IPS completes aircraft carrier contract

BIRKENHEAD-based engineering firm IPS Marine Fabrications has completed a three-year contract with Cammell Laird to supply welding services for the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier.

An eight-strong team helped construct huge flight deck modules, seen floating down the Mersey in the picture.

Director Paul Smith said: “We have a long standing relationship as a supplier to Cammell Laird and this was a terrific contract for IPS to work on.

“It was a complex and demanding job but one which was a good fit for our experience and expertise. The main work we undertook was the drawn arc stud welding.

“The prime advantage of drawn arc stud welding is that it provides very strong and reliable welding under a broad range of conditions. It essentially produces a full cross-sectional weld, forming a bond that is stronger than the surrounding metal.

“Given the scale of the aircraft carrier project and the thousands of pins we had to fit this calibre of welding was essential. Working on such a big project also meant reviewing the specification in detail with the project team to maximise efficiency and ensure we kept to strict deadlines.”

Mr Smith, who founded IPS with co-director Peter Hillan 2001, said the carrier project had provided a “tremendous showcase” for IPS’ skills and expertise.

Cammell Laird first signed the contract to build the flight decks for the HMS Queen Elizabeth in July 2010. After being completed the flight deck modules were transported from Cammell Laird by an ocean-going barge on a five-day journey to Rosyth on the east of Scotland where the aircraft carrier is being assembled. In total five UK shipyards are involved in building the ship.