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Some Practical Aspects of Ship

Launching
Part 1. Starting and Checking
BY .HARRISON B. ANDREWS, I~/~EMBER2
In the first part of this paper it is proposed to
dwell briefly upon two aspects of launching--the
engineering and preparations required to assure,
as far as possible, an unaided start and the engineering and set-up required for checking the travel,
without regard to studies of pivoting, way-end
pressure, stability, etc.
1 Paper presented before the October 1945 meeting of the New
England Section of The Society of Naval Architects and Marine
Engineers.
2 Engineer, Bethlehem Steel Company, Shipbuilding Division,
Quincy, Mass.

STARTING

Before any new ship construction may be
started, several launching problems present themselves for consideration. The decisions reached
at that early stage tend to allay the fears or to
increase the anxiety on launching day of the persons responsible for the launching operations.
The two most important figures to be settled
for the successful start of a vessel at launching are
the slope of the ground ways and the pressure on

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2.8

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2.6

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A~rcraff

Carrier

Z Bafflesh~p
3 Cruiser
4 Pass.torso Ship
5 Cargo Ship

6"
to 2.4
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O.

2.2
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,

IO Trawler

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1.2

1.0
0.8
0.45

0.50

0.55

0.60

0.65
0.-/0
0.'/5
O.BO
5lope o4 Ways, S~ In. Per" Ft-.

Fro. 1
424

0.B5

0.90

0.95

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above 2. The custom in the Netherlands has of friction.performance often occur. on a low slope.25 tons per square foot. with all conditions constant except tempertions and the difference in launching grease pres. without squeezing out.75 to 2. All of the vari. the launching taking placed in the lower sure caused b y one or two large superstructure as. relying upon the pressure for a good the grease should be applied carefully.the grease surface. in the early stages. On the construct the launching cradle. . Although the use of two data without hesitation. This obviously is not the solu. This is notably true in timated pressure before launching. and still t o d a y in some Euro.cases of the Queen Mary and Normandie where the pean yards. and The shipyards of this country have accepted the wedging up and removal of shoring and blockmineral base greases almost unanimously with ing should be carried out according to schedule. where the bow of the vessel lem ar~ largely in the hands of the carpenters who would be out of sight on foggy days. respectively. the ship even m a y refuse to move. a trawler could not be set up sensibly should be alined closely to the required declivity. including cradles.cess of the launching more savory.700 launching greases and. instances can be cited construction methods develop large assembly sec. Despite the acband is wide and appears to allow considerable counting for all known factors and identical conspread in pressure for a fixed slope. the tendency to sacri. Since it is ad. For example. vantageous for the construction departments to Since in all cases the object is to set up the launchbuild a vessel close to the ground. I t is none too ditions for two launehings. This does not I t would be quite simple to solve the starting discredit the t r e a t m e n t of the problem as a sciquestion in a n y launching b y setting up the ground entific one but simply urges the addition of a ways with a high slope and letting the pressure grain of salt to the result and makes the final succome what it may. to allow for the variation in es. with secondary ways outboard for stability. tons and 27. when four ways were used because of the withstanding the pressures at pivoting.when. were 36. nite relation between the slope of the ways and the L a b o r a t o r y test curves are available from the pressure on the grease. since the width of ways would be too narrow should be constructed so as to o b t a i n the best for reasonable cradle construction. there is always ing arrangements for a good start. possible distribution of load over the grease. define a band encompassing most of the past sucA ship's launching justifiably m a y be classed cessful launehings observed b y the author. The slope of the ground ways affects the elevation of the vessel on the slip during con.660 tons. and the pubpresent. so verv few exceptions such as the one in the South as to lower the cradle as evenly as possible on to which is quoted as using bananas. the cradle start. years. All of the points at some shipyards. marked differences in wide.hard and fast limits. showing coefficients of sliding shown are actual figures of typical vessels launched friction plotted against grease pressure b u t it is under the observation of the author. This relationship is il-. 1. however. with slow starts are obviously few. Present ship starting.ature.75 tons per square foot. tion in the case of vessels of the length of our presAdditional considerations of the starting probent airplane carriers. N o t too m a n y years launching ways is almost universal. and also from tests lustrated broadly in Fig. even in the ago in this country.various grease manufacturers. The dotted difficult to translate the results from the smalllines indicate the upper and lower limits of typical scale test equipment into the much larger and launching practice and were chosen primarily to rougher actual launching set-up. as with all good chefs.temperature will be normal while t h a t at the semblies being on or off the ship can be quite no. The equally as an art as a science. The ground ways other hand. as m a n y launehings have struction and consequently it must be determined been performed successfully with pressures both before construction has started.lished figures of pressure and slope in connection fice starting slope for lower elevations. Among these were the recent launehings T o d a y we accept the fact t h a t the base coat of our new Iowa and South Dakota classes of batshould give a hard smooth surface capable of tleships.obtain data for the lower limits of pressure.SHIP LAUNCHING 425 The figures of grease pressure mentioned are not th~ grease. the carpenter has formulated the launching weights. it is difficult to Good launching practice indicates a fairly defi. and t h a t high launching weight concentrated in a relatively the slip coat should give constant low coefficients short length. ous companies handling launching greases have The care taken to aline the ground ways propcontributed to the i m p r o v e m e n t of the product so erly becomes particularly i m p o r t a n t when four t h a t the shipbuilder now can rely on the published launching ways are used. under pressures been to concentrate the load on a centerline way of 1.25 and below 1. several fouradded his own special touch or words of sorcery to way launchings have been carried out in recent the brew.higher temperature m a y be sluggish in starting or ticeable.

use is made of a beam as a lever with the outboard end lashed to a deadman." Ultimately these ties should break and the area through the breaks provides a straightforward means of measuring the net starting force down the ways. the components F1 of the total weight of the ship and movement. all connetted to the same air line. of which there are several types. the starting slope. this net force down the ways of W sin 0 -. The holding effect of the hydraulic trigger is brought about usually through the appliea- . Now F1 = W s i n 0 FIG. although overall usage indicates about equal favor for both. 2. the hydraulic (Fig.f W cos 0 is neutralized b y the triggers or other holding and releasing mechanism. In universal use. 3 Among the earliest and simplest holding and releasing devices are those using a few pieces of heavy timber and rope lashing. is that which employs a wooden "saw piece" or a steel "sole plate" to tie the forward ends of the sliding ways to the stationary ground ways. 4 and Fa = f t V c o s O where f is the coefficient of friction. again. Both types of trigger have been used in recent years. Here. 2 Slldi~g Way( )Sole ?la¢e sliding structure down the ways is opposed. was a type of dog shore and consisted of a large beam laid at right angles to the ways on each side of the ship. the weight of the vessel is transferred to the sliding ways through the cradle and poppets. as to limit the local loadings in the sliding ways or on the triggers. W sin 0 must be greater than f W cos 0. For the vessel to move. at present. FIG. Referring to Fig.426 SHIP LAUNCHING With the accomplishment of wedging-up and the removal of shoring and blocking. tan O. Ground Wa Fulcrum Pile 9 -~----Timber Lever Deo4man FI~. 3. the coefficient of friction. Some distance along the beam. only by the force of friction F~. for launchings of any large magnitude is the system employing groupings of hydraulic or mechanical triggers arranged in such numbers. 5) now having been replaced by the mechanical in many yards. In both eases the release of the ship is effected by simultaneously cutting all the rope lashings. high tensile stresses are set up in the forward ends of the sliding ways and the loading cannot be distributed evenly throughout the length of the sliding ways nor over more than two such holding units. was a pile driven into the ground for a fulcrum. must be greater than f. t h a t is. Before release. on the water side. This is illustrated in Fig. In some instances this is accomplished b y men with axes. The release is brought about b y cutting at equal rates the two "saw pieces" or "sole plates. while at the other end rope lashir]gs made it fast by applying force in the direction of the force applied by the ship's weight down the ways. shown in Fig. Another similar method is employed at present in the side-launchings on the Great 4. One device. and so spaced. 4. In others a guillotine arrangement is used. still in use for launchings of moderate weight. However. A second method of holding. T h a t used in the Great Lakes side-launchings consists of pneumatically operated knives. One end was applied to the sliding way to prevent its Lakes. upon release.

once released. I1. is introduced which also acts to retard the ship's velocity and to limit its travel. m a n y yards so advantageously situated alongside a clear expanse of deep water that. two pairs for vessels between 10. becomes less. in forms generally similar and varying only in detail. T h e third. The adoption of the use of mechanical triggers at the Quincy Yard of the Bethlehem Steel Company was brought about when new contracts required the building of additional means of holding 5hoe • I ~ '1 ~ ~/. . in all of the large shipyards in the United States. Since the shipbuilding program then indicated a great m a n y vessels to be built. The simplest type is a mask hung at the after end of the ship so as to present a plane surface at right angles to the line of motion and thereby increase the water resistance.. the slipways are laid out at an angle of about 30 degrees to the shoreline.000 and 20. to make possible a simultaneous release. as foolproof as possible. have been launched in very restricted waterways.///. Removal of hydraulic pressure through the handling of one valve at a central control station releases all triggers together. over which work must be done by the resisting forces.11I] 4 Preventer ka'fch FIG. The design problem then became one to produce a workable trigger..000 tons launching weight. water resistance varies with the square of the speed and does not remain a substantial. Checking devices have taken several forms and have been used in m a n y combinations. that of water resistance. There are. simple in installation. as had been the practice previously. Theoretically. such as. Furthermore. At t h a t time. phase of the ship's travel begins as the vessel floats or drops off the way ends. the River Clyde in Scotland. if space is limited. the ship will keep moving into infinity unless other forces are brought to bear. then.000 tons launching weight. This system also would provide the advantage of distributing the holding power along the length of the cradle instead of concentrating it at the one trigger location. the vessels are allowed to run free until picked up by tugs. was a wedge friction brake consisting of a wedge-shaped log made fast to the ship b y lines so that the log was pulled against friction through a tightly fitting trough of steel bands. unusual precautions must be taken for the ship to remain clear of the opposite shore. of course.. however. it becomes necessary to add a further resistance so that the travel. and of varying types. anchors may be dropped when the vessel is water borne. effective force. consideration was given to the possibility of designing a trigger radically different from the hydraulic type which was being used.000 tons launching weight. These conditions led to the adoption of mechanical triggers capable of release electrically or manually.000 tons. Where a more positive method of control is desired and space is still not severely limited. for example. As soon as the cradle enters the water. In such cases. the two previously mentioned forces are acting upon the ship and sliding structure: (1) Its weight. some time prior to 1903. From this point on. The details of the design are deseribed in the second part of this paper. Only a relatively small gain is added. to be applicable to various types of vessels and./. considerabIe dredging is necessary and checking devices are used. bringing about a component of force acting down the ways. 427 CHECKING While sliding down the ways and until entry into the water. it was thought advisable to design the triggers so t h a t they could be used in pairs. the force of friction between the sliding and ground ways acting in a reverse direction. to allow release in a limited vertical clearance. 5 and releasing vessels up to 28. Some of the very largest ships.SHIP LAUNCHING tion of force from an hydraulic ram to one end of a lever whose other end prevents movement of the sliding ways. and final.000 to 30. a third force. when used in groups. Among the devices used in Germany on the Kaiser Wilhelm II. there is no component of force down the ways in effect and the ship comes to rest when its kinetic energy is entirely dissipated b y the water resistance alone or. one pair for vessels up to 10. however./K. and (2). No other instance of its use is known to the author. In the case of the Clyde. and three pairs for vessels from 20. and this is not easily estimated without model experiments.

Between them run rope lashings which are spaced so as. The disadvantage of this system of checking is that it is difficult to gage the pressure to apply and the method requires manual control during a period of excitement and strain when improper action is more apt to be taken and signals are more apt to be confused.70 Although some model experimental data are available for water resistance coefficients. most shipyards must rely on the data obtained from actual launching analysis.428 SHIP LAUNCHING There is. The three coefficients of resistance must be determined experimentally or estimated from the analysis of actual launehings. that the variation in coefficient of grease friction is small. The travel of the ship during launching brings this about and the breaking of the rope lashings serves to decrease the ship's speed and to restrict its travel.65-0. using chain drags. and of making the piles fast to the vessel with wire drag ropes attached near the bow of the vessel. The method of slewing. The figures commonly used will vary from 0. The factors involved in the solution of a checking p r o b l e m u s i n g either the slewing or the straight-line system are the same. using chain drags. The use of models in this connection proved to be a valuable aid in predicting the stopped position of the vessel and in determining the amount and distribution of chain used. The launching calculations performed for producing the routine launching curves provide the figures for the first two factors enumerated. T h e y were mounted on the ground. however.75 0.65-0. the resistance of the chain pulling along the bottom of the launching basin slews the vessel from its initial line of motion.various surfaces are: Hard-packed dirt Smooth concrete Sand on concrete 0. Experimental data have been used. These factors include the weight of the ship and cradle. The basis for such an analysis is an accurate record of time and distance obtained b y any one of several timing methods or an accurate record of acceleration as measured b y means of an accelerometer. hydraulic rope brakes were used for checking. Data obtained from experiment for coefficients of chain drag friction have been questioned.45 0. Previous to the launching of one of the Iowa-class battleships. however.to break at intervals in the travel of the one chain relative to the other. the device which employs rope stops.0175 to 0. The prevalence of the moment is on the side of some form of the chain drag system. depending upon the type of grease selected.35-0. since the amount of chain required can be kept to a minimum. consists of placing the chain on the slipway alongside the vessel to offer additional resistance while the ship moves in a straight-line path. The other common method of checking at launching. At the launching of a battleship in 1919. the water resistance coefficients and the coefficient of friction of chain on the drag surface. and making them fast to the stern of the vessel with wire drag ropes of predetermined length. Typical data for coefficients of drag friction for . slewing methods are generally the most practical. These were made up of a mated pair of steel shoes grooved to take a wire-rope cable fixed to the forward end of the ship. under the bow of the ship. any method of slewing involves placing of chain piles or other weights in the water. When the vessel is waterborne during launching. Here a length of chain is made fast to a stationary point on land and another is made fast to the ship. Since acceleration is the key figure in . and so fitted with a hydraulic ram as to make it possible to vary the pressure between the shoes and thus vary the frictional force on the wire rope running between them.025. The most common checking methods in use today for launching vessels in restricted waters are those which lend themselves most readily to direct calculation. Five such brakes were used on each side. since it is difficult to conduct the tests with high enough velocities to compare with the actual launching conditions. The results of several hundred launchings within the author's experience have shown. and the overall results of the launchings have indicated that these data are well within the range of accuracy of the launching calculations. further. clear of the building slip. the coefficient of friction of the grease. has been used successfully in recent years in the launching of some of the heaviest vessels constructed in this country. model experiments were conducted to ascertain the slewing effect of the chain drags with several coefficients of drag friction. Coefficients of friction of launching grease will vary somewhat. ANALYSIS The analysis of results of a launching is carried out as a check on the estimates made in the design stage and equally to determine the values of water resistance and coefficients of grease and drag friction. the depth of water over the way-ends. In general. When the initial checking calculations indicate that the length of the launching basin is not sufficient to allow a free run but is long enough to allow the water resistance to act for a relatively long time.

6) shows graphically the relative amounts of work done b y each and their interrelation. The last of the unknowns.SHIP LAUNCHING 429 300 200 ~00 o t'- + ¢) 0 0. the aceelerometer method eliminates the necessity for successive differentiations of the time-distance curve.--F2-Fa--F4--F6 . The resisting force attributed to buoyancy is B sin 0. so t h a t the actual force acting down the ways is (W -. is found in the following way.B) sin 0. where W is the total weight of ship and cradle and 0 is the angle of slope of the ways. At t h a t point the forces of grease resistance and water resistance have become zero and ~=F then F5 = f ' w = F where f ' is the coefficient of drag friction.a g cos 0 The value of the coefficient of drag friction can be found in a similar manner b y utilizing the end spot of the force diagram.B) cos 0 or f = tan 0 . The force diagram (Fig. 6 the launching analysis.Fe~+ FIG. The value of the force of water resistance #'4 can be found from the formula F = F. the resultant'force F can be determined from the formula F = ~a Wa = g Referring to Fig.o I00 ZOO 900 800 700 600 500 400 T r a v e l . for the portion of the ship's travel from the start until the cradle enters the water 300 ~_00 I00 0 Fa= F I .F and the coeffÉcientof grease friction f is f F~ (W . The accurate value of W is determined after the launching from a reading of the ship's drafts. and w is the weight of drags. and the most imp o r t a n t from the standpoint of valuable data. B being the buoyancy. is the water resistance coefficient. With the acceleration and the weight of the ship and cradle known. while f. 6. T h e work done b y the ship's weight during the launching is represented b y the area under the circumscribing trapezium.. the coefficient of friction. Grease friction is expressed in the form f (W -B) cos 0. T h e formula for the boundary curve is W sin 0.

Desfroy~r Cruiser . NICKERSON.Sh{p Mrcra~ C~rrier 10O0 /. C where C is a value varying with the type of vessel and the buoyancy.. Mechanical Triggers BY ARCHER /V[. there was virtually nothing similar in American practice for end-launchings of larger vessels with the .. Part 2. In the use of the curves of the coefficient C. IR.-. at the time of the trigger developments to be described.. Mass.. {n fact. The analysis of many launching results has shown that the error in this assumption is small and will have relatively little effect on the overall results. launchings has not been customary. 7 plotted against per cent of total buoyancy. which began in the spring of 1940.450 SHIP LAUNCHING 1400 1200 cargo ----- Pass. Their use in American yards for end3 Engineer. . Curves showing the value of C for different types of vessels taken from the analysis of actual launchings are shown in Fig. Bethlehem Steel Company. Shipbuilding Division. ASSOCIATE ~[EiViBER 3 Mechanical triggers of the multiple-lever type have been used in foreign shipyards for m a n y years.. the assumption can be made that C remains constant between float-off and the stopped position. -l~ / " ~ L NN 800 2 ~I o 600 1"/ . 7 since at this stage of the analysis all of the other forces are known. ~" o /'" 40o N "/ J ~-'i: /F 0 o Io Z0 ao go 50 Per Cen~rof 60 To~olBuoyancy 70 8o g0 Ioo FIG. When the force of water resistance is denoted as F4 = K v ~ it has been shown t h a t the coefficient K may be expressed as B2/. Quincy.~.

When successive launchings of the same type of ship from one slipway are required b y a quantity building program. Figs. the state of fastenings transmitting loads in shear and in tension from the forward end of the sliding ways to the ground ways is sometimes in doubt. a decision was made to proceed with the mechanical type in a design exceeding the capacity of anything at hand in the shipyard at the time. ] t } __~Releasing I i 6ear " We~cJh÷ ~ O-uadran~ 1Wooa Founda'Hon 1 FIG. In theory. mentioned in P a r t 1 of this paper and one type of which is illustrated in Fig. the load being applied to the "main lever" and reduced b y the overall mechanical advantage of the system to an a m o u n t which can be controlled b y the safety quadrant illustrated. 8 and 9 and consists of a train of levers. 8. A multiplicity of such triggers can be arranged readily for simultaneous release and therefore can be used for safely holding the largest vessels. After weighing these facts against the probable advantages and possible deficiencies of mechanical trigger operation. Hydraulic triggers are sometimes slow in releasing. the holding of a hull at the forward end of the cradle concentrates loads on members least able to withstand them. Frome i ~\'< f-'!-'" ~ '. ' We. This is shown in Figs. for while the principles m a y be the same the launching conditions will v a r y between shipyards and for this reason no standard trigger type can be recommended.~ion ~ '. the hydraulic fluid must be of an anti-freezing type for winter-time launchings and there m u s t be a sufficient margin of volume on hand to allow for an amount of leakage difficult to predict. No details are given as their development followed accepted engineering practice. m a y be of general interest.--LAUNCHING ~Hgger TRIGGER--SET . with which the authors are familiar. as the load comes on the triggers. 8 to [5 inclusive are diagrammatic.. in order t h a t there will be no question about holding. In some cases this has resulted in scuffing of the cradle b y failure of the 451 trigger load lever to clear the sliding ways p r o m p t l y upon release. In the "set" position. 5. bearing on the upper end of .SHIP LAUNCHING exception of the lever and hydraulic r a m systems known as hydraulic triggers. Exposed piping and valves are subject to possible damage while shores and blocking material are being removed from the hull. because of a tendency toward gradual failure of the wooden members with repeated loadings. in others. the systems are often p u m p e d to a pressure well in excess of the a m o u n t anticipated. the trigger design has been complicated b y the application of supplementary air-operated booster rams to force the main levers away from the cradle. I t is elected t h a t this be an outline of what was done rather than a treatise on how such triggers should be designed. 9.--LAUNCHING TRIGGER--RELEASED POSITION Mary. I t is believed therefore t h a t an account of the development and use of three successful mechanical trigger designs. especially when a group of triggers m u s t be served b y one relatively small releasing valve. Mechanical and hydraulic launching triggers offer a number of advantages over a n y other type of holding device. a weight in the form of a h a m m e r is suspended b y the solenoid latch. the hydraulic system m a y be filled and its pressure." / FIG. The force down the ways can be well distributed over the cradle and ground ways and in large measure can be transmitted to the wood in compression. T h e trigger is released electrically b y the action of a solenoid. h~ ~'~'~' / . A precedent for this design was the type of trigger used in launching the British steamship Queen Firsl L e v e r ~ Tricjger . The r a m packing m a y start to leak at an embarrassing time in the schedule of prelaunching events. The use of the hydraulic trigger is subject to some disadvantages which can be serious. The h a m m e r "handle" rides in a slot in the quadrant are and. POSITION "" /XSec0nd \ \/--gaelec~ing 6eor Wood "-"-L~/7 I Foundv. In practice. m a y be taken as a measure of the total load down the ways. Finally. B y comparison. ~Second Lever I i ]. The fastenings between wood and the steel trigger frames can be made dependable. Piping joints m a y fail as pressure is developed in the hydraulic system.

A test set-up was made in which each finished trigger was bolted to simulated ground ways. given a check for " g r a v i t y " release and load by increments to a total of 340 long tons or 100 per cent over the average load anticipated.--170-TON LAUNCHING TRIGGER--SET POSITION FIG. The outside lever flew around at great speed and b u t for an intervening plank would have carried away the links and le- . . T h e resulting arrangement is indicated in Figs. The strain gage shown in Fig. These triggers were planned specifically for the launching of U. Three pairs of these triggers were used in this launching.432 SHIP LAUNCHING Sa~efy Clip Hammer I . T h e impact turns the quadr a n t on its axis.S. wiping contact surfaces between the third lever and its supporting yoke dry and finally abrading t h e m in a demonstration of adequate h a m m e r energy.~ . the release was quite like an explosion and it was impossible to distinguish the "one-two-three" order of dropping the levers.S. 3Iassachusetts and three pairs were to be used in the set-up. When the solenoid latch is tripped. based on uniform distribution. 10 and used for giving a measure of load on the trigger in terms of the deflection of the last lever was also calibrated during tile trigger tests. F Trigger Frame ' Or°~ L'nk ~ B u ~ . . since tile rising lever offers additional resistance to be overcome in the event of a sluggish launch. the solenoids being wired in a common electrical circuit. The new design therefore was based on a lever and releasing system self-contained in the trigger frame.~'.9"l_ '--[i__.1 7 0 . was 170 long tons. ". T h e release b y gravity of the Queen Mary triggers is questionable because the third lever must rise. \ _ _ 2 1 . Under load.T o N LAUNCHING TRIGGER--RELEASED POSITION this slot. These had been fitted for the main and second levers.~-.~. holds the quadrant in positive engagem e n t with the long a r m of the last lever in the train. simulating trigger load up to the elastic limit of the levers. the release averaged 2 seconds time from the solenoid action to clearance of the main lever. and the separate support for the holding and release of the last lever is subject to possible damage during removal of shores and cribbing. and checks of the releasing mechanisms at this load.~. Topof Ground W°~ 0 6 IZ Inches FIG.Releose Lever / SolenoTd -FirsfLever . the main lever falling away from the structural bearing m e m b e r in the cradle and releasing the ship. 10. The original load calculation per trigger./ . two of which would hold until released b y hand or one of which might hold. depending on actual loading.580Lb. The triggers were released under load onto the eccentric safety pins and reset after rotating the pins b y means of the hand lever provided as an integral p a r t of each pin. the h a m m e r swings freely until its handle strikes the other end of the q u a d r a n t slot. permitting the last lever in the train to fly upward and thereby release the other two. for it was desired t h a t in the event of last-minute failure of electrical wiring the triggers should at least be "hung-up" in pairs.L/l r Ind~cafor \ . The solenoids of each pair were wired in series and the pairs in parallel. thus preventing its inadvertent release. For all practical purposes this arrangement assures simultaneous trigger release. or be forced away from the cradle without jeopardizing the success of the launch. each lever of which was to fall freely upon release. T h e first trigger test demonstrated the need of rugged b u t simple wooden buffers shaped to the general contour of the levers for good impact load distribution... . ] 6 12 Inches 2 / ~ 0 ". 10 and 11./ i ~I ~I/_/~u~/Yoke 1 . they were released under load as in actual service.'~'. : . .-. n ¢ [ Lev'r .X~. Other special tests included separate overloading of the outside or third lever. I t was decided t h a t the trigger elements should be stressed to the elastic limit at 515 tong tons load. . l l . T h e releasing quadrant is mounted on a separate structure a p a r t from the ground ways. I t was felt t h a t this design could be improved upon b y the elimination of these two features. Following this. At no load. I .q lO.

These gages were not expected to be extremely accurate. h a m m e r clips and safety pins in t h a t order and to stow t h e m in a rack provided for the purpose adjacent to the log desk.SHIP LAUNCHING Top of Ground Wmy . The main control panel contains the test switches.__!£_~~ "tons Lb. The trigger resilience contributes to a snappy release and a buffer was found essential for arresting the motion of the last lever as well as t h a t of the other two. When the rack is filled. Pushbuttons were provided for testing these lamps. The strain gage was the result of a suggestion t h a t it would be desirable to measure the total load down the ways and determine its general distribution on the individual triggers. as the total resilience is less than t h a t of the trigger and test frame combination. This voltage was tapped off from the same storage batteries as used as a current source for the actual release. The fundamental circuit adopted is described in the foregoing. The strain gage.~jxF ~o. 13. Trigger~~ Frc~rnet ~ ~ . c~ ~. T h e y require about 20 pounds on the hand lever to reset the trigger under full test load. a "trigger m a n " is assigned to each trigger for taking strain gage measurements and for removing the h a m m e r safety clip and outside lever safety pin. After a warning signal to the sponsor. All triggers and these removable parts are numbered and the latter have their assigned places in the rack. the latter actuated b y normally closed switches which are held open in the "set" position of the levers. those in charge know t h a t the triggers are clear. voltmeters. After a "trial trip" in which one pair of triggers was used to launch a tanker. which was launched on September 23.---40-TON LAUNCHING TRIGGER--NET POSITION vers of the releasing mechanism. 12.S.% ° tb "%7~. A jacking arrangement was requested to enable a full test of the releasing mechanism up to the m o m e n t of launch if desired. the triggers are released b y the single act of closing the master switch. b u t they have served well as an indication of the percentage load distribution. the master switch is again opened to de-energize the trigger solenoids. eccentric safety pin and release lever latch were additions made to the design after testing the first trigger. single-throw master switch with a positive safety lock in the open position. pushbuttons. the trigger men are instructed to remove strain gages. Sccde 0 0 6 ]nches ~2 Hook S~ripF -~ FIG.S. "released" signal lamps and a twopole. When the "release" signal lamps glow. signal lamps were arranged to glow at each trigger when its solenoid is energized and at the control panel when each trigger is released.. An electrician is also on d u t y at each trigger for transmitting readings and instructions between the triggGr man and launching log desk b y telephone. r~hLever ~Thlrd Lever \. ~.--40-TONLAUNCHINGTRIGGI~R--RI~LBASBD POSITION circuits at a n y time up to the m o m e n t of launch. T h e y are set to be clear of the last lever b y }~6 inch when the hand lever is down and to raise the lever }{ 6 inch clear of its supporting yoke when the hand lever is turned 180 degrees. The eccentric safety pins worked out very nicely. Safe+ypin/ "~. the lever impact is not as severe. Trigg Frome ~1 t] ! "'-2- SecondL e v e r / 0(5. To this were added a test circuit and switches permitting the application of low voltage to each solenoid in order to check the voltage drops in the individual 6 Inche~ 12 FIG. ~llassachusetts.e" TOp of Ground Way C ~/ ~ 433 ~ 41. The release lever latch was applied as a safety measure "to hold the supporting yoke clear of the last lever and to prevent automatic resetting of the trigger in the event of a sluggish release. Under a hull the stored energy produces much the same effect but. the three original pairs were set up under U. In addition. Several wiring arrangements are possible for the releasing solenoids. 1941 Since . Upon removal of all supporting material under the hull. In use.

two or three trigger pairs. yet the gravity release feature of the first design was to be retained. r j .that date the same triggers have been used with *complete success for numerous launchings./~/ . the procurement of forgings was out of the question and elements of structural steel were suggested. A hand lever was welded to an extension of the shaft. T h e main lever was cut from 1-inch plate.Topof Ground WQv ~ . Upon signal he removes the safety pin and the two pins are brought to the official in charge at the launching . T h e requiremerLt was t h a t 80 tons per pair be held in a total working headroom of 2 feet for the dropping of levers. These trigger levers were not bushed on their pins nor has the need of bushings been indicated in literally hundreds of launehings using this trigger type. no wrench being required. alined with turnbuckle and stripper on t h a t side and held while the second hook was located similarly on the other side and welded in place. One hook was welded to the pipe shaft. The smaller levers swing clear with the larger and thus headroom is conserved as no clearances are necessary to prevent interference of the larger levers with the smaller lever pins. Whereas the larger triggers were somewhat complex in t h a t their levers were forgings. ~ ? p o4 Ground W~ ~ Trigger Fourfh Lever Sa{efyPin Th[r Lever Trigger Frame Scole 0 6 tZ ~nches _FIG. it provides a great mechanical advantage. however. At the time. the number depending upon the size and launching weight of each hull. the shafts were carefully m o u n t e d in bronze bushings fitted for pressure grease lubrication and the releasing mechanisms were actuated electrically. to assure simultaneous release. One pair of triggers was to be used per hull and released manually. T h e a d v a n t a g e of the mechanical trigger for a succession of launehings recommended the development of a type for holding smaller ~¢essels on the order of destroyers and LSTs. No strain gages were considered necessary for the triggers in single pairs per launch. This was accomplished as outlined in Figs. 12 and 13. using a simple rope bridle and block and fall..i n c h pipe. The releasing mechanism was arranged as a through-shaft athwartships between the ways (2inch standard pipe). This was held in simple clips "bushed" with 2 ~ . All elements were cut from plate with the acetylene torch and rough ground as required. The test load was established at 80 tons per trigger or double the m a x i m u m designed working load. T h e pins were then removed and the release effected b y letting go the tackle. This has been done generally b y hand. While this system has the appearance of being held up b y its bootstraps. three sections of which were welded together for a total thickness of about 3 inches. each trigger man maintains sufficient tension on the turnbuckle to keep the fourth lever clear of the trigger safety pin. b y which the latter could be rotated for stripping the turnbuckles off of the hooks. 15. This development was so urgent at the time 6 Iz Inches FIG.14. using ~)ne. as illustrated. A hook was welded in line with each trigger and each was fitted with a "keeper and stripper" for the eye of a turnbuckle leading through a wire rope connection to the last lever. the intent of the new specification was simplicity. thus releasing the triggers. T h e second lever was made a channel-shaped weldment to cradle the first. T h e test was completed b y hauling the last levers clear of their safety pins. T h e third and fourth levers were hung from the first and second. two pairs were made without change from the same plans for successive launchings of two ship classes at other shipyards.--110-TON LAUNCHINGTRIGGI~R--SETPOSITION Scale 0 . H e a d r o o m was at a 15remium.--110-TON LAUNCHINC TRIOGER--RELEASED POSITION t h a t the first pair of triggers was in the test frame before a decision had been made on the arrangem e n t of the releasing device. T h e hand lever was fitted with a final safety pin preventing its motion until desired.454 SHIP LAUNCHING ~. In addition. In preparation for launching.

The sponsor is warned and the person who is to release the hull is sent to the releasing station. In a special event of this kind the final safety pin is polished and engraved as a souvenir of the occasion. which is very moderate. Their m a x i m u m size can best be established b y the headroom available from the line of the ground ways to the ground or trigger pit. some notes in detail m a y be of interest. shores and cribbing were removed from beneath the hull and. the triggers m a y be massive and yet remain within scale to the eye. also. The sliding-way frames or pressure members for these triggers are simple channels bolted to the sides of the cradle. The 40-ton trigger frames are bolted in recesses in the outboard sides of the ground ways. Here one pair of triggers was used per ship and the last lever was carried aft in the same direction as the third lever to permit the use of simple yokes on the release shaft. This m a y be an honorary function. in which case he (or she) is accompanied by an attendant who is versed in the art and can lend his practical and moral support. the larger levers m u s t not be so h e a v y t h a t they cannot be "set" using simple tackle. The basis for determining design lo~ds was subject to some discussion. Cross members in the larger trigger frames (170-ton and l l0-ton sizes) provide large areas to which the ground-way timbers are fitted for assuming loads in compression. The digging of pits is not always practicable. Actually. In addition. In comparison. The levers are carried in frames assembled as weldments from h e a v y plates and bolted to the ground ways. The use of the full down-ways gravitational component was now advocated by us on the premise t h a t the triggers would be subjected to a certain a m o u n t of dynamic loading as blocks. Ordinary materials were used as there was no strong point in favor of weight saving and it was believed t h a t materials having good ductility were safer for this application than more brittle materials of higher strength. Steel castings were used therefore for these items and they were inspected carefully and proved under test at twice the designed working load. the procedure for releasing these triggers is quite similar to that used for the 40-ton triggers. The procurement of forgings was also a problem at the time of this design and the proportions of the main and second levers were considered to be too large for their easy fabrication from plates as weldments. The construction details were kept as simple as possible and the levers were not bushed on their pins. On the average. Previously an allowance for friction usually had been made as aiding the holding device. for example. a pair of triggers m a y be in a location covered b y several inches of water at high tide . The latter assure adequate load distribution to the sliding-way members. which was turned b y a hand lever to effect release. The nominal factor of safety used in the designs was predicated on stresses not exceeding 30 per cent of material yield strengths based on the down-ways load without reduction for grease friction. the mechanical triggers a p p e a r to assure more promptness in the starting of the launch than when other methods of holding are used. for they are dwarfed b y the size of cradle and hull. t h a t because of trigger resilience the apparent static load on triggers might exceed the down-ways component because of frictional resistance to trigger deflections a t t e m p t - 455 ing to push the cradle up the ways after such loading impacts. The a m o u n t of overloading is not sufficient to warrant an addition to the theoretical down-ways component considering the safety margins built into these triggers. electrical strain gages of the wire grid type (Baldwin-Southwark SR-4 gages) were applied to the main levers as a check on stress and as an indication of load on the triggers when holding during launching preparations. The arrangem e n t of levers is illustrated in Figs. This has been demonstrated in fact in a n u m b e r of launchings. 14 and 15. While the time interval is short. In conclusion and in general review of the foregoing. In general. I t is believed also t h a t the provision of h e a v y wooden buffers and their fitting to the outline of the levers in the released position are important details in preventing the overstressing of the levers and their pins when the levers are dropped. a release effected b y sawing logs. burning sole plates or using sluggish hydraulic triggers usually is accompanied b y a certain amount of creeping or dragging as the final resistance of the holding device is overcome. This trigger was designed for 110 long tons load (220 tons per pair). the mechanical . This force is more dependent upon the alinement of the pipe shaft than upon the load applied to the releasing hooks. Adequate bolting is provided in their length and no cross members are required. Outside of more complex but convenient electrical signaling arrangements.SHIP LAUNCHING log desk. This is pulled and the hand lever is thrown to release the triggers and the hull. The third design was inspired b y the success of the second and b y the needs of successvie launchings for the Victory ship program. further. about 10 pounds effort is required on the hand lever which is about 30 inches long. The larger triggers work through apertures in the ground ways and bear on frames which are bolted to the sliding ways.

The use of The creeping of the hull under such circumstances. No mechanism is perfect b u t thus far the trou. is effects of friction on the extent to which one m a y nerve wracking. The resulting damage has tions are jacked aft until clearance or lost motion been minor and no complete replacement of any in their connecting links is taken up. In anReverting to basic design features.carrying the points of applied loads close to the sumed in welding." as well as a repair. As an ultimate precaution. a crew has been fects of pin and lever bearing friction in resisting trained to trip the solenoid latches b y hand upon release are more pronounced with greater mechania given signal. To summarize. As their loading is v e r y conservaslipway b y the river current. In setting up the sliding ways. fourth lever in the 40-ton trigger systems. the sections forwhether the release is effected manually or electriward of trigger locations are jacked aft into concally. After some use.train following the main lever. These in a t a n d e m launching a floating barrier was cast do not lend themselves to protection b y means of adrift b y the wave motion due to the first hull buffers however and the turnbuckle screws usually launched and was carried across the end of the take a beating. While the load applied to the triggers is eccenAfter the triggers are set up in the ground ways tric with respect to the ground ways. Also. toggles implies some research to determin ~_ the when held b y the forward end of the cradle. Meinspires confidence b y relative freedom from creep chanical friction varies with the condition of the after the loads are fully established on the triggers. In release they more pairs of triggers are used. all sec- . trigger and the state of the weather. lever pin centers throughout the train.bling these links to transmit load in tension from faces could not be designed to eliminate all faults the after sections to the triggers. intermediate are subject to rolling and sliding and the loads sliding-way sections between trigger sets are are transferred to a small area at the ends of the jacked aft into contact and additional clearance is long levers with the result t h a t these ends be. those sections aft of the trigger locawith other objects.more dependable than toggles.sible to improve the mechanical advantage of covered upon removing the last bilge cribbing un. laying on and grinding flush a neously to the acceleration of the hull and cradle layer of harder metal. load is applied to the ground ways in compression. For example. For 20 minutes of tive. When two or and so were left perfectly flat. they can often be straightened and if they the time required to clear this obstruction the sec.section in order to assure the transmittal of load cerned chiefly with maintenance. the turnThis is appreciated especially when a launching buckle and wire rope combination was selected as must be held up for any reason. T h e shortening ing across individual pairs and by watching the of the "short" levers and lengthening of "long" bank of "released" signal lamps. of the forward triggers. ond hull was held b y the triggers alone.provided in their connecting links immediately aft come turned over and burred. which is an i m p r o v e m e n t mass and to the overcoming of "starting friction. Due to the small headroom available. The larger to each trigger as uniformly as possible and with triggers are bulky and in moving t h e m to the the least amount of creeping. it is posother case a rivet hole in the shell plating was un. the efous. T h e lever contact sur.tact with the triggers and with each successive bles with these triggers have been few and con. the release of all triggers is simultane. The simple Observations of the triggers released b y sole. in the eye can tell. Through pins and a nomiand they are adept to the extent t h a t there is no nal mechanical advantage per lever were given apparent difference in the signal lamp response preference therefore in these designs. T h e externals are by the weight of the hull and cradle which prevent • painted red and green for port and starboard sets the tilting of the whole assembly.456 SHIP LAUNCHING trigger permits the full down-ways component of the burrs are chipped off and the surfaces are built gravitational force to be applied almost instanta. whereas the mechanical trigger go in taking advantage of the toggle action.up b y welding. As nearly as the levers to apply loads close to the pin centers.lever systems were feasible and were felt to be noid-controlled h a m m e r s have been made b y sight.m u s t be replaced their cost is insignificant. thus enapart has been required. With a single pair slipways or to storage they m a y suffer collisions of triggers. The principal and otherwise kept bright and clean. T h e men take p a r t in the trigger cal advantage per lever. when most or all a simple and flexible holding arrangement for the • of the hull weight is on the cradle. the resulting they are checked b y an experienced mechanic who couple is readily handled by the distribution of the assembles the releasing mechanisms and makes forces through the bolting of the trigger frame and any necessary adjustments. grinding and painting the spot. An added lever is not a rehearsals prior to the start of launching events serious complication.trigger lever systems b y the use of toggles or b y der a vessel and nearly as much time was con. requires the use of trunnions rather than through pins.

dated February 1. Robin Rowell. I t is of 457 interest in reflecting British practice and it is thorough in scope on the design of a mechanical trigger quite similar in arrangement to the 170-ton solenoid-operated trigger previously described. J. ACKNOWLEDGMENT As is usual in any development which takes place over a number of years. In this paper acknowledgment is made to the m a n y sources from which basic information has been drawn. The date on the advance copy of this paper was 26 J a n u a r y 1945 and it was published in the Transactions of the N o r t h ." published b y the Society and also to the paper b y Mr. 1945. The links of sections aft of the aftermost trigger pair are stressed in tension. H.5. Recently a paper on "Launching Triggers" was presented before the N o r t h . The actual loads on the triggers are predicated partly on this method of handling the sections and partly on the general distribution of hull weight on the cradle. At the time of these trigger developments there was practically no comprehensive literature on t h e subject.E a s t Coast Institution :. b y lXlr. 2yr. B.5 and March 1. the thoughts and ideas of m a n y people form a background for the subject and successful practice generally will be found to embody much of what has been proved previously. and particularly to Professor Keith's chapter on "La'anehing" in the textbook on "Principles of N a v a l Architecture. a Vice-President of t h a t Institution. . the after triggers assume more of the total load down the ways than do the forward sets.f Engineers and Shipbuilders. As a rule. YleNeill on the "Launch of the Quadruple-Screw Turbine Steamer Queen Mary. Volume 61. 1944-1945.SHIP LAUNCHING tions forward and intermediate are loaded in compression with no load on the connecting links.E a s t Coast Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders. I t was also published in two issues of the magazine Shipbuilding and Shipping Record." published in the Transactions of the Institution of Naval Architects for 193.