The National Shipbuilding Research Program (NSRP) has successfully demonstrated a prototype computer architecture for enterprise-wide interoperability that facilitates the sharing of ship design data between different computer systems and platforms being used by shipyards and suppliers.
The April 4, 2002, demonstration held at Electric Boat in Groton, Conn., meets a milestone of NSRP's Integrated Shipbuilding Environment (ISE) project, a three-year effort to develop and deploy an industry-wide architecture for computer interoperability. ISE is targeting cost and cycle time reduction for both Navy and commercial customers by providing real-time digital connectivity between shipbuilders and their suppliers. ISE also targets the total ownership costs during the 40-year life of a ship in that it provides access to configuration data during the life of a ship or ship class - regardless of computer system upgrades.
The April 4 demonstration showcased the impressive "eShipDesign" capabilities of the consensus architecture, standards, and protocols developed to date. The following capabilities were demonstrated:
· Direct download of piping and structural parts data from vendor electronic catalogs into shipyard digital parts libraries - significantly reducing the costly, time-consuming and error-prone manual reentry of part information into shipyard parts libraries.
· Export of detailed computer-aided design (CAD) data to (1) analysis tools (2) simulation programs and
(3) ship classification software such as the ABS Safe Hull program. Again, as with parts catalog data, this reliable and efficient digital data transfer significantly reduces the costly, time-consuming and error-prone manual reentry of complex 3D design information into each of the sophisticated computer analysis and simulation tools used to validate the design of each ship system.
· Successful electronic exchange of moulded form data (complex geometric shapes of steel hull plating) between four different CAD systems. This capability is significant because second tier shipyards and marine suppliers rarely use the sophisticated high-end CAD tools used by U.S. yards supporting DoD programs, and because even a single vendor's CAD product installations at different facilities routinely results in interoperability issues, the transfer of design data between CAD systems is an increasingly significant cost driver. The patchwork solutions currently in place include time consuming and very expensive modification of direct point-to-point translators anytime a new version of a CAD system is implemented at any point in the supply chain
or among co-design or co-production partners.