BRUNSWICK, Maine — Bath Iron Works plans to build a 20,000-square-foot steel preservation facility at its Hardings Facility on Bath Road to replace equipment that has begun to fail and cause delays at its main shipyard in Bath.

Plans submitted to Brunswick’s planning department propose a new building on the 28-acre site to replace the existing “blast and paint” building, which prepares steel shapes for subsequent use in ships, according to the application. The current building and equipment are more than 45 years old.

The Hardings plant “is the heart of BIW’s fabrication process,” shipyard facilities engineer Chris Main told the town’s staff review committee on March 7. Steel is received by train “and nearly every piece goes through the blasting facility getting blasted and primed” before being moved to the shipyard for use on Navy destroyers. Equipment failures there have delayed production, the application states.

“Over the last several years, the equipment has had mechanical and technical problems which have caused disruption to the manufacturing process and remains one of the least reliable processes for Bath Iron Works,” the application states.

The Hardings plant specializes in structural steel fabrication, with the shipyard’s East Brunswick Manufacturing Facility, consolidated warehouse facility and automated pipe and sheet metal facility, on the other side of Bath Road in Brunswick.

Prefabrication of large and complex units takes place in both locations, according to the application.

Brunswick’s staff review committee considered the sketch plan earlier this month. Town Planner Jared Woolston said Monday that Bath Iron Works indicated it would like the approval process to move quickly.

Meanwhile, just down Bath Road, a “For Lease” sign stands in front of a third Brunswick location, the 52,000-square-foot Surface Ship Support Center.

Andrew Deci, director of planning for the city of Bath, said Monday that the shipyard had no pending applications with the city’s planning board.

Shipyard spokesman David Hench said Friday he had no information about the plans. Hench could not immediately be reached Monday morning.

Bath Iron Works employs approximately 5,600 workers.

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