The U.S. National Shipbuilding Research Program (NSRP http://www.nsrp.org) has announced the selection of 11 new Ship Production Panel projects designed to reduce the costs of Navy shipbuilding and ship repair. U.S. commercial shipbuilding is important to maintain and modernize the industrial base for both new construction and repair of military ships and craft. The United States builds less than 1 percent of ships worldwide. One of the reasons given for the small amount of commercial shipbuilding in the U.S. is the view that ships are too expensive to build here. The U.S. commercial shipbuilding industry is continually asked by its prospective customers why ships are so much cheaper in foreign yards.
One of the projects will address effective methods to apply lessons learned to new building coatings selection and application. The Navy is faced with increasing costs of surface fleet maintenance, a situation aggravated by surge demands associated with the global war on terror. Ships are coming back to the U.S. for rapid refits and minimum maintenance, resulting in less than optimal coating selection and application since meeting short vessel turnaround time is paramount. There are opportunities to learn lessons from this and apply them to new vessels to optimize the applied coating scheme in order to gain maximum benefit in through-life costs. The aim here is to assess the needs of coating at new build to minimize life cycle costs for the vessel, while meeting the needs of the new building process and the associated budget restrictions.
Benefits include cost reduction through the life of the vessel by identification, management and elimination of repetitive problems. The new procedure will also enable alternative new building specifications to be evaluated and costed, allowing assessment of the impact on through-life maintenance and new building and design budgets. Previous study has shown that $1 per square foot spent at the design stage can save up to $100 per square foot through the life of the vessel in reduced maintenance costs.