For the U.S. Navy, the use of computational simulations is prevalent for structural finite-element analysis (FEA) but not for shop floor fabrication. However, prevention and mitigation of welding-induced deformation creates a significant manufacturing challenge during fabrication of major ship assemblies, especially for thin-plate steel construction. The objective of this project was to improve weld sequence planning (WSP) capabilities for major ship assemblies through the development of a quick and user friendly WSP software tool. Physical testing of tank-like structures validated the computational tool, which established high correlation between measured and predicted distortion results. An approximately 5x reduction in analysis time (from model set-up through solve time) was realized through process automation, development of a weld joint database, and weld sequence optimization algorithms. The end goal is improved confidence in, and use of, computational weld mechanics (CWM) techniques to more cost-effectively serve the U.S. Navy enterprise.

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