improve quality. Standardization can encompass not only overall ship design but also standard components between different ship designs. Adoption of international standards by shipbuilders for parts and materials will assist with commercial marketing of ships.
Increased use of CAD/CAM is seen today in most U.S. shipyards. Full realization of the benefits of these processes requires concurrent improvements in other technologies, such as process flow, material acquisition, and standardization.
Shipyard layout can present difficulties, especially where space for production facilities is limited. However, many successful foreign yards have the same problem. The use of process simulation to investigate the effect on production of changes in yard layout is an important tool for overcoming the difficulties of limited space.
U.S. and foreign shipbuilders currently employ the same level of mechanization and automation of production processes. The most advanced systems have been developed for foreign shipbuilders, and the developers of these systems are selling them to U.S. shipbuilders.
Material-handling technology within U.S. shipyards today is about equal to world class standards, with the exception of large transporters, in which some foreign yards have greater capability. The area that needs the most improvement is logistics. Improving logistics will reduce the amount of material to be moved.
Accuracy control in shipbuilding can be improved through better application of dimensional process control and statistical process control. A commitment by management to enforcing production standards is required for in-process work and the final product.
A major improvement in steel fabrication in most U.S. shipyards would be the use of automated profile cutting and preparation equipment. Likewise, U.S. shipbuilders do not apply the same degree of automation in the production of structural units of the hull structure as foreign competitors.
The level of technology application in the United States for outfitting and preoutfitting U.S. Navy ships is the same as that in foreign shipyards for commercial ships. The automation of design and production planning are not at the same high level to support fully the outfitting process.
Blasting and coating of structures in the United States is not usually performed in large halls that many foreign shipyards have. No primer for steel available today is capable of being welded-over under conditions of high-productivity welding. Robotic grinding of primers prior to welding is also not practiced by U.S. shipbuilders as it is abroad.
The expertise in testing that U.S. shipbuilders have gained from naval shipbuilding will be of little advantage in commercial production.
Improvements in product technologies or facilities do not reveal any new technology that will give U.S. shipbuilders a tremendous competitive edge over foreign shipbuilders. As will be seen in the following chapter, the primary