Advanced Metalworking Solutions for
Naval Systems that Go in Harm's Way

Robotic Welding of Complex Structures

Robotic welding of innerbottoms will improve productivity and reduce costs of DDG 51 construction. BIW photo


The Navy Metalworking Center (NMC) is leading a ManTech Integrated Project Team (IPT) to develop and demonstrate a system to rapidly instruct existing welding robots on welding path locations for as-built structures, and to execute welds in complex assemblies.


Traditional manual welding processes used to fabricate innerbottoms and other large complex ship structures are time-consuming and can be ergonomically challenging.

Technical Approach

The IPT, including the DDG 51 Program Office; Bath Iron Works (BIW); Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division; and NMC, will investigate several robot-mounted measuring systems for suitability for use on these structures. The IPT also will develop and demonstrate a prototype system that integrates the necessary hardware and software to be able to semi-autonomously locate the weld seam, position and orient the welding head, and execute a suitable multi-pass weld.


Large-scale implementation of robotic welding at the DDG 1000 peripheral vertical launch system (PVLS) cell is estimated to produce $5.6M savings for the DDG 51 class at BIW over five years as a result of labor and material savings and schedule compression.


The current robotic welding system used to manufacture the DDG 1000 PVLS will be modified by the selected integrator to support large-scale trials, which will demonstrate the system’s capability to support production operations at that location. If a production component is approved for use in large-scale trials, then the large-scale trials will be considered the implementation point if the trials are successful. If a mockup structure is used in place of the large-scale trials, then implementation will occur on the first production unit after completion of the trials. Implementation is expected to take place at the DDG 1000 PVLS cell in the Aluminum Shop at BIW in the second quarter of FY17 in production for DDG 120.




Bob Donovan
PEO Ships PMS 400D


Bath Iron Works
Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division
PMS 400D - DDG 51 Program Office