In Jeanerette, digital designs are created and/or modified by Metal Shark’s in-house engineering team for each individual customer. Digitized cut files are then sent to CNC routers where each component is precisely cut from premium 5086 aluminum magnesium alloy. Brake press bending machines are utilized to incorporate bends wherever possible, which reduces the number of welds and adds strength while keeping weight in check. Aluminum components are then sent to the welding shop, where they are fully welded using MIG, TIG, and robotic welders. Jigs are used throughout the welding process to assure precise tolerances, true hulls, and repeatable results. Once welding is complete, the boat enters the assembly phase, where various trained teams of workers perform all the tasks needed to fully outfit a boat. Mechanical technicians install the engines, steering, and other mechanical systems. Wiring harnesses, produced in-house to military-spec standards, are installed by electricians along with other electrical components. A “static” crew installs items such as windows, collars, tow reels, etc. Electronics technicians complete the assembly by finalizing the installation of complex electronics, including the integration and cross-communication between electronics.
To meet the demanding delivery schedules required by its many government contracts, Metal Shark has implemented processes that assure efficient and repeatable builds. Nowhere is this more evident than at the company’s Jeanerette production facility, which typically produces between 150-200 boats per year. The process begins with an engineering-centric approach that utilizes 100% digital design, cutting, and sheet metal bending, and carries through to the extensive use of jigs to guarantee precise tolerances throughout the welding process. By utilizing a completely transparent quality assurance system and robust production scheduling management tools, Metal Shark is able to satisfy the government inspectors that it hosts on a weekly basis. Applied across the board, this fanatical attention to detail results in “mil spec” precision for all customers and allows Metal Shark to meet delivery timeframes that competitive yards often cannot.
From some of the largest fleet builds in US military history, to custom one-off boats for a wide range of operators, Metal Shark’s Jeanerette facility has built an incredibly diverse range of vessels. Boats produced in Jeanerette include military boats, law enforcement boats, fire rescue vessels, and a wide range of workboats. With many fleet builds underway at any given time, the Jeanerette campus is never idle, and accordingly, never needs to “ramp up” to take on new orders. Notable government contracts produced here previously or currently underway include the 470-boat award for the USCG Response Boat – Small (RB-S), the 80-boat contract for the US Navy’s Force Protection Boat – Medium (FPB-M), the 350-boat order for the US Navy’s HSMST, the 90-boat contract for the USCG’s Special Purpose Craft- Shallow Water (SPC-SW), 100-boat contract for the USCG’s Trailerable Aids to Navigation Boat (TANB), and numerous other defense contracts including foreign military sales cases for over 20 international military customers.
Metal Shark’s Jeanerette, Louisiana production facility serves as a physical example of the company’s consistent growth, as it has been expanded and improved every year since 2008. Metal Shark has continually reinvested in its facilities by acquiring surrounding land, constructing additional buildings, purchasing equipment, and expanding its workforce to meet customer demand while maintaining quality and assuring an industry-best track record for on-time deliveries. All told, since 2008 Metal Shark has invested nearly $15 million of profits back into its operations for capital improvements.