More than 180 years of shipbuilding is imprinted in the DNA of the German Naval Yards in Kiel. In co-operation with other shipyards, the company is an expert in the production of naval ships. For its’ cutting needs, the company relies on solutions from MicroStep. The shipyard uses three types of cutting systems. For the first part of cutting, the focus is on the MG series with two gantries and an enormous work area. Even though they are a very traditional company they are aware that new technology is essential and therefore these cutting machines play an integral part for their operation.


A gantry crane, the landmark of Kiel is also the figurehead of the shipyard German Naval Yards. This crane with impressive dimensions is 110 meters high, can lift 900 tons and has been a landmark of Kiel’s cityscape since 1975. Like the Kiel Fjord, the traditional shipyard also belongs to the capital of Schleswig-Holstein. The German Naval Yard has shipbuilding history of 180 years. The motto of this high tech company has always been “Strong and reliable on all oceans of the world”

The specialist for the design and construction of naval vessels such as frigates, corvettes and patrol boats as well as the construction of superyachts has a unique shipyard infrastructure: One of the largest dry docks in Europe.  The area on the Kiel Fjord covers more than 250,000 m². “The size of our shipyard facilities and the special features of our construction methodology enable us to use a quality-assured large block construction method with a high degree of pre-fitting,” explains Jan Fust, Manager of Steel Construction. In this way, many work steps can be shifted forward from the dock phase to the shipbuilding halls.

The landmark of Kiel and an important helper in shipbuilding: a 110-metre portal crane on the Kiel Fjord. Here German Naval Yards develops and produces maritime solutions on an area of more than 250,000 m².

The infrastructural advantages also include the quality standard that German Naval Yards applies to every component. “We are the inventors of precision manufacturing – welding processes are coordinated in such a way that we operate a zero-defect tolerance. We use extremely stable processes,” Fust continues. In order to be a leading company in the maritime industry we need not only skilled workers but also appropriate technologies.

Three machine types are used for 3D cutting of sheets from 3.5 up to 200 mm

Since 2016, MicroStep systems have been involved in the construction of ships for the German Naval Yards Kiel.

The first part of the cutting process, the “birth” of the ship is the cutting of the first individual part that forms the ship. This supporting pillar is cut with MicroSteps’ MG series. The plasma cutting system has a working area of 52,500 x 3,500 mm and is fitted with two gantries. Both gantries are equipped with a plasma rotator for 3D processing of metal sheets. One gantry is also equipped with an inkjet marking unit, the other gantry with a laser marker. Mild steel but also high-alloy steels are cut with this versatile cutting system. This monster machine replaced a plasma cutting system from another supplier as the precision in 3D cutting of the MG series was necessary. In their cutting process with the width and length of a 12-meter cut, the deviation may not be more than 0.5 mm. “The accuracy is excellent, the dimensional stability of the machine is unbeatable”, says Fust, who has gained experience at various shipyards over the years.

In recent years, the shipbuilding company has invested in three different types of MicroStep systems for processing of various cutting tasks. A MG plasma cutting system with two gantries and tools for bevel cutting and marking, a DRM-PL panel cutting system with oxyfuel rotator, sandblaster and marker as well as an EasyCut flame cutting system with four oxyfuel torches.

Since mid-2019, the EasyCut cutting system from MicroStep has been taking care of the Yards cutting jobs in the higher material thickness range. This flame cutting system is equipped with four oxyfuel torches. Many items are cut on this machine and this includes flanges with blind holes for mechanical engineering. Together with the MG plasma cutting machine, cutting tasks in the thickness range from 3.5 to 200 mm are processed.

A DRM-PL gantry from Microstep, which was built on top of an existing panel line, is also available for the processing of large-format sheets. Panels form the basic framework of decks and the external skeleton and can reach a size of up to 16 x 18 m. The MicroStep gantry of the panel cutting line has a width of more than 18 m with technology options for bevel cutting using an oxyfuel rotator, a primer removing sandblasting system, and a marking unit.

The EasyCut is a robust and precise CNC guiding machine, which has been specially developed for cost-effective continuous use in oxyfuel flame cutting. The working area is 16.500 x 3.000 mm.

“The accuracy is excellent, the dimensional stability of the machine is unbeatable,” said Jan Fust – Manager Steel Construction at German Naval Yards Kiel.

The entire cutting operation is supported by MicroStep machines, which shows the flexibility of our machines and the adaptability of the MicroStep Cutting Systems. No matter the size needed, MicroSteps’ technology team is able to assist and is constantly working on new angles to be more innovative. Technology is ever changing and so are the MicroStep Cutting System offerings.

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Ludwig Oellermann: +27 (0) 83 463 0999