Friday, July 12, 2013

Applications for Inclinometers in the Shipbuilding Industry

Inclinometers are a specialized family of instruments used to measure tilt, elevation, and depression and these tools have applications in a wide array of industries from forestry to manufacturing and aerospace applications. Among these industries is shipbuilding which has been making use of inclinometers in one form or another for many years and there are two primary applications for inclinometers in shipbuilding: - 
  • Construction uses both during and after ship construction is complete - 
  • Navigation and safety concerns such as measuring the heel of the ship while it's at sea.


Inclinometers are known as "swiss army knife" of shipbuilding because they are used throughout the process and, also, to ensure that the finalized ship is seaworthy and safe. Chief among the reasons for using inclinometers in shipbuilding is the fact that they are used in equipment such as cranes and other heavy-lift equipment to ensure that the item being lifted is kept level. Careful placement of panels, components, and parts of the ship's structure is paramount to its structural integrity and to its ability to safely navigate the sea and inclinometers ensure that these components are kept level and precise

Stability Testing and Navigation

The final use for inclinometers in shipbuilding is to perform an inclining experiment, also know as an inclining test. The inclining test determines the ship's overall stability, its lightship weight–the weight of the ship when all extraneous weight has been removed–, and the ship's center of gravity and must be performed on all ships measuring 24 meters or longer. The inclinometer's role in an inclining test is to measure the degrees to which a ship heels when a series of weights are moved around the surface of the ship. The measurements resulting from the inclining test are crucial to maintaining the ship's stability are also used during navigation.

The measurements and readings from inclining experiments are most often used on sailboats, though other ships can make use of them. A sailboat must tilt, or heel, at a specific degree to ensure that it is sailing efficiently and an inclinometer helps the ship's crew ensure that it is doing so. Furthermore, the inclinometer will notify the ship's crew if the heel is too aggressive and the ship is in danger of capsizing. Finally, an inclinometer can be used as a navigational device by the ship's crew to determine the latitude or to determine deviation from a set course.

From manufacturing to testing inclinometers are used in nearly every aspect of shipbuilding. These devices not only help to ensure that surfaces are free from defects and malformations but, also, they are useful in determining center of gravity and ship weights. For more information about inclinometers, and for help determining the specific inclinometer package that's best for your inclining project, contact Rieker Inc, and they will be happy to help.

Thelma Micco is a freelance writer interested in learning more about mechanical and nautical applications of Inclinometers, shipbuilding and Digital Inclinometers.

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