Bath Iron Works wants to replace its steel blasting and preservation equipment, along with the building in Brunswick where the work is performed.

BIW officials briefed Brunswick’s planning staff on the project this month during a preliminary meeting.

In a note accompanying its application, the company said the equipment at the site – where incoming steel is blasted and painted before being sent to the shipyard in neighboring Bath – is more than 45 years old and “well past its expected life.” The equipment at the site, which is known as the Hardings Plant, is also prone to failures, the company said, and because of its design, a single failure in one piece of equipment can shut down the entire line.

It “remains one of the least reliable processes for Bath Iron Works,” the company said. Over- and under-blasting the metal and paint spray-nozzle problems can require the company to remove excess paint later in the process, slowing production, BIW said.

The work is critical, the company said, and BIW officials told the town it intends to keep using the current equipment until replacements are in place and tested. An existing warehouse will be connected to the new line, BIW said, and the old blast and paint building will be demolished once the new line is up and running.

BIW spokesman David Hench said he couldn’t provide a cost estimate for the new equipment and building.

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