Over 60 percent of a typical commercial ships interim products consists of stiffened steel panels. Modern shipyards continually strive to improve their assembly processes. The panel assembly line is one such process which lends itself well to automation in order to reduce man-hours thereby, enabling profit to a shipyard. In this paper, Gantt chart analysis in compliance with a product work breakdown structure (PWBS) methodology is used to map the process of the assembly of a typical panel from a self-unloading bulker vessel. Then, through the combination of lean principles of reducing waste and the utilization of one-piece flow in complement with adaptation of advanced hybrid laser arc welding technology, yields a new and improved panel assembly line proposal. The improvements in the reduction of man-hours through Gantt chart analysis are found to be a significant 86%. This means that a shipyard, by applying these changes could significantly cut its production costs, while maintaining or even improving the quality of its interim products.
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