Signal Enters Deck Barge Market
Signal International, LLC announced that the company will build a 300 ft by 100 ft ocean deck barge for Signet Maritime Corporation. The barge will be built at Signal’s Orange, Texas shipyard, with delivery scheduled for the first quarter 2010. In line with Signal’s marketing plan, large deck barges will be a continued product line for Orange, with multiple designs currently being offered.
Signal’s yard in Orange has undergone a major transformation to elevate its marine and heavy manufacturing capability to world-class standards. Significant capital investment and process changes have been implemented over the past two years. The primary focus has been on improving the workflow within the nearly 500,000 sq ft covered manufacturing area and increasing automation. Under a continuous flow manufacturing initiative developed by Signal’s Industrial Engineering Department, along with Engineering, Planning, Procurement, and Production, costs and schedule have been dramatically reduced with no sacrifice in quality or safety. By example, Signal has worked almost 700,000 hours through May without a recordable safety incident. During this same period the welding reject rate was less than one-half percent.
Dick Marler, Signal’s CEO and President stated, “Signal’s expansion into the large deck barge market is a natural for our operations in Orange. The Orange yard has built barges in the past and we still have experienced production and management personnel who were part of that effort.”
He added, “We have challenged our workforce to develop new methods and tools to be successful in a competitive market. With low steel prices and our vastly improved productivity now is the time for potential customers to take a hard look at expanding their fleets with a Signal product.”
Barry Snyder, President of Signet Maritime, remarked that, “Signet is optimistic about our market for ocean-going deck barges. Jointly, Signal and Signet have developed a superior extra heavy deck strength design to minimize the customer’s need for load equalization that will be in high demand to work in the offshore market. Our design features a 5,000-pound per square foot deck strength for large loads and a radial bow, reducing residual resistance for efficient towing. This will not be the last barge of this type that we will order.”
Snyder also stated, “We looked at a number of barge builders and selected Signal due to their insistence on superior quality, competitive price, building approach, and up to date facilities.” He said “We were particularly pleased with what we saw at Orange where the entire facility had been revamped. When I visited with the Signal personnel and watched their process as we cut the first plate, I was impressed. The emphasis is on processing steel as efficiently as possible. Virtually every step in that process has been improved to wring out unnecessary costs. I feel confident that Signal will become a leader in vessel construction of this type.”