Samsung Heavy Industries: Now and Then

Our affiliate Samsung Heavy Industries, a global leading company in the shipbuilding and offshore facility industry, celebrated the 38th anniversary of its founding last year. You can just imagine what enormous changes must have taken place during the span of those 38 years. So, today, we thought we will walk you through those changes at Samsung Heavy Industries.


Geoje Shipyard’s Expansion


Today, Samsung Heavy Industries’ shipyard in Geoje, an island on the southern coast of the Korean peninsula, boasts its magnificence spanning over 4 million square meters of land. The Geoje Shipyard is touted as the world’s most efficient shipbuilding center, helped by Samsung Heavy Industries’ innovative “Megablock” techniques and offshore floating docks.



But in the early 1970s, the area seemed nothing more than wasteland as can be seen in the pictures above. Soon after Samsung Heavy Industries started building its shipyard the landscape of the area started to change. Since the completion of the first dock in 1979, with a capacity to build 15 tons of ships annually, the Geoje Shipyard has expanded to boast the world’s highest dock turnover ratio with five offshore floating docks, in addition to three traditional ones.


Increasing Employees


As of October 2012, some 29,000 employees work for Samsung Heavy Industries and its partner companies. In 1978, there were just 625.


Capacity Growth


The container ship built in 2011 (right picture) can deliver 14,400 20-feet-long containers. That compares with the ship built in 1984 (left picture) that could only carry 2,200 such containers. That means what could be transported in one trip nowadays would have taken more than six trips in the past.



Cranes are probably one of the first things that come to our minds when we think of a shipyard. In the past, tow cranes lifted a block of 500 tons, but now, using two offshore cranes, we can lift a block of over 9,283 tons! That’s a weight heavier than the Eiffel Tower.


Technology Evolution


The above pictures of the processing plant speak for themselves of the changes that have taken place over the decades. Samsung Heavy Industries now records a production automation rate of 68 percent – the world’s highest level. This remarkable achievement is possible by utilizing highly intelligent robot systems.



Across all industries, and not just in the shipbuilding industry, there were times when we had to draw up blueprints by hand. Drawing up blueprints for complex designs such as ships and semiconductors can be a very delicate and time-consuming work. Fortunately, these days, the job can be more easily done with the help of computer-aided design (CAD) equipment.


We quickly went over the historical transformation of Samsung Heavy Industries. If there is one thing we can draw from going over the company’s history it would probably be that the global leadership it now holds isn’t something that was achieved overnight. As our colleagues at Samsung Heavy Industries celebrate their 38th birthday, would you care to join us in giving them a round of applause for their decades of hard work?