You are on page 1of 18




a) To introduce the basic elements in ship production.

b) To give a general view of every aspect of the essential elements in the ship production.

c) To expose the ship production system, shipyard layout, and facilities involved.

Shipbuilding is a large and complex structure; it involves a great number of human resources,
facilities, equipment and machineries, as well as technology, skills, and knowledge to
produce a ship.

The basic elements of ship production would include the followings:
a) Human resources

Human resources is one of the key elements in ship production, it is the mover of all activities
involves in the production process both technical and managerial. It should be well managed
in order to obtain optimum benefit of its existence, and to manage the human resources one
cannot separate it from the organisation, including human resources planning and industrial

Detail of human resources management will be discussed in section 8.

b) Supplies

Beside machineries and equipment to support all the activities being undertaken ship
production processes also rely very much on the availability of supplies, which would
include: fresh water supply, power supply, compressed air supply, and gas supply.

Fresh water supply

The usage of fresh water is mainly for cleaning purposes, and in certain machining task it
is also used for cooling.

Power supply

Electricity is needed almost in every activity of the shipyard. It might come from two
different sources i.e. self-generated, and supplied from main public power source, or both
dependent on economic and reliability consideration.


Compressed air supply

Compressed air is used for various pneumatic and spraying devices such as painting and
certain flame cutting.

Gas supply

Oxygen, acetylene, and any other gas are mainly used for flame cutting.

c) Space and location

In determining the size of space needed for a shipyard various aspects should be well
considered these include:

The types and size of ships to be built by the shipyard
The predicted number of ships to be built in one time
The number of ships expected to be built annually
What kind and capacity of machineries, equipment, and facilities will be employed
How much space needed for each production shop, stock yard, building dock, open air
assembly yard, storage buildings, and other supporting buildings and facilities?
How wide is the water front needed for manoeuvring ship after launching, and for on-
board outfitting
Anticipated future expansion of the shipyard.

When the need of space has been predicted, it is also important to consider the location of the
shipyard, and this would include:
Access for the incoming materials and bought in ship equipment
Access for the ship to leave the yard
Availability of supplies needed
The condition of the water front
Availability of qualified human resources
The distance with the supporting industries and market
The price of land
Local government regulations

d) Workshop s
Workshop is a dedicated place usually covered building where the typical production
processes are undertaken. The number and the size of a workshop are depended on the size
and complexity level of the ships planned to be built by the shipyard.

Each workshop has its own typical machinery, equipment, and facilities requirements
dependent on its individual function. In general there are five to six functional workshops in a
shipyard these include:


Treatment and preparation shop
Fabrication shop
Panel lines shop
Sub-assembly and assembly shop
Block painting shop
Open air block assembly shop

e) Machinery and equipment
As has been mentioned in the previous sub-section that the types and capacity of machineries
and equipment in each individual workshop are determined by the size and types of ships are
planned to be built by the shipyard. The machinery and equipment are unique in each
individual workshop according to its function.

In line with the fast development of computer and fabrication technology many modern
shipyards are also adopting new technologies in their production machineries and equipment,
such as computer integrated manufacturing (CIM), robotic cutting and welding, automatic
panel lines machinery etc.

The typical process flow in shipyards starts with handling and stock of materials, marking the
plates and sections, then cutting the plates and sections, and welding the hull and the internal
structure, and finally the ship-block construction.

Main elements of this process can be explained as follows:

a) Handling
Handling is always involved in every stage of ship production process, starting from stock
yard to the completion of the ship construction. It comes in the following categories:


Lifting comes in many different ways and involving different sorts of equipment.

For lifting plates in the stock yard, for stacking or transferring plates magnetic gantry
crane is usually being used. And for sections sling of wire ropes are usually used.


In the shops for lifting materials and structure, mostly overhead travelling cranes are
used in various capacities dependent on the weight of the object to be lifted.

Figure 6.1 Magnetic gantry crane in stockyard
Figure 6.2 overhead crane


In the open air area such as block assembly yard and building berth or dock gantry
crane, level luffing crane, and mobile crane are used, and usually with high lifting
capacity which can reach up to the range of 500 to 800 tonnes.


The progress of shipbuilding process always involves the transport of interim products
from one shop to another. There is various transportation aids being used in the
shipyard dependent on the objects to be transported among other things are:

Roller conveyor; it is employed to transfer material and interim products from one
station to another without lifting or removing the objects from their track. The
conveyor is generated by electro motor. Conveyors can be found in treatment shop,
preparation shop, and panel line.

Figure 6.3 Goliath and level luffing cranes


Forklift truck; small parts are sometimes put in pallets; the pallets are then transported
to another destination by the aid of forklift truck.

Multi-wheel transporter. This is a special vehicle to transport heavy structure such as
units, modules, and blocks from the assembly shop to the block buffer area.

Figure 6.5 Forklift truck
Figure 6.4 Roller conveyor



During the fabrication of certain ship parts due to their size or weight special device
sometimes is needed to hold them, such as for holding plate when it is rolled or bent.
Overhead crane or wall mounted crane

Figure 6.6 Multi-wheel transporter
Figure 6.7 Wall mounted crane


b) Storage
There are three categories of storage in the ship production process in accordance to their

Stock yard

Stockyard is generally an open-air storage for storing raw materials such as plate and
section in the form of stacks. (Example of stockyard can be seen on figure 6.1).

Ship equipment store

This store is specially designed for storing of bought in ship equipment and
machineries such as pumps, engines etc. To prevent from damage to the equipment
due to weather, the storage is usually in the form of under covered building.

Buffer area

Buffer area is a particular space in the shop dedicated for storing interim products
waiting to be further processed.

Figure 6.8 Ship equipment store
Figure 6.9 Buffer area


c) Marking
The main purpose of marking is to produce guidance for cutting the plates and sections, and
to put parts identification on the plates and sections.

In the conventional method plate marking and nesting are done manually using full scale loft.
The next step in the evolution of flame cutting led to the introduction of the 1/10 scale loft
and the production of 1/10 scale templates. With these templates it became possible to
produce nested 1/10 scale templates where the individual parts were grouped on a scaled
shape. Photographic negatives of the nests were then prepared at a further reduced scale.
These negatives were projected on plates fed through a dark projection tower. Operators
marked the projected outline of the shapes on the plate.

Introduction of the electronic tracer made it possible to eliminate the hand guided cutting
method and quite accurately cut parts from full scale templates with an automatically guided
template scanning device.

Through the use of pilot machines equipped with photoelectric tracing heads that followed
the l/10th scaled templates or scaled projections of the original photo negatives it became
possible to operate large coordinate driven flame cutting machines from 1/10 or smaller
scaled templates.

With the development of numerical control machine tools punched tapes were used for
marking and cutting, then with fast improvement in computer numerical control speedy
plasma cutting is widely employed in the shipyards, and the tasks for marking also reduced,
because the machine can now cut the plate directly guided from the computer, only part
identification that still need to be marked on the plates or sections.

c) Nesting
Nesting is a process of optimising the use of plate for producing ship parts. In conventional
method it was done manually using full scale lofts which had been prepared beforehand
based on the workers experience. This was very time consuming.

As had been mentioned in the marking sub-section through the evolution in technology most
of the nesting tasks are carried out using computer software in the design office, and the data
are then sent to the cutting machine to be executed on the prepared plate.

The nesting arrangement is simulated on the computer screen before transfering to the cutting
machine, so that revision can still be carried out if necessary prior to the execution.

Illustration of the nesting arrangement using computer program is as shown on figure 6.10


d) Cutting
Several cutting methods are being used in the shipyard especially in preparation stage for
planing the plates, and for preparing ship components before being fabricated to sub-
assemblies, assemblies, and units. Various machines and equipment are used for cutting and
shaping plates and sections among other things are:
Contour or profile cutting machine
Flame planer
Mechanical planer
(Picture of these machines can be seen in preparation and fabrication section)
In many modern shipyards for increasing productivity mass production methods are
implemented especially in cutting and shaping processes, where computer programmes and
robots are employed. CNC oxy-fuel/plasma/laser cutting machines, flame planer machines,
and portable cutting machines are used in the cutting process.
laser cutting machines are gaining a good reputation as well because they reduce labour,
reduce welding cost/time, and reduce secondary processes after cutting. Laser cutting
machine is used especially for bevel planing and profiling.

Figure 6.10 Example of computer nesting


d) Welding
Welding plays important role in shipbuilding. It is estimated that almost 60 to 70 percent of
shipbuilding process involves many kind of welding, ranging from manual welding to fully
automatic computer aided machines and robot operated welding machine.

In manual electric arc welding it should be noted that the equipment being used should enable
the operator to use high amperages with large gauge electrodes, and still have good control of
the current for various welding positions. It should be robust in construction and safe in

Types of weld joint

There are two types of weld joint generally known i.e. butt joint, and fillet joint
dependant on the parts to be joined. Illustration of these joints and their positions are
as follows:
Figure 6.11 Laser cutting


Welding procedure

The term welding procedure is used to describe the complete process involves in making
a weld. It covers choice of electrode, edge preparation, preheat, welding parameters
(voltage, current and travel speed), welding position, number of weld runs to fill the
groove, and post-weld treatments, e.g. grinding or heat treatment. Welding procedures
may be devised to meet various needs, e.g. to minimise costs, control distortion, avoid
defects or achieve good impact properties. Some aspects of welding procedure that need
to be noted are:

- Weld current
- Welding position
- Welding environment

Weld distortion

During cooling, the hot metal in the weld zone contracts, causing the joint to shrink. The
contraction is restrained by the cold metal surrounding the joint; stresses are set up
which, being in excess of the yield stress, produce plastic deformation. This can lead to
the distortion or buckling. Distortion can be reduced by choice of edge preparation and
weld procedure

Figure 6.12 Weld joints


Computer programmed automatic welding and robotic welding process are widely used in
most modern shipyard particularly for undertaking long and repetitive welding tasks, such as
in panel line. (Figures of modern welding process can be seen in sub-assembly and assembly

e) Bending
Some of the ship parts need to be bent; this is applied both to plates as well as sections.
Except heat-line bending for plate most of the bending processes are carried out mechanically
using rolling machine or pressing machine for plate, and frame bender for section. (Figures of
plate and section bending machines can be seen in preparation and fabrication section). The
illustration of the processes is as follows:

Figure 6.13 Plate bending
Figure 6.14 Heat line bending


a) Main stages in ship production

After being awarded with shipbuilding contract shipyard should immediately start it
production process in order to be able to deliver the ship on schedule. With assumption that
the materials have been ordered and production planning has been prepared, there are several
stages in ship production that should be passed through before the ship is completed. These
stages generally would include:

Figure 6.15 Frame bending
Bulk units assembly

Treatment and preparation
Fabrication of panel and sub-assembly

Plates and sections stock
Blocks erection


Hull launching or floating out

Post launching construction and outfitting


Figure 6.16 Stages in ship production


b) Flow of materials

In every stage of the production process flow of materials should be kept smooth and no
bottle neck or unnecessary idle of work station, this could be done by levelling the work load
in every stage of the production, and the zigzag or reciprocating paths of the material flow
should be avoided.

To level the work load; the work content and processing time of every part and interim
product should be well estimated, so that the production processes can be well scheduled.

The main aim of shipyard layout arrangement is to obtain an easy and efficient flow of
materials, so that a uniform work load, a shorter ship build cycle, and economies in
construction practices could be achieved.

Very rarely new shipyard could find site for ideal layout, and has to make best of the site it
can obtain by modifying the ideal layout.

a) Ideal layout
An ideal layout for a modern shipyard is based on a production flow basis, with the yard
extending back from the river or shore at which the berths or building dock are located. The
furthest area from the berths is reserved for the material stockyard, and between the two is
arranged in sequence the consecutive work and shop processes.

There are two ideal layouts being known for a shipyard i.e. L shape and U shape as

Stock yard
Treatment shop

Panel lines
Sub-assembly &
assembly shop
Outfitting quay
Dock buffer
Figure 6.17 L shape layout


b) Buildings and workshops
Main feature of the buildings and workshops generally exist in a shipyard are as follows:
Buildings can be categorised as office buildings and production related buildings.

- Office buildings

Office buildings are buildings that are used for management and administration
activities. These buildings are usually situated in the front part of the shipyard.

- Production related buildings

These are the buildings that have direct relation to the production activities of the
shipyard which among other things include: design office, storage buildings, power
generating house, docks, canteen etc.

Stock yard
Fabrication & Panel
lines shop

assembly &


Office building
Outfitting quay
Figure 6.18 U shape layout
Dock buffer area


The layout of the workshops should be so arranged that ensure the smooth flow of the
materials and interim products from one workshop to another without creating any bottle

The size, space, and equipment and machineries in side of each workshop should be well
planned and arranged to accommodate the works to be carried out in it, so that good flow
of materials, and safety and good working environment are well maintained.

Supporting facility
The supporting facilities are the spaces or buildings that contribute to the production
processes undertaken by the shipyard, which include: access for the incoming materials,
parking ground, scrap dumping ground, stock yard, dock buffer area, outfitting quay,
water front, etc.

c) Shipyard access
One of the considerations in choosing the location of shipyard is the availability of good
access to and from the shipyard either land access as well as water access. The purpose of this
access is for bringing in materials, and bought in ship equipment and for shipping out the
ships when the production processes are completed.

Other access that needs to be paid attention in the shipyard is the access of interim products
from one shop to another, and to the building dock or berth, and access for ship launching or
floating out.

d) Future expansion
The investment cost of a shipyard is very high, and the productive life time of the
machineries, equipment, and facilities is relatively long, beside the size of ships is also
increasing from time to time, therefore it should be anticipated from the beginning the
possibility of expanding the shipyard for catering for larger ship size.

The expansion of the shipyard may be in the form of increasing the production capacity,
adding more production facilities, expanding the space, adding new larger building dock, or
expanding the capacity of the existing building dock.


a) Basic elements in ship production would include: human resources, supplies, space and
location, workshops, machineries and equipment.

b) The elements of ship production processes would include: handling, storage, marking,
nesting, cutting, bending, and welding.


c) Main stages in ship production consist of: plates and section stock, treatment and
preparation, fabrication of panes and sub-assemblies, bulk units assembly, block erection,
outfitting, hull launching or floating out, post launching construction and outfitting,
commisioning, and delivery.

d) There are two ideal shapes of shipyard layout namely L shape and U shape, but rarely
shipyard could get ideal location, and there for has to adjust its layout to the existing

e) Some considerations in arranging the shipyard layout are: size and location of buildings
and workshops, shipyards access, and future expantions.