Minimizing Hull Weight & Fabrication Cost

This 16 month study was funded by ONR and DARPA who created a consortium comprising of SWATH International, Altair and Bollinger Shipyards to evaluate a new, optimized design for a SWATH ferry. The project aimed to improve sea-keeping and reduce labor man-hours to fabricate the structure. Our team was specifically tasked to evaluate alternative structural configurations of hull construction and investigate opportunities to reduce cost of fabrication and assembly.

Altair ProductDesign was engaged to use our technology and deep expertise in optimization methods to improve the structural efficiency of a high speed aluminum SWATH ferry. It was recognized that classification society rules on buoyancy, sea-keeping and damage stability imposed practical constraints on the positioning of water tight bulkheads. Functionality and access requirements also limited repositioning of stairwells and cofferdams.

Design constraints for packaging, functionality, assembly & manufacturing and Classification Society requirements were implemented into parallel mid-body sections of SWATH vessels. Working with SWATH & ABS, critical sea-keeping loads were developed based on expected deployment. Results from Altair’s own optimization technology, OptiStruct, were interpreted and used to focus on areas of the hull structure that would benefit from redesign.

Using the results of the optimization studies, the project team ideated and further optimized a series of alternative designs. 11 concept designs were developed and assessed for manufacturability & ease of assembly by project team. The final design selected was a modified truss layout which resulted in a comparably light weight ship with a significant reduction in weld length and fabrication cost.

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