Enabling a New Era of Shipbuilding.
Austal is an Australian manufacturer, servicer, and sustainment provider of advanced aluminum and carbon steel vessels with a supplier network that includes more than 850 companies across 40 states.
For the company’s first U.S. operation, a contract to produce ships for the U.S. Navy, the customer selected Gray to design and build a modular manufacturing and office complex in Mobile, AL.
- Mobile, ALLocation
- 1086670 s.f.Square Footage
- 13; 9; 12; 24 monthsOperational
Multiphase Project Brings Heavy Industry to Mobile
Gray’s initial scope for the project included design-build services for a 460,000 s.f. modular manufacturing facility (MMF) for producing the Littoral Combat Ship and the Joint High Speed Vessel for the U.S. Navy. As the project neared completion, Austal added modifications to an existing pre-engineered building to Gray’s scope. In 2011, Austal turned to Gray to complete a 393,000 s.f. Phase II expansion of its MMF production bay, as well as Phase III—a greenfield 108,000 s.f., three-story office complex on the Mobile campus.
The manufacturing spaces include 93′ tall steel sliding doors, 47 overhead cranes, and aviation-style fabric doors rated for 135 mph winds, while the office complex—five modules totaling 20,000 s.f.—features a nautical theme with high-end finishes, a curved glass façade, cherry wood panels, and a reconfigurable multi-purpose room with auditorium-style seating for up to 400.
The limited available footprint for the campus’s office structure presented a unique challenge for the project team. As one Austal official put it, the office complex was built “on a work site the size of a postage stamp,” and utilized nearly 70% of the remaining space on Austal’s campus, which included the existing and expanding MMF, a pre-engineered warehouse, a U.S. Navy facility, and a parking area. Between active construction and the customer’s ongoing shipbuilding operations, the site allowed little room for staging building materials. Despite these challenges, the Gray team delivered an award-winning project that allowed the customer to maintain its production schedule for the Navy contract.
Austal Receives Honors from ABC Alabama
Sharing Our Success
Austal USA hosted Gray and other distinguished guests at its Mobile, AL, campus for a ribbon-cutting ceremony commemorating the construction of its new modular manufacturing and office facilities.
Expanding Production Capabilities
Following construction of the modular manufacturing bays and offices, Austal selected Gray to design and build an expansion to house a new carbon steel panel production line. The greenfield expansion represents Gray’s fourth design-build project on Austal’s Mobile campus and increases the size of the campus to more than 1 million s.f.
As part of the addition of a new production line, Gray divided Austal’s modular manufacturing area with a wall to separate the new carbon steel production materials and equipment from the aluminum production processes. The addition of steel capability allows the customer to produce up to nine high-quality steel ships per year and ensures that Austal USA will remain a major contributor to the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.
The carbon steel panel production line features two large roll-up doors at 56′ wide and 45′ tall, with a clear span of 225′ and 15′ deep girders that span the length of the building. Gray used more than a dozen heavy-duty cranes for the facility’s construction. Gray’s scope also included the integration of complex mechanical infrastructure for the facility’s process utilities, such as welding gas, compressed air, and dust collection ducts, all trenched underground to avoid overhead conflicts in the fabricating process.
Process & Packaging Systems Engineering
Automation & Controls
Custom equipment Ovens & cookers Process skids Batching equipment Clean-in-place systems Bioreactors Extruders Distributed products Mixers & blenders Control panel fabrication