Laser Panel Manufacturing Program
Agency / Branch:
DOD / NAVY
This SBIR Phase II project addresses both the welding of butt joints in plate panels for ships and the manufacture of highly weight-efficient structural sandwich panels for shipbuilding applications. The Phase I project established the technical and financial viability of the Laser/Gas Metal Arc Welding (LGMAW) process to manufacture flat plate blankets ready for further stiffening. A major task in Phase II is the completion of a prototype system to be used in shipyards. In addition, Phase II activities will encompass the design and construction of a manufacturing system for lightweight sandwich panels for advanced performance in combatant and other vessels. Phase I economic analysis predicted a two-year payback for a laser-based butt welding system, and an increase to throughput of nearly 40%. Interest in the system is strong with US major shipyards, since plate butt welding is today a major cost-driver in shipbuilding. Equally, structural sandwich panels have been analyzed for a wide variety of trial applications, showing a weight advantage of up to 50% in total structural weight compared to beam-stiffened plate structures. However, prior efforts have not resulted in commercialization, due to high manufacturing costs. This project will develop methodologies leading to significant cost reductions.
Small Business Information at Submission:
APPLIED THERMAL SCIENCES
PO Box C 1861 Main St. Sanford, ME 04073
Number of Employees: