Ever wondered what it’s like to build a submarine? What about a Type 45 destroyer, superyacht or aircraft carrier? These may seem like radical projects to most of us, but for Hythe Marine Services (HMS) Structural Engineers and shipbuilding Designers, it’s a lifetime of craft, and ultimately, another day at work.
Structural Engineers are the creative brains behind many of our most beloved vessels. Often seen as a sub-discipline of Civil Engineering, Structural Engineers are responsible for the core form, and shape, of a structure. Working closely with Designers they ensure vessels are stable, rigid and strong (to put it simply). In essence they create the muscles and bones that hold a ship together.
Having a comprehensive understanding of static and dynamic loading is just the start line in this profession. As modern Designers keep raising the bar, so too must our engineers strive for creative techniques that meet the brief, whilst ensuring structures can both support and resist the loading they will be subjected to.
Hythe Marine Structural Engineers must be clever with materials, calculate the effects of loading and be adept at working within budgets, and with Designers. In essence they are the person in the background, without which, we would not have many of the incredible vessels we see today.
Currently contracted by HMS to BAE Systems in Barrow, Hythe Marine Engineers and Designers are assisting with the Dreadnought Programme.
Here we find out what it’s like to be a Structural Engineer and Designer, working on some of the biggest projects in the world. And why many of the team have been doing it for over forty years.
BAE Systems are leading the design and construction of a new class of submarines. A class that will carry the UK’s independent nuclear deterrent.
Hythe Marine Services contract specialist Engineers to BAE Systems, where they provide structural and design support. As the leader of the build, BAE Systems is due to deliver four new submarines to the Royal Navy, replacing the current Vanguard class.
With the first of the submarines due in 2030 it’s clear the team are incredibly busy. BAE Systems stated on their website that, “The next generation of nuclear deterrent submarine is widely considered to be one of the world’s most complex engineering challenges. Technological advances, threat changes, new methods of design and production mean the new submarines will be a completely new design. Once built, the submarines will measure 152.9 m long, with a displacement of 17,200 tonnes.”
The Dreadnought class are expected to be the largest submarines ever built for the Royal Navy. They will require 42.5 km of piping, almost 13,000 electrical items and 20,000 cables. This will also be the first submarine class to have separate female quarters, toilets and washing facilities, as well as an innovative lighting system that enables the crew to simulate night and day.
The Royal Navy are calling this project the Successor Programme and on October 21, 2016, the name of the first Successor was announced as HMS Dreadnought.
At present Structural Engineers and Designers from HMS continue to work with BAE Systems at Barrow-in-Furness. By nature they are not able to tell us much about their work, but as and when they are permitted to do so, we will share their stories with you here.
To read more about the Dreadnought Programme click here.
Aside from their current work on submarines Hythe Marine’s history with BAE Systems goes back much further. The design talent of HMS can be traced right back to the 60’s when the company was known under the names Mathon Engineering B.V. and Avrotech International Design.
When asking a member of the team why he’s stayed with HMS for so long, he simply commented, “I have enjoyed working with my colleagues immensely as they have always been happy to stand up to a challenge. There has always been a social but professional side to this business which has helped me to sustain longevity within the industry.
In terms of the work, HMS have a core team of loyal, regular people who have worked on past projects together. As a result they all have a network of experienced colleagues, which gives HMS the advantage of being able to take on work with complete confidence in the ability of their team.”
When we asked what other projects some of the Hythe Marine team have worked on, the list was endless. The first to be mentioned was a 70 metre Fast Cat Car Ferry design.
“We were contracted to do the full steelwork, outfit, piping and mechanical packages from design scantlings and arrangements to piping and instrument diagrams and fabrication drawings.
From there we went on to work on a roll-on-roll-off ferry build, where the project was based on modifications to a previous client design. Due to these modifications the team had to work with the designer to revise existing steel and pipe work to meet the new specifications.”
After the ferry projects Hythe Marine sent a team of engineers to assist BAE Systems with their Landing Platform Dock and Auxiliary Oiler Naval Vessels. A package that included scantling drawings, equipment seat design, fabrication drawings and steelwork outputs for the primary steel.
After which they were seconded by BAE Systems to work on Type 45 destroyer vessels. This involved integration of equipment into a 3D model together with pipe systems for the ships mid-section.
As if the collection of incredible projects were not enough, it seemed they were only set to continue. After completing work on Type 45 destroyers the Engineers went on to contract services to warship design and construction company Vosper Thornycroft (VT) (later acquired by BAE systems in 2009), providing piping and steelwork for their Offshore Patrol Vessel Helicopter Project.
The team also checked structural drawings for the Trinidad and Tobago Offshore Patrol Vessels and the Oman Royal Navy Corvettes, with the majority of this work being carried out in Romania.
A simple question, with which the team replied, “When you work with Hythe Marine you get access to an incredibly experienced personnel resource. The team has a long established background of producing quality packages of work, on time, and to budget. This was a deep rooted trait of the past associated companies, in which most of the personnel have worked, a trait that still carries on today.
Many of the team previously worked for Mathon Engineering and later for Avrotech Design, a team and design talent that was later absorbed by Hythe Marine Services. Our teams enjoy working and socialising together. This industry is a small place and the camaraderie is simply unbelievable.”
What a great way to look at your career!
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