The Navy, Coast Guard and industry have approved nine significant changes to painting protocol during shipbuilding, in a pilot project designed to increase efficiency and save money.
Overall, the changes will mean less painting, less primer and less surface preparation. Rear Adm. Thomas Eccles, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) chief engineer and deputy commander for Naval Systems Engineering, issued a letter to shipbuilders April 2, approving the nine potential cost-saving efficiencies.
The approved initiatives, which could be implemented this year, are:
- Applying powder coating directly to metal on interior components such as electrical boxes;
- Applying interior liquid coatings on interior components without requiring a primer;
- Applying underwater hull coatings over moderate rust;
- Reducing surface preparation on deck tie-downs;
- Using galvanized fasteners instead of painting bare steel fasteners in ventilation ducting;
- Not painting areas covered by docking blocks during final coating application;
- Applying high-solid, rapid-cure tank coatings that are tinted to bilge colors in new construction submarine bilges; and
- Raising the allowed relative humidity in buildings in which tank coatings are applied.
These changes were among hundreds identified by targeted working groups established at an industry day in February. The groups examined potential cost-saving changes in the four highest-priority functional areas: paint and coatings, hull and structure, electrical systems, and piping systems.
"Based upon the work of the four 'Specification Cost Reduction' working groups, I have approved a number of quick-win cost-saving items," Eccles wrote in his letter.
The letter asked industry partners to review the approved changes and identify the applicable portions of existing NAVSEA contracts and ship specifications that would need to be changed to implement the changes on each hull.
The groups also identified 248 other cost-saving recommendations: 75 for paint and coatings, 85 for hull and structure items, and 44 each in piping and electrical system items. Those are now under review.
"We'll continue to work with industry and stakeholders as we adjudicate and develop implementation plans for the remaining proposed cost saving items to realize additional savings," said Robin White, NAVSEA director for Surface Ship Design and Systems Engineering.