Life at the end of the road

January 16, 2013

Off to Hallaig (the boat not the village) :-)

Filed under: daily doings, New hybrid ferry — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:12 am

Well, it’s almost 6:00 am and I’m almost home after yet another long drive, again, no ‘biggy’ for most normal folk but Gourock and back mainly in the dark is too far for me Sad smile Still it was in wifey’s car so didn’t break the bank and was in relative comfort, mind you there were times that four wheel drive seemed like it may have been a better option. Though not in ‘real life’ just that world that the media and ‘doom merchants’ live in, the roads were clear and despite minus six last night, ice free.


That was around Rannoch Moor where I’d stopped the previous day as light was fading to take pictures of the rowan tree that grows out of a rock.



Sat on its rocky fortress that protects it from deer and sheep this scrawny old trees size belies its age. In a sheltered spot such a tree would be massive by now but buffeted by winter gales and parched by  lack of soil in the summer it’s like an overgrown Bonsai. I’ve no idea how old it actually is but it’s been sat on this boulder looking just like that for as long as I can remember.

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Aye, the only other trees your likely to see on that wilderness are on the tiny islets of Loch Ba and Loch na Ailise, the shallow peaty water preventing grazing by deer, rabbit and sheep.

Map picture


The MV Hallaig

The purpose of my 440 mile round trip being a meeting at head office and dockyard visit to the now floating MV Hallaig at Ferguson’s ship builders on the Clyde .



There’s nothing I like more than visiting boatyards, dockyards and breakers yards but going to see your actual ship being put together was something special Smile

So after a couple of hours in that ‘hub of operations’ that is head office and putting some faces to voices on the phone we went to the yard, and after a short safety induction were escorted around both hull 726 being constructed on the slip.



This will be the bow section of the second ship destined for the Tarbert Portavadie route, or Cloanaig Lochranza, I forget which one



and this will be the main part of the hull, which for some reason is has a sign under it saying 725 ??



These are the aluminium accommodation sections which will be eventually welded onto the steel hull !!!!!! yes welded Smile Now if you asked me several weeks ago if it was possible to weld steel to aluminium I would have said quite emphatically no, their compositions, characteristics, and melting points being so radically different, however a recent development called a ‘Bimetalic transition insert’ makes this possible.

Bimetallic Transition Inserts:  Bimetallic transition materials are available commercially in combinations of aluminum to such other materials as steel, stainless steel and copper.  These inserts are best described as sections of material that are comprised of one part aluminum with another material already bonded to the aluminum.   The method used for bonding these dissimilar materials together, and thus forming the bimetallic transition, are usually rolling, explosion welding, friction welding, flash welding or hot pressure welding, and not arc welding.  The arc welding of these steel aluminum transition inserts can be performed by the normal arc welding methods such as GMAW or GTAW.  One side of the insert is welded steel-to-steel and the other aluminum-to-aluminum.  Care should be taken to avoid overheating the inserts during welding, which may cause growth of brittle intermetallic compounds at the steel-aluminum interface of the transition insert.  It is good practice to perform the aluminum-to-aluminum weld first.  In this way, we can provide a larger heat sink when the steel-to-steel welding is performed and help prevent the steel aluminum interface from overheating.  The bimetallic transition insert is a popular method of joining aluminum to steel and is often used for producing welded connections of excellent quality within structural applications.  Such applications as attaching aluminum deckhouses to steel decks on ships, for tube sheets in heat exchangers that have aluminum tubing with steel or stainless steel tube sheets, and for producing arc welded joints between aluminum and steel pipe lines.

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Here’s one of them already welded to the aluminium superstructure, the aluminium side being welded first so that it acts as a ‘heat sink’ for when the much hotter steel weld is done. The one on the right is a finished joint on the MV Hallaig, not sure if this is the actual stuff but a similar product called ‘Triplate’ it’s ‘explosion welded’ inside a vacuum to bond the steel to aluminium so it can’t be cheap. Probably not riveting reading to most, but me I’m in awe of it Smile



This is the bow, or stern corner sections of 726 being fabricated inside one of the sheds



and this our very own, yard number 725, the MV Hallaig alongside the fitting out berth at the yard.

Anyway, it’s now 7:15 and I’ve a ferry to catch so I’ll finish this tonight Smile

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