Mustang Marine is a shipbuilding and marine engineering company based in Pembroke Dock. The company was established in 1984 and is a leading designer and manufacturer of ‘working’ vessels. They specialise in bespoke small-vessels design, manufacturing sub-40m vessels in predominantly aluminium or steel.
Small-vessel shipyards, such as Mustang Marine, represent a significant proportion of the UK shipbuilding industry. The company have remained in operation because they are agile and can respond rapidly to customer demands. However, in order to maintain their competitive advantage the management team realised that they needed to employ best practice design coupled with advanced manufacturing technology and techniques.
To address this issue, Mustang Marine approached PDR, and this developed into a collaborative two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP). The project focused on upgrading their 2D CAD package to a fully-integrated 3D CAD/CAM system to drive improvements in manufacturing and assembly, as well as enhancing the marketing and costing of new ship designs.
Various international software vendors exhibited their latest CAD/CAM software at PDR’s facilities in Cardiff, and a structured assessment process selected a suite of specialist software. An intensive evaluation of the chosen CAD/CAM system on ‘live’ projects enabled the new software to be fully tested and adapted to meet the specific needs of Mustang Marine.
The new CAD/CAM system was closely integrated with production, and this has facilitated the use of advanced manufacturing systems. The use of automated laser cutting has reduced costs by more than half, and tighter tolerances have significantly improved product quality. In addition, Mustang Marine has been able to adopt sophisticated build strategies that have reduced rework and cut assembly times by typically 30%.
In addition, communication levels and the skills-base have improved throughout the company. Mustang Marine can now be more responsive to customer needs, which has enhanced their international profile and won prestigious new orders.
The company moved into larger premises, with a prime waterfront position and twice the fabrication capacity. Crucially, the expansion in business operations has increased the size of Mustang Marine’s workforce from 22 employees (prior to the KTP) to 36 employees.