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Topic 2 : Ship Production Process

Week : 2
Lecturer : Samsol Azhar Bin Zakaria

2.1 Ship Production Flow Chart












2.2 Ship Production Main Activities

2.2.1 Marketing
Marketing in shipbuilding is a process of selling the ship (or ship concept) to the potential
clients/owners. The owner could be the Government Agencies (Navy, Marine Police, Marine
Department etc), shipping companies (MISC, Mearsk, etc), Fishing companies, Oil and Gas
companies (Petronas, Shell etc), Tours and Travels Companies, individuals and many others.
The Marketing Job is normally handled by Marketing Department (or for small shipyard it
is done by the Managing Director himself). Good (and sometimes aggressive) marketing is
essential for the survivability of the company thus a successful marketing manager has
always receive good salary. Marketing sometimes can be very complicated and require a lot
of preparations such as brochures (with basic specification and concepts), prototypes or
model, estimation of costs, documentation of previous track records, negotiation (sometimes
also called lobbying) process, exhibitions etc. Presently, on-line marketing using world
wide web is becoming more popular at it is the cheapest alternative and can reach wider
audience. Unlike mass product (like cars and electrical appliances), ship is much more
difficult to market and sometimes its success does not necessarily determined by the
competitive price only but with some level political involvement. Marketing tasks must be
back up by the technical and production departments as to ensure that the shipyard is capable
of producing the intended ship economically and within the given time.

2.2.2 Design
Design in general, can be defined in many ways. Ship design is the involvement of many
activities in converting ideas or concept of the intended ship proposed during
marketing stage into drawings and specifications that can be used for
production purposes. These activities include sketching, drafting, calculation,
analysis, model testing, computer simulation etc. Ship design begins as early as
marketing stage and evolved into four main stages i.e. Conceptual, Preliminary,
Contract and Details (Production) Design stage. Each of this stage can be
elaborated in detail in the ship design subject. Design process is a very crucial
process, as a good (production friendly) design will ensure good return and a
bad decision during design stage can be very costly during production stage.
Design tasks require a lot of man-hours especially at engineer/designer and
draftsman/technician levels and working in short period of time (lead-time).
Therefore, for small shipyards, it is more economical to subcontracted the
design jobs or purchase the design from design house than to maintain an in-
house design department. Design does not only require calculation and drafting
works, but frequently requires decision making in selecting the most cost
effective systems, components or concepts. Thus, it is a normal practice in
shipyard that design works are carried out by design teams lead by the most
experience/knowledgeable designer. Since ship consists of many systems (Hull,
structural, engines, control, piping, electrical, etc. systems) integrated together,
the design teams are normally being break up into these systems and all design
teams are coordinated by the companys Naval Architect. Design works use
computer extensively right from lines design up to a very complicated
simulation and analysis (CFD). Therefore, currently many ship design software
are available in market ranging from a very simple and cheap/free software to
very extensive and costly software. Design tasks also require a very organized
and systematic procedure as its involve many peoples, documents, spaces, and
multi-level decision making in the shipyard.

2.2.3 Production Drawing

One of the outcomes of the design works is production drawing. Production drawing is the
detail drawing that represent the shapes, sizes, specifications and building instructions of
every structural items, components, machinery, equipment, piping systems, electrical
systems, etc that are needed to built the ship. This drawing serves the production department,
thus it should be detail enough (but must be clear and concise) to be used by the production
workers to carry out their job efficiently. The specifications that are normally shown in the
production drawing include; sizes, amount, location, type of material, quality of work or level
of surface finish, clearance, and heat treatment if necessary. For one single ship, its normally
requires thousands of detail drawings and large amount of draftsman hours are also required.
Computer drafting tools are use extensively for the development of production drawing and
normally printed into hard copies to be distributed to the specific worker. However some of
the modern shipyard displayed the drawing on the projection screen instead of printing it in
order to save the production costs.

2.2.4 Lofting
Lofting is a process of transferring all information from scaled drawing onto the work piece
before any fabrication works can commence. Production drawings are always not in full scale
(normally in 1:100 - 1: 10 scale) whereas work pieces need to be fabricated in full scale. Thus
lofting process is a very important task that is normally carried out by an experience loftsman
as to ensure that the ship is built according to its design requirements. Generally, lofting
process can be divided into three methods i.e. Conventional Lofting, Optical Lofting and
Computer Lofting.
Conventional lofting the process of transferring information from scaled drawing into full
scale templates (normally made of thick paper, plywood or wax paper) before transferring to
the work piece. Conventional lofting requires a wide area lofting room with adequate
lighting, and level floor. The loftsman need to redraw all lines and curves in the drawing onto
the template and full scale fairing also need to be done. Apart form lines and curves, other
information such as end position, frame lines, seam or joining locations and checking points
need also to be transferred to the templates and hence to the work piece. The information
drawn on the templates are then transferred to the work piece by means of lines marking and
centre punching.
Optical Lofting This lofting process requires special optical chamber as shown in Figure
2.2. The process involves transferring information from a scale drawing (1 : 100) to negative
film of smaller scale (1 : 500) using camera. The arch from the film will then be projected on
to the full-scale work piece inside the optical chamber. The work piece surface must be
coated with special kind of dye in order to capture the image correctly. The lines, curves, and
other information captured on the surface will be marked permanently on to the work piece
using marking process. Optical lofting does not require experience loftsman and uses smaller
area. However to ensure accuracy of data, high precision drawing equipment, Vernier Scale
and magnifying glass is essential as any small error on the measurement will be magnified
many times on the work piece.
Computer Lofting This lofting process does not require any physical transfer of
information from drawing to the work piece. Therefore it does not require loftsman and
lofting room/chamber as in the previous two methods. On the other hand, it requires
computer hardware, special software and experts to carry out this process. Computer lofting
can be divided into two categories, i.e. NC and CNC Lofting process.

NC Lofting Process The components or parts drawing (drawn manually or plotted from
computer) will be sent to the Programmer (A programming expert) for the preparation of Part
Programming. Part Programming is a set of instruction or codes that will be used /
understood by the Numerical Control (NC) Machine to carry out the required task such as
marking, cutting, bending, etc. The part programming is done on the special part
programmng machine and the codes will be stored on a magnetic tape. This magnetic tape
will then be transferred to the NC machine for the work to start as illustrated in Figure 2.3.
The instrucions/codes need to writtened properly and accurately in order to ensure that the
parts that are fabricated are according to the required shapes and dimensions as in the
CNC Lofting Process In this process, the part programming task is taken by the computer
software. Therefore there is no need to employed part programmer and magnetic tape is also
not required. The drawing that was done in the computer using CAD software (in standard
format such as DFX, IGES) will be sent to the CAM software for the generation of part
programming codes automatically. This codes are then used by the CNC machine for the
cutting or bending tasks as required. Presently, the transfer or data or codes is done on line
without required any physical effort since both computer in design office are connected on
line with CNC machnes.It is also a standard practice to check and validate the codes that was
developed before the actual task is performed by the machines. This is done by cutting
simulation on computer screen and then followed by free running (air cutting) process on the
CNC machines.

NC and CNC lofting process has provide several advantages against the conventional or
optical lofting. This includes higher accuracy, less error prone (due to less human
interference), faster process, small room, less labour or skill workers, better storage, and
effective data processing. However, this advance technology requires high capital cost and
expert manpower, which is normally beyond the capability of the small shipyards especially

in the developing countries.

2.2.5 Material Ordering , Purchasing and Storing

Procurement of Material: After the contract has been signed between the client and the
shipyard, and the detailed design has been carried out, the materials specified by the design is
procured by the Tendering Department of the shipyard. The detailed design already specifies
the type of material required for each part of the hull, the thicknesses, and the grade of steel.
Now, many shipyards with proper stockyards may at times procure the material before the
detailed design has been completed (provided the contract has been signed). Why? Because
the material costs depend on the market dynamics. Shipyards may prefer to procure the
material when the prices are low, in order to ensure lesser building costs.

Ordering and Purchasing - While the technical team is preparing for lofting works, another
team in the shipyard has to carry out ordering and purchasing task as soon as possible.
Normally, the time for ordering and purchasing is quite short say 2 to 6 weeks and the
materials need to be delivered as soon as possible for the following tasks to commenced. The
Order lists (list of all plating, sections, components, etc.) are often prepared by the technical
(Design) department based on the design or production drawings. These lists should include
the amount, type, grade, dimensions and other important specifications of the materials to be
purchased. For steel plating that required extensive hot work, the steel thickness should be
ordered with slightly higher thickness to allow reduction during hot works. Every incoming
material should be marked/labeled clearly and systematically in order to avoid confusion.
One method to reduce the material cost is using material / plate standardization concept.

Materials Storing Steel plating need to stored horizontally on their respective location /
piles and should be stored according to the grade, size and job specification. Clear and
systematically (Coded) labeling must be made on the stored materials in order to avoid
confusion during loading and arranging the materials in the stockyard.

2.2.6 Surface Preparation

Plate Preparation or Surface Preparation: When a plate is brought to a shipyard from a

steel plant, it is not ready to be used for construction. Before a steel plate is used for
construction, it needs to be prepared for the same. That includes two major processes:

Straightening and Removal of Residual Stress: The plate obtained by rolling in the steel
plant is not completely straight, though it may visually appear to be so. Plates may also be
mangled during transit from plant to the shipyard. In order to prevent misalignment of two
such plates during welding in a later stage, they need to be straightened. This is carried out by
passing the plate through a series of rollers, also called mangles (See Figure 1). Under the
rollers, the plate undergoes multiple cycles of bending until it is straightened.

The materials that arrived from mills or stored in the stockyards are normally not straight
/flat, dirty, rusted and not smooth surface due to long journey or long storage. Due to that, the
raw materials need to undergone surface preparation process before it can be ready for
production works. The surface preparation task involves straightening, shot blasting and
prime painting.

Straightening Also called Manggled as it associated with the name of pressing / rolling
machines that are normally used for straightening process. The rolling press
machine is able to straighten plates of various size and thickness.

Figure 1: Straightening of Steel Plates (Exaggerated view)

Less number of rollers (five) are used for thicker plates (thickness above 10 mm). Whereas,
in case of thinner plates (up to 10 mm thickness) the number of rollers are usually twenty-

The hot work and cold work carried out on the steel in the steel plant leaves residual stress in
the steel plates. If these stresses are not removed, the added loads experienced by the hull
girder may subject the plate to stress levels higher than predicted values when the ship is at
sea. Straightening of plates by repeated bending cycles also removes these residual stresses.
Mill Scale Removal: Mill scale is a brittle layer of iron oxides on the steel plate. It must be
removed from the plate surface because:
It does not contribute to the strength of the plate.
If plates are painted without the removal of mill scale, the adhesion of paint is
insufficient. As a result, with time when the mill scale scrapes off the plate surface,
the paint falls off along with it, exposing the steel plate to sea environment which will
result in corrosion.
Presence of mill scale contaminates the weld, reducing weld quality.

However, the presence of mill scale also acts as an advantage when the steel plates are
stocked in the yard. They form a protective oxide layer on the metal, thus preventing rusting
of the plate surface when stowed for longer time in the yard.

Mill scale is loose, but not loose enough to completely fall off the metal surface without
application of external force. Some methods used by shipyards to remove mill scale are:

Natural Removal: Vertical stacking of plates results is natural removal of mill scale.
But this method is not reliable because the removal is non uniform and results in
local corrosion.
Flame Treatment: The steel plate is heated to a certain temperature. Since the
coefficient of expansion of mill scale is different from that of steel, heating results
in removal of mill scale.
Shot Blasting: In this process, the plate is passed through an enclosed chamber
within which, steel shots are blasted at high velocity on the steel plate. Each shot
incident on the plate scrapes away the mill scale.

It is very important to control some of the parameters of this process, in order to ensure that
the amount of material scraped is neither less nor more than desired.

The incident mass, size and velocity of the shots are pre-decided to ensure that the mill scale
is completely removed, but at the same time the scraping should not be such that it removes
steel from the surface.

The plate feed speed is controlled based on the thickness of mill scale layer. Too much feed
rate might result in insufficient removal, and excessively less feed rate might result in
removal of steel.
ship building process

Shot blasting has certain disadvantages too. The incidence of high velocity shots exert stress
on the surface of the plate. If stress levels are more than the yield strength of the material of
the plate, then it enters into the plastic region.

A unique behavior is observed at this stage. To explain that, lets revisit the basics of the
stress-strain curve of steel. When steel is subjected to stress levels within the proportional
limit, removal of the load does not leave any deformation in the specimen. But if the stress
levels go up to the plastic region, there is certain amount of permanent deformation even after
the removal of stress. So, when subjected to stress again, the material would actually have
less capacity to yield that before. In other words, its reserved plasticity has now reduced.

It is the above phenomenon that takes place in case of shot blasting. This reduction of
plasticity is also called cold hardening. However, this effect can be prevented by controlling
the parameters of the blasting chamber.

Once the plate is completely free of mill scale, the supervisor checks the roughness of the
plate surface. In case the plate it too rough, it would be unfavourable for proper welding. And
if too smooth, it would not provide enough surface roughness for proper adhesion of paint.
Hence, the surface of the plate at the exit of the blasting chamber is compared with a standard
specimen which has the required roughness. In shipbuilding practice, the roughness standard
maintained is Swedish Standard (SA 2.5).

Priming and Drying: After the mill scale is removed, the plate is passed into a chamber in
which a primer is sprayed on both surfaces. Priming protects the steel from corrosion. The
primer applied is usually a zinc-rich coating, and it should be chosen such that it does not
interfere with the welding and bending of plates. After the plate is primed, it is immediately
passed on to the drying chamber, where hot air dries the surface and prevents moisture from
interfering with the process.

2.2.7 Fabrication

Plate Cutting: The surface treated plates are to be cut into desired shapes and sizes, in order
to be developed to the required three dimensional shape or be used as straight plates for other
structural components. Now, it is very important for a shipyard to increase its production, as a
result of which wastage of material is prevented to the maximum extent possible. How?

Plates of the standard sizes, after being surface-treated, undergo nesting. It is a process in
which the plate is scanned, and by the use of algorithms, the shapes to be cut out of the plate
are marked on the plate by the computer controlled marker. This algorithm makes sure
minimum scrap metal is produced from each plate. Such a plan is called Nesting Plan.

Once the nesting plan is prepared, the plate is ready to be cut. Cutting can be done in three
different ways:

1. Shearing: In this method, the plate is rested on the edge of a flat surface, and a high
velocity shearing surface (usually made of high strength steel) is used to shear the plate from
the section lying on the edge of the flat surface. Follow Figure 3 below. The advantages of
this method are as follows:

Cuts a long length of plate at one stroke.

Smooth cut surface is produced, which provides better alignment during welding.
Since it is a cold work, there are no thermal stresses or deformations in this process.

However, shearing does have a major disadvantage, that is, intricate shapes like brackets,
scallops, small radiuses, and bends cannot be cut out by shearing.

2. Thermal Cutting Methods: These methods use a movable cutting tool, which makes it
possible to cut out complicated shapes. However, since these are hot works, they result in
work hardening in the cut edges. However, since every cut edge will be welded in future
stages, the cut edges lose the work hardened property and offset this effect.

There are two methods of thermal cutting:

Oxidation or Burning: This is basically oxy-acetylene or oxy-fuel type of cutting

method where the metal along the cut edge is converted into oxide and the molten
oxide is then thrown off.

An interesting theory lies beneath this method. It is important to understand this theory in
order to know if this method is also applicable for aluminum, which is now widely being
used as a structural material on ships. When the oxygen lever is pressed, the flame increases
the metal temperature. For steel, the metal becomes red hot at ignition temperature (800
degree Celsius). After a certain time when the temperature reaches to the melting point of the
metal oxide (which is 1000 degree Celsius for steel), the metal oxide begins to melt out.
Since the melting point of mild steel is approximately 1500 degree Celsius (higher than that
of its oxide), this method of cutting does not melt the metal, and hence is feasible for steel.
Now, for aluminum, the melting point of its oxide (2200 degree Celsius) is more than that of
the metal itself (600 degree Celsius). Also, aluminum is such a metal which is always layered
with aluminum oxide on its surface. So, if aluminum plates are cut by oxy-fuel methods, the
oxide layer begins to melt first. This results in increase of thickness of the oxide layer on the
plate, with molten metal in the inside layers. As a result, the entire plate crumbles. So, how
are aluminum plates cut? The answer to this lies in the next type of thermal cutting method
discussed below:

Fusion Cutting: Plasma cutting is a type of fusion cutting which is used to cut plates for
which melting point of the oxide is less than that of the metal. In plasma cutting a plasma gun
shoots a plasma flame coated with a layer of inert gas, on the region of the plate supposed to
be cut (It is this inert gas layer that prevents the oxidation of aluminum). The torch is then
propagated along the cutting curve to complete the process. Follow Figure 4 for the
schematic diagram of plasma cutting.

In this process, the flame is confined, resulting in higher quality of cut edge. Both ferrous and
non-ferrous metals of any thicknesses can be cut using this method.
plasma cutting steel plate

Figure 4: Plasma cutting (schematic diagram)

In this article, we have seen how the plate makes its way from the stockyard to the surface
treatment plant. Then, followed by the nesting plan, the plate is cut into required shapes. All
these processes, after the plate is taken from the stockyard, are carried out in the Hull Shop of
the shipyard.

2.2.8 Sub-Assembly

This topics have spanned over the entire plate rolling, bending, and frame bending processes
which are carried out in the Hull shop of the shipyard. The flow of material and carrying out
of all the processes we have understood above and in the previous article, are now shown
schematically in the following figure in order to give you a clear idea of the flow of material
in a shipyard.

Figure 5:Material flow in shipyard from stockyard to unit assembly areas

From Figure 5, we have seen all the processes involved till cutting, marking, shaping and
bending. What was not explained, was the process that runs parallel to all the above
preparation of outfit materials, pipe bending and outfit fabrication. We will first look into
this, and then see how they are assembled together.
reparation of Outfit:

As soon as the material for the ship is ordered, most of the orders for a large percentage of
outfit items are also placed by the shipyard, so as to keep the hull fabrication and outfit
installation processes in parallel. This reduces the building time, but also requires advanced
design processes and proper building management plans. This is called advanced outfitting.

Since the details of outfit preparation are not in the scope of this article, we will shift focus to
the sequence of processes. In parallel to plate stocking, plate surface preparation, cutting and
bending, outfit equipment like pumps, compressors, heat exchangers, etc. and their
corresponding piping systems are ordered. The pipes are bent in the pipe bending shop, and
the outfit items are kept ready to be installed onto the hull assemblies.
Assembly of Hull Units: Once the plates and frames are prepared and given the required
shape, they are welded according to the structural drawings prepared by the design
department of the shipyard. The hull is divided longitudinally into blocks (Figure 6), and
each block is again divided into assemblies and sub-assemblies.

Figure 6: Division of a ship into blocks

After plates and sections are machined, they are ready to be welded into two dimensional
structures called sub-assemblies. This is carried out in the Prefabrication Shops. A sub
assembly would consist of a plate (Straight of curved), and its corresponding strengthening
stiffeners welded to it. For example, for a particular block, a panel of outer bottom shell and
outer bottom longitudinal would form a sub assembly. Assemblies may be prepared by
manual welding or automatic welding, depending on the complexity of the job and the
efficiency of the shipyard. Often, flat panels are manufactured by automatic welding, where
the stiffeners are marked on the panel, and welded by robotically controlled welding torches.

Adjacent sub-assemblies are welded together to form three dimensional structures called
block assemblies. The size of assemblies are decided in the designing stages, considering the
carnage capacities and special layout of the shipyard. It is ensured by all shipyards that all
joining processes are carried out mostly by down hand welding. In case of blocks towards the
aft of the ship where equipment and pipework are a major part of the blocks, first the
assembly is upturned to fir the piping on the underside, and overturned again by cranes for
fitting of the equipment. For example, the double bottom is used to house pipes, and most of
the equipment are housed on foundations over the double bottom plating. In order to
manufacture such an assembly with a pipe and associated pipework, first the assembly is
turned so that the pipework can be installed on the underside of the double bottom. The
assembly is them overturned by cranes for the pump to be erected on the double bottom
plating. A schematic of this process is shown in Figure 7.

Figure 7: Erection of outfit on an assembly.

Adjacent assemblies are welded to erect a block. For example, for a particular block of a
double hull tanker as shown in Figure 8, the units or assemblies that the block consist of are
as follows:

Double bottom centre unit.

Double bottom wing unit.
Bilge unit.
Longitudinal or transverse bulkhead unit.
Double hull side unit.
Deck side unit.
Centre deck unit.
Main deck unit.

Figure 8 : Units on a block of a double hull tanker.

The assemblies are erected and welded

to their adjacent structures in the
above sequence. The sequence is
pre-decided in the design and
modelling stage using CAD/CAM
optimisation techniques, so that
minimum shifting of assemblies are
required, and proper use of carnage
facilities is ensured.

Once all blocks are erected based on

their welding sequences, they are now ready to be joined. This process is carried out at a
different site.

2.2.9 Block Assembly

Block construction is a modern shipbuilding method which involves the assembly of

prefabricated sections. Cross-sections of the superstructure are pre-built in a shipyard, taken
to the building dock (or slipway,) and then hoisted into position and attached. Some of the
more equipped shipyards are able to build equipment and utilities into the blocks, pre-
installing pipes, plumbing, and electrical cables. The more components that can be built into
the blocks before final assembly, the less effort required once the hull is welded together.

Since the 40s, modern ships have been made of welded steel. The first ships produced by this
method had problems with inadequate fracture toughness, which let to rare but devastating
structural cracks. The development of specialized steel in the 50s has largely eliminated the
problem of brittle fracture, although there are still instances due to the unregulated use of
grade A and B steel. This problem seems to result when steel with unknown toughness or
FATT (fracture appearance transition temperature) is used in side shells. Despite these
occasional incidents, most problems with brittle fractures seem to have been eliminated by
modern methods and regulation.

In shipbuilding, the welding block construction method is commonly used due to its record of
work efficiency and safety. In this method, individual hull blocks are manufactured in a
factory, transported via large cranes to a dock or berth, and then assembled. The sequence of
assembly line procedures includes processing assembly (sub-, mid- and final-assembly)
fieldwork launch rigging delivery; most of these steps require hoisting equipment.
In shipbuilding, the larger and bulkier the blocks, the more difficult it becomes to automate
the work, hence the increasing dependence on manpower.

2.2.10 Erection

During the shipbuilding process, each ship block is brought to the building dock, where they
are erected with cranes, as per the welding sequence. After each erection, welding is carried
out on block joints. Alignment of blocks is a very important factor determining the
productivity of the shipyard, and quality assurance measures are taken to ensure proper
alignment. Improvements in alignment have been made by use of proper jigs for curved shell
panels, proper welding techniques that have lower heat input, and by the use of laser
alignment tools.

A shipbuilding berth is a dock-like structure with flooring level below the mean sea level.
When all the blocks are erected and welded, the dock is then flooded and the ship is floated
out to the outfitting jetty. However, many shipyards in which the level of flooring in the
building dock is above the mean sea level, the ship is made waterborne by using specialised
launching techniques, which we will discuss later in the article.

In some shipyards erection of blocks, in case of very large bulkers and tankers, is carried out
directly in afloat condition. This is practised in case the size of the ship exceeds the capacity
of the building berth or in cases where two halves of a ship are built at separate berths, and
are floated. Then the two sections are pulled together using tackles, and their aligned to fine
precision by means of optical measurement devices. Usually, at the joint (for example, the
joint between K4 and K5 in Figure 1), caissons are welded to both the halves. Initially the
caissons are pumped dry. Before welding of both the halves, the caissons are ballasted so as
to attain the required draft for both the halves to be aligned for vertical welding. Since the
joint is at the midship, ballasting the caissons would result in sagging of the hull girder. So
the fore-peak and aft-peak tanks are ballasted to offset the effects of sagging. After the
welding is carried out at the joint, it is X-Ray tested for any weld defects. This welding joint
is one of the most vital weld joints in the entire ship, as it is located in the vicinity of the

2.2.11 Launching

Many big shipyards now construct ships on building docks, which are then flooded, and the
ship is towed out to the outfit basin by a tug. But most shipyards still follow the traditional
process of launching a ship. Today, launching methods have become safer and more proactive
in approach as computer programs help the engineers to estimate the load on the ship during

When the ship is built, the entire load of the ship is taken by the keel blocks. Once ready for
launch, the forward and aft cradles are constructed and welded to the hull. Now, the weight is
ready to be shifted from the keel blocks to the cradles. The ship, along with the entire cradle
structure is made to slide along the slideway, to the adjacent water body, where the load is
balanced by the buoyancy, a process which we will understand in detail a little later.

The ship can be launched end on, stern first (that is, the stern of the ship is made waterborne
before the forward part), or sideways. Usually, end launching is preferred as it ensures better
load distribution on the slipway and the cradle. However, in case of shipyards where the
extent of the adjacent waterbody is insufficient to accommodate the length of the ship, side
launching is preferred.

The ship is tied to the shore by means of drag chains. The length of the chains are so
designed such that they are loose before launch, and taut enough after launch to restrict the
ship from hitting the opposite bank.

Figure 9: End launching of a ship

Figure 10 : Side Launch

Figure 11 : Ship lift

Figure 12 : Dry docking

2.2.12 Outfitting

After launching, the ship is towed to the outfit basin. The outfit basin of a shipyard is usually
located in proximity to the engineering and machinery workshops of the yard where the outfit
items are fabricated.

As we discussed in previous parts, larger shipyards prefer advanced outfitting, hence, almost
95 percent of total outfit work is completed during the building stage itself. The remaining
minor outfit items are fitted at the outfit basin. However, in smaller and standard shipyards
where advanced outfitting is not feasible, complete outfitting is carried out at the outfit basin.

2.2.13 Sea Trial

Once all the construction and outfitting work is completed, the sea trials are carried out by
the shipyard authority, in the presence of a designated representative of the ships owner.
Some tests include Speed Trials, Turning circle test, Crash stop test, Zig-zag or Kempfs

Overshoot maneuver, Spiral Maneuver, Engine trials, and Astern test.

After the results of the sea trials are studied and found acceptable by both, the owner and the
shipbuilder (as per specifications mentioned in the contract), the ship is delivered to the
client. If the results do not satisfy the requirements as per the contract, the shipbuilder is
given a grace period to make required modifications, after which, sea trials are carried out
again. If the ship is not delivered with satisfactory results after the lapse of grace period, the
shipbuilder is bound to pay penalties to the owner, as per the contract.

2.2.14 Advance / Zone Outfitting

In conventional shipbuilding, the ships hull structure is fabricated and erected on the berth or
dock and the outfitting is started only after launching the hull from the berth. As a result, it
has been found that the process of first fabricating and completing the hull structure followed
by outfitting the hull after launching takes longer time. Hence, to reduce the cycle time and
improve the productivity of the shipyards, the concept of advanced outfitting has been

All the modern day shipyards across the world have now identified that by adopting the
concept of advance outfitting the vessel building cycle time can be reduced and a substantial
saving of costs, along with other benefits, depending on the availability of infrastructure in
the yards can be achieved. Different concepts have been developed for the completion of
outfitting in block stage to derive the benefits of this methods. In case you might not
understand what block-stage means, read on as we discuss the key concepts of advanced
outfitting technology.

Concept of Unitisation:

Even before the hull block is made, the outfit components (machinery, piping, seating
structures, etc.) which are supposed to be located in a particular small area in the ship are
fully assembled into a small unit and when the hull block is made, this unit is then directly
installed at the required position in the block. Hence you see, in this process, the steel
structure and the machinery outfit units are developed simultaneously instead of a traditional
process wherein the machinery and outfit are installed only after complete erection of the
ships hull. This process actually helps in reducing the cycle time required to build the ship.
Remember, in ship-building too, time is money.

Block Outfitting Concept: Block outfitting involves erection of units of assembled
components (a component may be a unit of a pump with its seating and associated piping)
and also heavy machinery (for example: boilers) on large blocks of the hull before the blocks
are erected and welded to each other. However, consideration is always given to the
limitation of the total weight that can be handled by the carnage facilities of the yard. The
size of the hull blocks are accordingly pre-decided by the design department of the yard,
keeping this factor in mind.

By this process, the yards have managed to prefer down-hand welding because, the hull
blocks can be inverted and the outfit can be installed before erection of the blocks. As a
result, the components requiring overhead welding (for example: exhaust lines, ventilation
trunks, etc.) can be welded by down-hand welding. This is actually very fruitful because
down-hand welding is not only easier than overhead welding but also a safer option for the
welders in the shipyard.

Also, open-sky access for erection of machinery, makes it easier for the production
department to erect larger machinery.

Group Technology / Concept of Workstations / Product Work Breakdown Structure:

The terms above may sound new and complicated but they are one of the most fundamental
and interesting strategies used in the modern shipbuilding industry. The basic principle of
Group Technology is that it involves identifying the subdivisions of a product, which
although may not be necessarily identical are produced by the same process and set of

Lets make it clear for you with an example. In the engine room area of a ship, a unit can be
considered as a machinery component along with its seat and connected piping. The kind of
work required to erect such a unit, will be similar to that required to erect many similar units
in the engine room area. Therefore, Group Technology involves identification of the interim
products or so called units, which can be handled by the same type of processes.

The application of Group Technology to ship-building results in dividing entire ship into sub-
divisions based on the kind of work required to build and erect each division. Each division
can now be assigned to different manufacturing groups who are specialized to build those
particular units effectively.

Such categorization of the components required to build the ship is known as Product Work
Breakdown Structure (PWBS). Now, each type of component is to be manufactured in
separate and specialized locations in the shipyard called workstations.

The question arises as to why do we need such a grouping? The answer lies in the fact that
this method of grouping offers considerable potential for the improvement of the
manufacturing efficiency of the shipyard. Because each workstation is now specialized in
efficiently manufacturing its designated units, since it is equipped with the suitable tools,
machinery and workforce required for the same. This not only allows easier planning of work
but also maintains a steady work load with increased performance of operators.

One very notable aspect that we must take note of is that this method can now be applicable
to develop and manufacture the interim products of units for all types of ships that the yard
will be building in the future. Thus, the advantage of repeated work can be obtained in
utilizing the workstation concept in shipbuilding industry.

Concept of Zone-Outfitting: Before we start understanding this concept of advanced
outfitting, it is necessary to understand what a Zone is when we are speaking in terms of
shipbuilding. A zone may correspond to a compartment or even any integral part of a
compartment of a ship, such as a cargo hold or a machinery space and its sub-divisions. It
completely depends on the yard as to how they define the zones in a ship to be built. Even an
entire superstructure or just one level (deck) of a superstructure could be considered to be a
zone. Hence, in a nutshell, a zone is a sub-division of a ship that is selected for the
convenience of outfitting either on units of hull block or on larger hull blocks or directly on-
board the whole ship after all the blocks are joined.

There are three types of zone outfitting practices, mainly dependent on the scale on which it
is applied.

On-Unit: Outfitting on unit is the assembly of a unit of machinery or component

or an already manufactured product (which can also be purchased by the shipyard).
But this unit is not a part of the steel structure of the hull. For example: a unit can
be a boiler mounted on its seat, along with its connected piping, flanges, valves.
This unit is first completely assembled, and then transported to the site where the
hull block is previously erected. The unit is then erected on the hull block as a
single unit. This is again similar to the application of the Unitisation Concept that
we discussed previously. But the point to be noted is that in zone outfitting, we are
focussing on the zone of the ship where the unit is erected.

On-Block Installation: Outfitting on block is the installation of outfit components

(machinery with seats, piping, electrical cables, ventilation trunks, etc.) after an
entire hull block is completed. The units are installed either as separate components
or after unitising them (similar to what is described above)

However, the concept of unitisation provides an advantage of fabricating hull blocks and
unitising the components to go on parallelly in the shipyard. On the other hand, the process of
fabrication and erection of hull blocks and then erecting the components would only consume
more time, since in this case, they are a series of activities.

It is important to note that the decision of sequencing the outfit process according to the size
of the outfit components, machinery and the associated zone of the hull structure is a very
crucial aspect of the decision making process of the production planning department of the

Other zones of outfitting include accommodation blocks, stern blocks, etc. which are
separately manufactured in specialised areas of the yard (or by contractors) and then erected
onto the hull structure as single units.

By now, you must have had a clear image and idea of what advanced outfitting actually is,
what are the concepts applied behind this production strategy, the reasons behind each, and
how each and every concept is carried out practically in any shipyard. Each of these concepts
have been developed after years of experience from success and failures over a range of
shipbuilding projects undertaken by major and minor shipyards across the globe.