Goudy & Stevens Shipyard Integrates Automated Layout, Cutting Processes In Building Largest U.S. Oil Skimmer

Goudy & Stevens Shipyard, East Boothbay, Maine, recently launched the Valdez Star, largest oil skimmer ever built in the U.S. Constructed under contract for JBF Scientific Company, Inc., the 600-ton, 123- foot-long, 31-foot-wide vessel is destined for duty in Prince William Sound, Alaska.

The Valdez Star and smaller ships designed and built by JBF Scientific effectively recover floating oil, relying on a concept called the dynamic inclined plane (DIP).

The DIP takes advantage of a head wave to allow the oil to flow onto an underwater conveyor. Recovery rates can exceed 90 percent with little or no entrained water.

The Valdez Star and its sister ship Shearwater, being built for delivery to the Clean Sound Cooperative on Puget Sound, Wash., are the largest DIP vessels JBF Scientific has designed.

Pete Sarnacki, JBF Scientific staff engineer, explained that because the two DIP vessels required greater yard capacity, the company turned to Goudy & Stevens, known for its craftsmanship in building research vessels, tugs, barges and commercial fishing boats up to 200 feet and more, and a yard which "has had a reputation for building excellent quality vessels for many years." In order to fulfill their shipbuilding contracts, Goudy & Stevens, which occupies six acres on the Damariscotta River, maintains complete fabrication, machine, pipe and electrical shops, with skilled lead men in all crafts. With the mul- ti-ship oil skimmer contract in hand, they purchased a personal computer, Auto-Cad software and a K.N. Aronson Servograph® VP-96 cutting machine outfitted with a Hybrid D6-B controller, high-speed plasma and oxy-fuel torches and zinc plate marking capability. They hired James Kalian, a veteran production engineer and naval architect to pull together the new layout and cutting processes.

Virtually all of the ship's steel cutting is now performed on the K.N. Aronson Servograph VP-96 cutting machine.

The first of the oil skimmers contained perhaps 10 percent computerized precut parts. The second ship has 75 percent precut parts. "It translates into an approximately 15 percent reduction in production time, allowing us to launch quicker and deliver quicker and better," said Mr. Kalian.

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Maritime Reporter Magazine, page 61,  Jan 1991

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