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Front Street wins grant to buy hi-tech cutting machine

Thursday, July 19th 2018

Front Street wins grant to buy hi-tech cutting machine

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration has awarded a $667,028 grant to Front Street Shipyard of Belfast, Maine, which will help fund the purchase of a new Flow Mach 700 Waterjet Cutting Machine. The equipment will streamline the construction of custom and production vessels, reducing costs and improving quality of the end-products, the shipyard said in a release.

The grant is part of the 2018 Small Shipyard Grants program.

Front Street Shipyard's new waterjet cutting machine will be the largest of its kind in the State of Maine, according to the release. Capable of cutting nearly any material including stainless steel and titanium, it will machine very large parts such as wooden frames for recreational boat molds and carbon fiber panels for commercial ferry construction. Shipwrights will be able to cut parts directly from electronic data drawn by engineers, reducing production time while also improving quality and accuracy.

"With a machine of this size and capability we hope to attract diverse projects, including non-marine applications," said shipyard president JB Turner.

In her announcement of the grant U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said she expected the investment would boost Belfast's local economy and create approximately 40 new jobs at the shipyard. The waterjet cutting machine will installed in a new building, currently under construction. The new 22,500-square foot building will accommodate large yacht refits and commercial vessel construction projects.

"This grant will have a meaningful impact on our business, our employees and our community," said Turner. "We're grateful to the DOT and thankful for the support of Senators Collins and (U.S. Sen. Angus) King who advocated on our behalf."

Front Street will begin installation and operation of the waterjet cutting machine early this winter.

Image: The rendering above shows the new building at Front Street where the new machine will be installed.

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