While nowhere near as high-tech as unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) and radar, the provision of proper insulation for the thousands of kilometres of pipes on naval vessels of various types and sizes is an occupational safety must to which the Armscor Dockyard reacted accordingly.
The Lagging Workshop at the Simon’s Town facility has, the latest Armscor newsletter reports, introduced “new skills” for lagging blanket production as part of its maintenance function.
“Lagging material,” the newsletter explains, “is used for thermal insulation of hot surfaces”. This limits heat transfer and enhances energy conservation by minimising heat loss. Another obvious proper lagging plus is improved shipboard safety with limited chance of burns from contact with hot, often extremely so, pipes and ducts.
The dockyard workshop now has new industrial sewing machines solely for stitching the fibreglass fabric used for lagging blankets largely eliminating manual stitching.
Workshop employees were training in correct use of the new machines as well as product development of lagging blankets from fabric cutting and stitching to fitting on ducts and pipes.
The training was done by a registered facilitator with experience in product design improvement. This, the newsletter has it, led to improvement in the workshop which will enhance product quality and reduce turnaround time.
Additionally the dockyard workshop replaces other insulation materials such as circular foam ducts used to cover small diameter pipes, thermal foam sheets to cover rigid ventilation ducts (trunking) and thick fibreglass insulation blankets used for bulkheads on vessels for heat and sound insulation.
The improvements are part of ongoing efforts at upgrading workshop facilities and production processes in the dockyard as a whole. An added plus is skills development through training.