels may be more appropriate. This will depend on the shipbuilder, ship type and structural application. In addition to the coupling of FSW with aluminum extruded panels, there are many other aluminum shipbuilding research and development programs and technologies being explored and employed to improve the cost, quality and manufacturing throughput of aluminum ships.

CONCLUSIONS

1. It is obvious that aluminum is competitively better than steel for high speed craft, and this is already the preferred solution. However, the common perception that aluminum ships cost significantly more than steel ships and that their added cost is warranted only for high speed operations is false. This paper has shown that an "equivalent" aluminum naval ship can be built for within just 7.5% of the acquisition price of a steel ship. The increased material and manufacturing costs for the aluminum ship structure can be almost offset by taking advantage of the cascading weight benefit of the aluminum structure in reducing the draft or the block coefficient and thus the displacement, propulsion power and fuel weight.

2. Where Payload, including fuel, is a small part of the Displacement, say less than 25%, aluminum is a competitively viable alternative to steel for ships, even for medium speed ships. For the equivalent aluminum and steel structure, the difference in material cost is relatively small at 6%. It is the difference in manufacturing labor at 50% that is the added cost driver for aluminum. A large opportunity to drive cost down is in advancing manufacturing technologies. As stated, a 20% improvement in manufacturing labor for the aluminum ship structure will improve cost by

$12.8M.

3. Significant productivity improvements are entirely feasible as the shipbuilding industry generally has less experience with aluminum than other industries. Shipyards that are using the latest aluminum technology and manufacturing methods are already closing the gap between aluminum versus steel ship acquisition costs. Shipyards particularly utilizing aluminum extruded panels with FSW are proving this today.

4.

From a total ownership cost perspective, an equivalent aluminum ship requires less maintenance and uses less fuel over its life. Over a 25 year life, fuel cost saving of $32 million per ship is expected as earlier stated. The cost saving for the lower maintenance of painting is conservatively estimated at about $2.5 million over the ship’s life cycle.

5. Considering their relative close acquisition cost to equivalent steel ship designs, yet improving cost through advances in aluminum technology for shipbuilding, clear total ownership cost advantage and operational flexibility, the world’s navies should consider broadening their use of aluminum ships.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The authors would like to acknowledge with thanks their respective organizations for their support in preparation of this paper. However, the authors are responsible for all the content and conclusions and these do not necessarily represent those of their organizations.

REFERENCES

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2. Moan, T., "Marine Structures for the Future – A Sea of Opportunities," J. of Marine Systems & Ocean Technology, Vol.1, No.1, 2008

3. ELLIS, K. J., LAMB, T., Docherty, J. J., and Deschamps, L., “Product-oriented Design and Construction Cost Model,” Journal of Ship Production, February 1998

4. Lamb, T., “A Productivity and Technology Metric for Shipbuilding,”, SNAME Great Lakes and Great Rivers Section Meeting, January 1998, Cleveland, Ohio

5. Lamb, T., “Naval Ship Compensation Coefficients.” Proceedings 1999 SHIP PRODUCTION SYMPOSIUM, Arlington, VA., July 29, 1999

6. "Friction Stir Welding at TWI," www.twi.com.uk,TWI,February 24, 2010