Research training programs are in naval design, hydrodynamic analysis, structural analysis, electrical and electronic systems, reliability and risk-based design.

Industry Driven Research

The Australian Maritime College – University of Tasmania (AMC/UTAS)

The AMC, Australia's national institute for maritime and maritime-related education, training and research, is a specialist institute of UTAS. It has one of the best suites of research facilities of any maritime university in the world; the uniqueness of its research infrastructure lies in the combination of five facilities, each of which are the largest and in most cases the only research facilities of their type in Australia: a cavitation research laboratory, towing tank, model test basin, circulating water channel, and 35 m fisheries research and training vessel. These facilities have a replacement value of ~$80M, and form an integral part of the training of honours, postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers in maritime engineering.

UTAS's 2012 strategic plan 'Open to Talent' sets research as the first priority for the university and has established Marine & Maritime as a key research theme. Therefore this proposed project is perfectly aligned with the University's strategic outlook.

The National Centre for Maritime Engineering & Hydrodynamics (NCMEH), the school within AMC specialising in maritime engineering, is internationally recognised for high-quality research. This is reflected in the fact that higher research degree enrolments have more than doubled over the past four years. Research excellence in Maritime Engineering at UTAS is certified by its 'world class' classification (Grade 3) in the 2012 Excellence in Research for Australia rankings. The NCMEH Research Group at UTAS is the largest such group in Australia. It consists of world leading researchers and emerging research leaders in branches of fluid-structure interaction, naval architecture, ocean engineering and fluid mechanics. Six academic staff members (including CI Thomas) presently sit on international bodies related to the field, including the International Towing Tank Conference (ITTC) and the International Ship and Offshore Structures Congress (ISSC). The group has five current ARC Linkage projects, plus two with the FRDC (12 over the past decade). The Centre has six Professors and A/Professors (plus two honorary and one visiting from Canada), four postdocs, 31 PhD and 8 Masters students. Weekly research seminars are held that bring together researchers across the whole AMC.

NCMEH has long-standing formal research links with the DSTO for research into naval hydrodynamics, and has current research collaborations with the US Office of Naval Research, the Directorate of Navy Platform Systems within the Australian Department of Defence, the Australian Antarctic Division, the Australian Fisheries Management Authority, the Cooperative Research Navies (includes Australian Department of Defence, Canadian Navy, French Navy, Royal Netherlands Navy, Royal UK Navy, US Coast Guard and US Navy). NCMEH has strong industry links in current projects with the Australian firms Oceanlinx Ltd, Incat, Hydro Tasmania, Revolution Design, Newcastle Ports Corporation, Liquid Time; in addition to international organisations such as with Maritime Research Institute Netherlands and Wartsila Netherlands.

The University of Wollongong

From 1994 to 2006 the University of Wollongong (UoW) was involved in the Materials Welding and Joining (later the Welded Structures) CRC. In collaboration with DSTO and Bluescope Steel Limited the CRC conducted work on the use of high strength steels for Defence platforms. Members of the CRC team (including Prof John Norrish and Dr Frank Barbaro) were involved in a Commonwealth of Australia review of the Collins Submarine welds. This led to the successful Hydrogen Assisted Cold Cracking (HACC) project undertaken with the University of Adelaide, ANSTO, BHP and ASC in 2004. Since 2008 the UoW team has been involved in the DMTC. The group has carried out major projects in the Land and Maritime platform space. All of the projects have been initiated in discussion with industry partners and have focused on key priority areas identified by the end user. Typical projects are:

  1. Investigation of the weldability and optimisation of welding procedures to avoid HACC and improve productivity in the fabrication of high strength quenched and tempered steels for Thales Australia. This project has demonstrated significant productivity gains and is currently going through the approval process prior to adoption.
  2. Review of process options for improved productivity and distortion control for Forgacs. The project resulted in the replacement of submerged arc welding with a state of the art tandem gas metal arc welding system with major improvements in distortion control.
  3. Evaluation of high strength steels and advanced welding techniques for surface ships with DSTO.

The welding research activities at UoW are within the School of Materials, Mechatronic and Mechanical Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering. Welding research requires a multi-disciplinary approach and whilst the Welding Engineering Research Group (WERG) coordinates the activities there is very strong association with the Applied Automation group and colleagues in Materials, Mechatronic and Mechanical engineering as well as joint projects with other faculties. One of the main strengths of the research approach taken at UoW is the ability to call on this multidisciplinary expertise to facilitate major projects in the welding and joining area.

Professor Norrish is also a Director of DMTC and Vice Chairman of Commission XII of the International Institute of Welding. Dr Stephen van Duin is Program Manager of the Marine Platform Program of DMTC.
The group has access to state of the art welding equipment, in particular the welding capabilities comprise:

  • Advanced controlled transfer GMAW systems
  • Hybrid Laser and Plasma GMAW
  • GTAW and Plasma welding facilities
  • High speed transient weld data monitoring
  • High speed video recording of metal transfer

These welding resources are complemented by one of the most comprehensive robotic welding facilities in Australia (University of Wollongong, 2010).

The Centre for Maritime Engineering, Control and Imaging (CMECI) at Flinders University

The Centre for Maritime Engineering, Control and Imaging (CMECI) at Flinders University possesses expertise in the following research areas: robotics, material engineering, advanced control, active vibration cancellation, embedded systems, video and image processing. The CMECI includes 10 full time staff members and around 20 postgraduate students and will by December 2014 be relocating to a new purpose built campus at Tonsley, south of Adelaide. The new Tonsley campus will accommodate large workshops and laboratories that will support the Marine Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing capabilities together with the School's other research programs. These facilities will include:

  • A new marine test tank facility (5m x 5m x 3m) for testing of AUVs/ROVs, acoustic communications and sonar systems, and electrical propulsion thrusters.
  • A large 6-DoF Stewart platform capable of supporting a 4 tonne payload with the ability to recreate dynamic motion in all available degrees-of-freedom. This includes such areas as vibration testing, materials testing, wave action simulations, blast simulations, field robotics, flight/vehicle simulation, and human factors. A 3D laser Doppler vibrometer system is available for use in conjunction with this platform.
  • An advanced manufacturing workshop which will include a HSM-5XC Eumach Machining Centre (5-axis CNC Mill) and an Ajax CNC Lathe: FEL-1860ENC.