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The National Shipbuilding Research Program: Producibility Cost Reductions through Alternative Materials and Processes

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Final rept.

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This report describes research into the use of alternative materials and processes to reduce material and labor costs while also looking at the influence of these choices on the life cycle costs of the vessel. The research, sponsored by the National Shipbuilding Research Program NSRP, looks specifically at increased use of fiberglass and plastic pipe, adhesives, and flexible and rubber hose as areas where cost and producibility gains may be found. Cost comparisons between traditional and alternative methods are presented as well as applicability to regulatory and classification society requirements. For each of the subject focus areas of fiberglass and plastic pipe, adhesives, and flexible and rubber hose, traditional methods and materials are questioned, and alternatives are evaluated. The regulatory and classification policies on fiberglass and plastic pipe, and on flexible and rubber hose, became fairly well established between the time research was envisioned and the time it actually began. The technology in these two areas was already established, so that part of the research centered on a cost-benefit analysis. The adhesives area seemed to be the most promising in the area of labor savings and the least addressed by specific regulatory and classification policies. Adhesives bonding is an alternate means for mechanical fastening and welding of nonstructural and noncritical shipboard items. The research then centered on the choice of adhesives that offered the best combination of holding power and ease of application without some of the negative attributes of volatile compounds or excess preparation. Shock testing also was conducted. Practical regulatory concerns for the performance of the adhesives in a fire seemed to dominate consideration of their application. All three alternative areas offer reduced material cost and labor for installation compared to traditional methods. Life cycle cost projections are similarly promising.

Subject Categories:

  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Manufacturing and Industrial Engineering and Control of Production Systems
  • Marine Engineering

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