Laser Panel Manufacturing Program

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Navy
Contract: N00014-05-C-0139
Agency Tracking Number: N041-142-1832
Amount: $5,826,600.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2006
Solicitation Year: 2004
Solicitation Topic Code: N04-142
Solicitation Number: 2004.1
Small Business Information
PO Box C, 1861 Main St., Sanford, ME, 04073
DUNS: 076362370
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Paul Blomquist
 Director, Manufacturing T
 (207) 459-7777
Business Contact
 Colleen O'Neill
Title: Corporate Counsel
Phone: (207) 459-7777
Research Institution
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.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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