3D printing, the most common form of additive manufacturing, has become a ‘buzz’ technology in every sector connected to manufacturing and engineering, and it’s no different in shipbuilding. However, the excitement is not for nothing. Five years ago, 3D printing was being used for the restoration of wooden ships, rapidly prototyping proofs of concept, and creating scale 3D models. Now, we’re seeing additively manufactured parts installed on ships, further enhancements to the rapid prototyping capabilities of 3D printing, 3D printers installed onboard ships and within shipyards on a more significant scale, and sea-faring 3D printed boats. Continue Reading
Japanese Shipbuilding: Moving Forward?
Last year, while in Japan, I was struck by how little had changed in the shipbuilding industry from the last time I was there. The market was still stuck on 2D design and engineering software. Some shipyards would admit to the potential value when asked, but there was very little forward progress being made.
It’s a year later and I have just returned from Bari-Ship 2017 in Imabari and visits to a few Japanese shipbuilders. At Bari-Ship I presented to shipbuilders, alongside Aras Japan, on the value of 3D design and engineering that is integrated into a scalable and adaptable PLM platform. We used the implementation at Ingalls Shipbuilding, a team effort between SSI, Aras, SSI USA, and ARCOS (a sister company of SSI focused on transforming the business of shipbuilding), as an example of what can be achieved in a very short period.
あれから一年が経ち、私は愛媛県今治市でのBari-Ship 2017 に参加し、日本の2、3の造船業者を訪問して、戻ってきたところです。Bari-Shipで私は、Aras Japanと共に、スケーラブルでアダプタブルなPLM platform.に統合された3D設計とエンジニアリングについて造船業者に向けてプレゼンテーションを行いました。私たちは、インガルス造船所においてSSI、Aras、SSI USAおよびARCOS (造船業の変革に主眼を置くSSIの姉妹企業) が共同で行った導入事業を、極めて短期間にどれほどのことを達成できるかの例として使用しました。
|Additionally, Professor Chanik Shin from the Laboratory of Practical Technology (LPT) gave a presentation on how LPT implemented a 3D first approach to design and engineering of a vessel for Inamasu Shipyard. He walked the audience through the creation of a 3D ship model in ShipConstructor, and carried the same model from basic design through detailed and production design. Drawings were extracted to Japanese standards using ShipConstructor MarineDrafting. The presentation was very well received and was standing room only.||さらに、 Laboratory of Practical Technology (LPT) のChanik Shin教授が、稲益造船所の船のためにLPTがどのように3D先行の設計・エンジニアリング手法を導入したかについて プレゼンテーション を行いました。教授はにShipConstructorでの3D船舶モデルの製作の過程を説明し、基本設計から詳細設計、プロダクションデザインまで同一のモデルを使用してみせました。図面についてはShipConstructor MarineDraftingを使用して、日本の規格に合わせたものを描き出しました。プレゼンテーションは好評で、立ち見も出ました。|
Has Anything Changed?
With all that interest, you might think that the Japanese market is on the verge of a transition to 3D. And you might be right.
The general feedback from those directly involved in design and engineering hasn’t changed much. However, far more interest was shown by those who will benefit from the application of modern, 3D technology in design and engineering. Foremost amongst those were individuals responsible for assembly fabrication, production planning and the application of a modular manufacturing process in the shipyards. This type of process is very difficult to adopt efficiently without 3D product modeling software. The ability to visualize, simulate, manage, and adapt the assembly structure in 3D is critical to success.
|One of the shipbuilders that has invested in this process, using SSI technology to drive their shipbuilding processes, is Miho Shipyard. Miho specializes in fishing vessels over 100m in length, and builds a complete hull in under 2.5 months. Miho Shipyard has implemented a decent degree of pre-outfitted modular construction and will continue to make great strides as their investment in 3D continues.
Japanese shipbuilding is on the path to embracing 3D design and engineering software. Drivers outside design and engineering are motivating the implementation of new technologies. Japanese shipbuilders urgently need to keep costs at competitive levels while still retaining the high level of quality and efficiency that Japanese shipbuilding is known for. Those that see the writing on the wall have already begun the process of transforming their shipbuilding business in preparation for the future.
Prior to our SSI Americas User Conference earlier this month I attended the second of two workshops focused on developing a National Network for Innovative Marine Research and Training in Canada. The first was held at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver and the second at Memorial University in St. John’s.
The timing of these workshops is no surprise. Although there was general agreement that the network should not be focused on or driven solely by the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS) I think everyone realizes this is where the momentum comes from and why participation has been good.
And even though the network is supposed to be broader than the NSS and more inclusive than just shipbuilding, it was generally agreed by those involved in the design, engineering, and construction of ships in Canada that a national network focused on those areas is something that is sorely needed.
Despite an effort to not focus on NSS, I can’t help coming away from the workshops mostly with thoughts about the NSS, and what it means for SSI and for ship design, engineering and construction in Canada. I have been involved in non-Canadian national shipbuilding and research programs, often helping customers and the industry to make the case that engineering work, as well as construction, should be done domestically, rather than shipped overseas. In virtually every one of those cases (with the exception of our US team) we have been an international supplier supporting some part of a domestic process. This is the first time where SSI has truly been one of the domestic suppliers arguing for preference due to that fact that we are a domestic supplier. And it’s more difficult than I expected.Continue Reading
Today we have hit a major milestone. We have officially launched two major education initiatives focused on our clients: The Autodesk CADLearning learning program and the SSI Certified Training Program for ShipConstructor and EnterprisePlatform software. This new training initiative is one of the most significant things SSI has done in my time working here.
Importance to SSI and clients
Why do I think training is so important? It’s no secret that SSI’s primary business is sales of our software offerings. It’s also no secret that the shipbuilding industry is finite and very competitive, both for shipyards and design agents, but also for technology providers. With that information in mind you can see that the best place for increased sales of our software is with those who already have it.
In a competitive industry it is those who can differentiate themselves from the pack who will be successful, winning more projects, and thus requiring more of the tools and services they use. SSI can influence the success of our clients in two major (and connected) ways: by providing better and better products and by ensuring our clients are better at using our software.
Of course, we are focusing on both of these and there are a number of key reasons the latter is an area in which we are investing.
|The Japanese shipbuilding market is at a crossroads. This is of course just my opinion, but I have been visiting Japanese shipyards for a number of years and have always been impressed with their ability to never lose sight of what makes them, arguably, the best shipbuilders in the world. They have an unrelenting drive to deliver the highest quality ships (and engineering) without exception.
With that laser like focus comes risk. Risk that when significant change is required to maintain that competitive advantage, they will miss the opportunity to evolve due to the fear of losing what makes them unique. Currently much of the Japanese market uses 2D software to perform engineering tasks and the shipyards focus mainly on Hull Structure, typically near-sourcing the outfitting work (pipe, HVAC, etc…) to other Japanese companies. The software most commonly used for detail-design is MATES, an older Japanese software, created by Mitsubishi but no-longer maintained. Often these yards have built their own production design software, and it is only loosely connected to detail design. Again this software is typically 2D.
Why does this matter? It matters because higher quality and shorter delivery times have always been the hallmark of the Japanese shipbuilding industry but they are losing ground every day. Shipyards in other parts of the world are using 3D and new technologies to increase quality (through better visibility on errors in engineering offered by the 3D model for starters) and shorten delivery times, and they are slowly catching up. Some, perhaps most, of these yards will never be equal to the Japanese shipyards, but the lower cost of their vessels will intrigue prospective buyers as the gap narrows.
Some shipyards, like Sumidagawa Shipyard in Koto have seen the future and have made the move to 3D and are already reporting reduced delivery times as a result. But some experts think it is not enough. At Sea Japan 2016 Professor Shin, from the Laboratory of Practical Technology, urged the Japanese industry to make the move to 3D. At the same time, Professor Shin is wise enough to caution the industry not to lose sight of what makes them great: high quality 2D class approval and engineering drawings that fit the Japanese way of building a ship. After a significant amount of time looking at the available software Professor Shin informed the industry that ShipConstructor, and our MarineDrafting product, is the software that will allow the industry to move to 3D and still deliver 2D drawings, directly from the 3D model, customized to both Japanese standards and the unique requirements of each shipyard.
Whether ShipConstructor will be the chosen solution or not is unclear, and isn’t the point. The point is that the Japanese industry is facing a choice: maintain, and even potentially increase, their leadership position in the global shipbuilding industry OR see that lead slowly eroded by shipyards outside Japan. I for one am interested to see which way they choose.
東京都江東区にある墨田川造船などの一部のシップヤードは将来を見越して、3Dに移行し、その結果、配送時間を既に短縮しています。しかし、専門家の中にはこれだけでは十分でないと考えている人もいます。国際海事展「SEA JAPAN 2016」において、実用技術研究所のShin教授は、日本の造船産業が3Dに移行するように促しています。同時に、日本の船舶構築方法に合った高品質な2Dクラスの承認とエンジニアリング図面という優れた要素を決して見失うことがないように注意を喚起しています。市販のソフトウェアを時間をかけて調べてみた結果、Shin教授は当社のマリンドラフティングソフトウェアのShipConstructorを造船業界に推奨しました。このソフトウェアを使うと、3Dに移行しても、3Dモデルから直接2D図面を作成することが可能で、日本の水準および各シップヤードの独自の要件に合わせることができます。
Over the years SSI has produced a number of papers, blog posts and videos on the topics of 3D visualization, virtual reality, and design review. This post and paper are a prime example: https://blogs.ssi-corporate.com/lighthouse/2014/industry-trends/democratization-of-virtual-reality-its-not-about-voting/
Recently one of our long time partners at Vripack, asked whether we had continued to explore that area, and what we were currently looking at. In particular he asked whether we were up to speed on the Oculus Rift. With the big names behind the Rift, and the acquisition by Facebook, the name carries some weight and garners significant attention.
Before we look at the Rift (which I quickly acquired for the office to test when the enquiry from Vripack came in) and its connections to SSI and Autodesk in more detail, I thought I would do a quick roundup of the state of play in this industry.Continue Reading
I just returned from COMPIT 2015 in Ulrichshusen, Germany. As always, there were a good number of presentations related to the integration of disparate systems (CAD/PLM/PDM/etc…). The topics ranged from a peer-to-peer service based architecture for the integration of various tools into a single virtual ship design platform, to the implementation of an enterprise portal as a single point of access for ERP, CAD and PLM data.
My presentation was focused on a slightly different aspect of information sharing and on integration with one of the ‘softer’ systems in a shipyard: people. People still need to consume engineering data and take direct action based on the information provided. The most obvious case is the delivery of drawings and work packages to the waterfront. Additionally, there are still many situations in a typical shipyard (and with suppliers to the shipyard) where systems and processes are not well integrated (or at all) and people make decisions based on, or enter data from, a multitude of drawings, spreadsheets and other deliverables.Continue Reading
(My alternate title was: Do you Know Where Your Next Meal is Coming From?)
I spent the majority of last week in sunny Arizona at COFES (the Congress on the Future of Engineering Software). For those who have never heard of COFES, much less attended, it is a fairly unusual format. Yes, there are the usual keynotes, presentations and such. However, the majority of the time is spent in roundtable discussions about key technologies, trends and issues facing those who make and use engineering software.
Lots of Questions
Despite having been invited for the last three years, this was the first year I was able to attend. What struck me first was the number of extremely smart people and very cool ideas they can cram into 3 days. What struck me second about many of the sessions was how many questions, and how few concrete answers, were tabled by the groups. This is the point of a roundtable, and these are very complex topics, so perhaps this is no surprise. As an example moving CAD and PLM software to the cloud was a topic that surfaced in many different ways. We discussed security in the cloud, how users adapt to new licensing models in the cloud, how software vendors should sell and compensate sales people in the cloud, how the cloud affects customization or configuration of software platforms etc… etc… Almost without exception those in the discussions didn’t yet have clear answers to some of these questions. Perhaps that is not surprising as it is a big topic and “the cloud” is a loosely defined subject anyway. Except… there are CAD and PLM solutions in the cloud already.Continue Reading
These days it isn’t enough to just be good at what you do. You need to show the world that you are good at what you do. For this reason we are seeing more and more ship designers and builders dabbling in high end renderings and animations of their projects. This has of course been ‘table stakes’ (if you don’t play poker or live in the land of confusing business jargon this means the minimum amount you will need to invest) in the luxury yacht business for a long time. However this is even becoming more and more common in the workboat, commercial and defense segments of the industry. For example, our client relations team had a conversation with Gibbs & Cox, a long time US Navy design and engineering company, who uses high end rendering tools to promote their projects and services.
Typically shipbuilders rely on whatever tools come along with their chosen ship design and engineering tools to get the job done. These tools are fine for the job at hand. Equally important to consider is that the task of creating renderings commonly falls to the person in the design/engineering team who has the most aptitude for that type of work. It makes sense that they use the tools with which they are familiar.
And besides, creating media and entertainment industry quality visualizations is surely too costly and time consuming for a designer or builder of ships, isn’t it? If not, surely the scale of a detailed ship model (not just a conceptual design, or artist’s model) is too much for those tools? In case you haven’t guessed it by now, the reason for this blog post is that the answers to those questions are: NO and NO.Continue Reading
A week and a half ago I was invited to attend a forum on the future of ocean and maritime technology. The forum, hosted by Autodesk, took place at Pier 9 in San Francisco as part of a new R&D effort at Autodesk focused on maritime.
Going in I really wasn’t sure what to expect. The background and experience of those involved was as diverse as possible (intentionally so) in a group that still shared some common interest. By way of example here are just a few of those involved:
- Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI)
- Erika Bergman – a 2013 National Geographic Young Explorer and a submarine pilot.
- Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding
- Bluefin Robotics
- Bob Hollis – an inductee to the International SCUBA diving hall of fame and founder of Oceanic
- The BentProp Project
- Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)