Babcock began steel construction on a new assembly hall at its Rosyth shipyard on 11 December. The £31.5 million (€34.4 million) contract is part of a £55 million investment programme currently underway at Rosyth, which follows some £100 million invested in the last decade. The company simultaneously announced it has placed an order for PEMA welding and production panel lines to support the automation of shipbuilding.
The assembly hall will initially be used for the Type 31 frigate programme and provides a modern, future-ready facility designed to assemble two vessels side by side. Free from weather disruption, the facility will enable productivity gains due to improved access and digital connectivity.
Advances inside the hall include the use of handheld devices to underpin the efficient flow of materials, with lean thinking applied to all aspects of the build and operations. Gantry stair access inside the structure also removes the need for traditional scaffolding, enabling safe access to the vessels without leaving the building.
Additionally, three new panel lines – a cornerstone of Babcock’s digital transformation at Rosyth – will create significant efficiencies in the manufacturing process. Work has already started on the refurbishment and extension of the existing manufacturing bay which will house the panel lines.
Each PEMA production line is based on modern shipbuilding technology, enabling the company to raise its level of automation, including plate edge milling and robotic welding, which enable high-quality production of various panel types. A T-beam fabrication line is designed to make straight T-beams without any additional straightening processes.
“The Type 31 programme is re-energising the UKs’ maritime capability through innovative, next-generation UK ship design and build. The infrastructure investment underway at Rosyth builds on our exceptional heritage, experience and engineering insight, delivering a very real step change in capacity and capability for modern UK shipbuilding,” commented Babcock’s Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, John Howie.
Progress of the Type 31 facilities at Rosyth site follows a successful whole-ship Preliminary Design Review held in June, which provided a key indicator of the compliance and design maturity. The programme is currently progressing through the Detailed Design phase. At its height, approximately 1,250 people will work on the programme across the UK.