March 13, 2012
The U.S. Navy has awarded a $2.1 million contract to New York-based Alcoa, a producer of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum, and alumina, to develop advanced welding techniques designed to reduce manufacturing costs on aluminum-intensive ships.
Under the program, developed through collaboration of Alcoa's Government Affairs team and researchers at the Alcoa Technical Center in New Kensington, Pa., Alcoa will adapt high-deposition GMAW technology to marine structures, enabling the Navy to reduce the cost of shipbuilding. Total projected savings for the Navy could be as much as $200 million under current shipbuilding plans, Alcoa reports.
High-deposition GMAW is a semiautomated process that reduces weld passes, thus reducing labor costs and improving weld quality. The process will be applied to the Navy's littoral combat ship. It could also be transferred to the Navy's joint high-speed vessel and other aluminum-intensive ships.