The National Shipbuilding Research Program (NSRP) Portable Automated Bulkhead and Hull Straightener project has been completed with a final demonstration conducted at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding – Gulf Coast in September 2009.
This project expanded upon a previous project, which focused on the plates. This effort broadened that concept by developing a straightening process for bulkheads and hull plates.
Current straightening methods have involved skilled workers who use a handheld torch and water hose. The technology developed for these projects involves thermal induction controlled through the use of laser sensors and software to ensure steel properties are not compromised while straightening the plate within Navy specifications.
The equipment is rugged, mobile, and fuel efficient with less fume and smoke output. Successful on-site testing in the shipyard demonstrated consistent straightening with significantly less coating damage, as well as considerable reduction in work time. Web-based training sessions at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding -- Gulf Coast have been organized.
The Portable Automated Bulkhead and Hull Straightener is commercially available through N.A. Tech.