International Submarine Eng. Ltd. (ISE), Port Coquitlam, B.C., is a developer and
manufacturer of subsea, land, and space robotic systems. One of its products is
a titanium variable ballast (VB) tank—a subsystem of its Arctic Explorer Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) class of vehicles.
The Arctic Explorer is nearly 23 ;. long and weighs more than 4,400 lbs. It
can be launched from a ship or through an ice-hole, and the modular sections
can be separated for transportation. The VB system enables the vehicle, which
is designed to remain underwater between missions for extended periods of
time, to park on the sea floor or hold itself on the underside of the ice during
ISE faced the closure of one of its suppliers, an overseas titanium forging
facility that produced propellant tanks for the Russian space program. ISE did
not want to risk further delays in exploration plans.
ISE reached out to Sciaky Inc., a subsidiary of Phillips Service Industries Inc., after learning that Sciaky had 3-D printed titanium propellant tanks for Lockheed
Martin Space Systems in 2015.
The engineers and project management team at Sciaky put together a plan
to produce a new titanium VB tank using the patented Electron Beam Additive
Manufacturing (EBAM™) 3-D printing process. The process delivers gross deposition rates from 7 to 20 lbs. of metal per hour. It employs IRISS™ (Interlayer
Real-time Imaging and Sensing System), a real-time monitoring and control
system that can sense and digitally self-adjust metal deposition. This closed-loop control helps the process deliver consistent part geometry, mechanical
properties, microstructure, and metal chemistry.
Sciaky helped ISE cut production time from 16 weeks to 8 weeks and reduce
overall costs compared to retooling with a new forging supplier. In addition,
the VB tank created with additive manufacturing passed the same qualification
testing as the tank previously created with the forging process.
4915 W. 67th St.
Chicago, IL 60638
Additive manufacturing helps submarine maker save time, money
Tight-tolerace vibration baffles protect power plant boiler unit
In early 2016, a major OEM in the power-generation industry was launching a
large project to convert a coal-fired power plant over to natural gas. The project
involved the detailing, fabrication, and delivery of hundreds of stainless steel
vibration ba;les—a key component required to convert a coal-fired boiler over
to a natural gas-fired unit.
Because the natural gas-fired units used controlled combustion to heat water,
the key boiler components involved needed to be in place to reduce the vibra-
tion produced during the combustion period. Excess vibrations contribute to
premature failure of boiler tubes, structures, and welds through stress fractures
and cracking. These types of failures can result in a complete shutdown of the
boiler unit and surrounding systems, which can result in millions of dollars in
delays, millions more in repairs, and replacements for the damaged parts and
Although these ba;les would help prevent catastrophic damage to the boiler
unit and surrounding systems, they also would deaden sound and suppress
sonic and seismic waves that could damage the boiler unit and surrounding
systems or interfere with electronic system signals.
Ci Metal Fabrication was awarded the job of detailing and fabricating all the
ba;le components from stainless steel per specification to withstand high temperatures and a fairly corrosive environment.
The basic ba;le design comprised hundreds of stainless steel plates, cut,
formed, and bent to produce wall panels that could be built and erected to
suit. Because of the varying shapes and sizes of the voids and openings in and
around the boiler unit and surrounding systems, the vibration ba;les had to be
fabricated in many di;erent lengths, widths, shapes, and sizes, with di;erent
cutouts and holes, all customized for the appropriate opening or void they need
to wall o;.
The confined space that usually tolerates these vibration ba;les was critical.
While normal fabrication standards may be ±;;; in., these vibration ba;les carried a flange-to-flange tolerance of +0, -;;;; in.
Ci Metal Fabrication
6205 St. Louis St.
Meridian, MS 39307