BMT Fleet Technology Ltd (BMT), a subsidiary of BMT Group Ltd, has announced its latest research project with the National Shipbuilding Research Program (NSRP) to evaluate recent advancements in Integrated Cold Electrode (ICE) welding technology. Jointly funded by industry and the U.S. Navy through NSRP, this project will look at how this technology can improve productivity rates and reduce the construction costs of both commercial and naval vessels.
As the project lead, BMT will work closely with a number of partners including: Huntington-Ingalls Industries’; Newport News Shipbuilding; Marinette Marine Corporation; Elektriska Svetsnings-Aktiebolaget (ESAB); American Bureau of Shipping (ABS); Naval Surface Warfare Center - Carderock Division and Defense R&D Canada. By developing, demonstrating, quantifying and implementing alternative low-distortion, high productivity welding processes, an increase in affordability of ships can be realized.
Darren Begg, Project Manager at BMT Fleet Technology commented, “One of the main challenges that today’s shipyards face within the welding process is high distortion rates, which can result in costly rework and production inefficiencies. ICE is a breakthrough in conventional submerged arc welding technology developed by ESAB. Our main objectives for this project are to assess ICE’s ability to enhance the welding production rates, decrease distortion and costly rework, improve the properties of welds in high strength steels and therefore reduce costs, whilst increasing the integrity of the ship’s structure.”
ICE offers a flexible solution to the shipyards that currently use the submerged arc welding process. By making minor modifications to their existing production practices, shipyards can make this technology readily available, allowing them to quickly realise the immediate benefits that it brings.
Darren Begg continued, “We have extensive experience and knowledge of metallurgy – specifically, understanding welding processes and the effects that different processes can have on the metallurgical aspects of the weld joint such as the fatigue and toughness properties. From welders to technologists to engineers, BMT has all of the necessary expertise under one roof. Not only can we help identify the common issues facing the shipyards, but we can also develop the technology and the welding procedures, as well as qualify the procedures, train the welders to use the technology and provide demonstrations on the technology to the industry.”
BMT has also just recently secured a follow up panel project with the NSRP which will look at the development and evaluation of ICE Welding Procedures for Thick Plate. BMT will work with Newport News Shipbuilding, Ingalls Shipbuilding, NASSCO and ABS to determine if the ICE process can greatly increase weld metal deposition rates compared to conventional submerged arc welded techniques, without increasing heat input, and whilst eliminating back gouging operations.