Quickly changing attitudes and technological capabilities have changed the future of the naval industry. According to the U.S. Naval Institute, the future of modern warfare, national security, and the technological advances of our adversaries continue to push the U.S. Navy and Marines toward new maritime industry trends and emerging technologies.
At Fluid Conditioning Products (FCP), we are proud to support the efforts of our United States Department of Defense. We strive to research and develop the highest quality filtration products used in naval shipbuilding and aerospace applications. With over 60 years of experience creating American-made precision filters for some of the world’s most demanding applications, we are ready to meet the demands in the future of the naval industry.
As we start the new decade, FCP wanted to take a closer look at the future of the naval industry and what upcoming changes could mean for manufacturers.
Advancements in Shipbuilding
Heading into the future means a lot of changes in the world of manufacturing, and that’s no different for the naval business. The shipbuilding industry continues to adapt to meet the demands of changing maritime industry trends. According to Accenture, the increase in overseas shipping and costs, customer expectations and requirements, implementation of new digital technologies, and government regulations will all affect the future of the naval industry.
New technology will lead the way to lower costs and addressing the increase in customer expectations associated with rising costs and a jump in overseas shipping.
Eco-Friendly Ship Design
Eco-friendly ship designs include anything from solar or wind-powered ships to ballast-free ship design. As aging naval ships are cycled out, and new ships are introduced, using eco-friendly options will grow. Introducing eco-friendly ship designs not only has the opportunity to protect the environment but may also save budget dollars.
Traditional ballast tank ships are problematic because of the way they pull in water and potentially bring along aquatic organisms to foreign ecosystems. It is often costly to sanitize a ship’s ballast water to avoid bringing along these unwanted foreign organisms—or aquatic invasive species—to another ecosystem.
Ballast-free ship design enables a ship to utilize ballast trunks and lessen the cost of ballast water treatment. In addition, ballast trunks require less maintenance and do not suffer from the problems caused by sediment buildup like traditional ballast tanks do.
Liquefied Natural Gas Fuel
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is a cooled down natural gas that is lighter and safer to transport than traditional fuel methods. It is also a greener and more environmentally friendly option. In its liquid state, LNG is non-toxic and odorless. However, once vaporized for use, LNG becomes flammable.
While LNG is not widely used in the shipping industry, it is becoming more popular as extraction and transportation methods become more refined. As interest in this fuel source grows, the number of ships using LNG as a primary fuel source is also expected to expand.
Improve Emerging and Growing Technologies
It’s no surprise that 3D printing is a technological advancement that has taken the world by storm. As a result, the future of the naval industry also stands to benefit from 3D printing technology. Whether it’s used for printing spare parts or creating models, the capabilities of 3D printing are virtually limitless. In addition, the ability to print spare parts at sea is especially vital to the maritime industry, since it can create less downtime when a part breaks.
Along with 3D printing, the world of robotics continues to grow in popularity as well. It is widely seen as a safer and more precise alternative for some jobs in shipyards and for on-ship repairs.
According to the Rand Corporation, as ships age, they tend to require more maintenance until they are phased out. Both 3D printing and robotics have the ability to help alleviate some of the pressure that the extra maintenance puts on ships and their crews.
AI & Automated Ships
The future of naval and maritime industry trends points towards ships and shipyards having less crew or no crew at all. So while including AI and automation could increase shipping capabilities, many companies are unable to find test locations for their new technology.
According to the ENO Center for Transportation, coordinating testing includes trying to work around outdated regulations and several government organizations. These types of difficulties may hinder advancements for certain naval industries.
Challenges Facing the Industry
The future of the naval industry looks bright, with new technology and innovations emerging every day. However, there are still problems that will stand in the way of implementing technological advances and innovations.
Increasing Maintenance Demands for Older Ships
As we talked about previously, older ships tend to require more maintenance. Even with emerging and growing technology like 3D printing, robotics, and AI, these older ships pose an expensive problem to their owners. Will you be able to keep up with the maintenance, or will a new ship need to be introduced? Many government and private organizations are facing that same question.
Demand Strain on Production
Company and consumer demands will evolve as societal trends and consumption trends change. As shipping demands increase among many countries, the shipbuilding industry may struggle to meet those production demands. The future of the naval industry will focus heavily on innovations that help to meet higher production demands.
What This Means for Different Sectors
The shipbuilding industry focuses on two sectors—government defense ships and private consumer-oriented ships. Innovation, regulations, and changing demands will affect both areas.
As aging ships in the defense sector continue to require more and more maintenance, the defense sector will have to decide between fixing their current ships or building a new fleet of innovative vessels. The increase in technology and data—used and stored—on these defense ships will also be a factor when deciding which ships to maintain and which to upgrade.
The private shipbuilding sector will have to focus on consumer demands. The consumer’s demand for faster shipping times, lower costs, and more options will steer the future of shipbuilding in the private sector. Innovation and working together with other nations on shipping regulations will also play a significant role in meeting customer demands.
FCP Continues to Be a Leader in the Aerospace and Defense Fields
Here at Fluid Conditioning Products, we work hard to create high-quality and specialty engineered filtration products for the aerospace and defense fields. As these fields evolve and grow, so will FCP. Using LEAN manufacturing strategies and maintaining quality certifications, we develop only the best products for our customers.
Contact us today if you are ready to discuss your next project.