Naval engineering steel: Special Steels for the construction of large barges
In the civil shipbuilding sector there is no particular need for Special Steels, except for doors/hatches that may be at risk of being broken into or some parts of the deck that require wear-resistant features (e.g. helicopter deck) or slides for goods and/or bulk goods.
The shells are built with steel plates that meet standard resistance requirements and are tested according to the rules of national inspection bodies (R.I.NA – Lloyd Register – Det Norke Veritas Germanitscher Lloyd – etc.). The superstructures are built according to strength requirements, but nothing particularly sophisticated.
The equipment is the same as the one used on land such as: lifting cranes, self-propelled cranes, reach stacker, container handlers, conveyors, hoppers, etc.
In this period the steel company SSAB is investigating the possible use of Special Structural Steels to build large barges, in order to increase their load capacity and reduce the weight of the structure, adopting the same construction philosophy of a dumper skip.
Hundreds of motor-driven or pushed barges sail the seas, especially in northern Europe; they carry all kinds of goods, from foodstuffs to building materials and urban waste and the transported volumes or masses are contained in barges that have a great capacity but are becoming heavier.
The study and information campaign are underway and some prototypes have been built for Dutch agencies.
This equipment would also be useful along our coastlines but at the moment there are no signs of any interest in this type of application.
Other applications with Special Wear-Resistant steel plates have been tested and consolidated in the pelagic fishing industry, on medium-large sized fishing vessels, with regard to the spacers for certain large trawl nets (trawl doors).
The quantities involved for this sector do not justify any market research, as small local suppliers are sufficient to meet the needs.