The advent of software solutions has infiltrated nearly every sector of the maritime market - from propulsion performance monitoring packages to personnel. It arguably has had no greater impact, though, than in the design and construction of new vessels.
CAD/CAM/CAE programs are invaluable assets to the designer, builder and operator of vessels of all sizes and dimensions. Not only do advanced programs allow for the creation of the an efficient and cost effective ship structure and outfitting, they provide for enhanced manufacturing practices and techniques, and increasingly help devise a life-cycle maintenance and care plan which can tack profitable years onto a vessel's life.
While major providers of CAD/CAM/CAE solutions and users have struggled to arrive at common ground regarding interaction among different maker's systems, there is today a greater cooperation to ensure that one particular brand or another can freely interact. This mandate for commonality should surely pick up momentum as shipyards of all sizes in all geographic regions continue to merge with, or purchase one another. The driving force behind the consolidations is of course profitability, which in the manufacturing arena - particularly shipbuilding, where prices have generally been stagnant -- equates to greater manufacturing efficiency. Thus, it would be reasonable to assume that shipyards would want one of their greatest efficiency tools - CAD/CAM/CAE systems - to be able to exchange information to the greatest degree possible.
While CAD/CAM products are particularly effective in designing everything from components to systems to entire vessels, the trends is toward comprehensive systems which allow ship designers, builders and owners to integrate design, trial and cost crunch a vessel before steel is even purchased.
According to Markku Kanerva
, director of marketing, projects and R&D at Finnish Deltamarin, the ship design and building process is in front of revolutionary era of development. 3-D computer aided modeling techniques has been utilized to produce the production drawings and documents. Kanerva says that Deltamarin developed the first 3-D engine room model already in 1987 and since that time close to fifty design models have been developed.
Deltamarin today - via strategic alliances such as that with which IBM and Dassault Systems in the use of its innovative CATIA program -- the 3-D design models are changed into 4-D Product Models. Complete model of the ship is already developed at the first outline project stage. This model contains all necessary data to visualize the product, to produce exact drawings and documents, all decks and spaces fit, to simulate important functions aboard - cargo handling, passenger flow, services, etc. - to produce exact data for cost estimations and for supplier inquiries, to navigate inside the ship, and at the end of the process to produce exact contract model which is directly suitable for further development without time consuming basic design.
The 4-D Product Model is designed to be used by the owner for marketing, for simulations, for training, for safety purposes, etc. already at project stage. Navigation and ship handling simulations can be carried out with the actual ship model already at the project stage.
Building procedures, block subdivision, subcontracting, all can be simulated, visualized and tested with the 4-D Product Model even before the shipbuilding contract is signed. Building process can be verified with a virtual shipyard model, i.e. combining 4-D Product Model of the ship with a simulation model of the shipyard. Complete design work is, of course, carried out in the same Product Model continuing from the contract model directly with all systems, arrangements, structures and other essential features in 3-D and getting approvals directly in/with the model.
This means that the product, the ship, is already defined and coordinated up to a high level of details at the project stage, before the shipbuilding contract, and without any extra costs. But the basic design phase, i.e. classification documents, layouts, purchase specifications and similar, is developed three to five months quicker and a lot of coordination man-hours are saved.
Kanerva contends that the Product Model technique will push the standardization forward and will introduce a major cost saving impact in shipbuilding.
There have been many recent advances in the field of CAD/CAM/CAE systems this year alone, including the introduction by Korea's Hyundai of its "Hyundai Integrated Ship Performance Evaluation & Design System." The shipyard reasons that initial design is crucial in maintaining a shipyard's technological and competitive edges. Particularly, hull form and propeller design technology are of interest to shipowners and operators, two groups which continually seek advantages in fuel efficiency. The Hyundai "Hi Speeds" system - under development for two years - is designed to integrate all of the process of hull form and propeller design. The system also contains a database including information on more than 300 ships built or developed by Hyundai, a source of information which the yard contends will only aid future design and development.
Another perennial leader on the CAD/CAM front has been Sweden's Kockums Computer Systems (KCS), powered by its world-class Tribon ship production system. KCS recently announced Tribon M1, a new generation of the leading Tribon software system for ship design and building. Tribon M1 is designed to offer a new level of efficiency in shipbuilding design and production, using the MicroSoft NT based technology to establish standards in terms of ease of installation and use, as well as 3-D design development and management. Tribon M1 offers full 3-D high speed solid display technology for modeling and viewing to all designers using standard PC equipment. Tribon has four focused areas of applications, including design, rule-based automated design, design management and production engineering.
Intergraph has a long history of working closely with shipbuilding customers on such projects as U.S. Navy CAD-2, LPD 17 and DARPA/ MARITECH, and various European and Asian Navies such as DCN in France, Bazan in Spain, Fincantieri in Italy, and the Turkish Navy. The company developed a suite of products that provide an Integrated Ship Design and Production (ISDP) environment. The Intergraph ISDP environment provides systems and services to support the design, construction, maintenance, overhaul, alteration, repair, and refurbishment of ships and shipboard systems. Intergraph successfully completed in the U.S. ISDP is being used in the design of the U. S. Navy's LPD 17 amphibious ship and by commercial shipbuilders worldwide. In conjunction with international industry partners, Intergraph is currently developing the next generation system that will streamline shipbuilding processes, deliver better ships, lower manpower and material costs, and reduce the time to construct world-class naval and commercial vessels. Intergraph's shipbuilding solutions are based on WindowsNT architecture.
Recently Albacore Research Ltd. (ARL) added new features to its CAD-Link 98 program, which the company reports is the only software that allows shipbuilders to create a 3-D structural product model using AutoCAD Release 14. CAD-Link98 provides full 3-D structural modeling inside of AutoCAD 14, and it effectively hides most of the complexity of drawing in 3-D. Structural modeling starts with 3-D sections that are imported from a hull fairing system. With a single command, CAD-Link98 generates one 2-D drawing for each frame, girder or deck. CAD-Link also is designed to address many time consuming procedures in part production, with interference checking of parts to allow for easy identification and changing of intersecting parts.
Maestro Version 8.0 is loaded with new features, including composite panels, masses, acceleration and load balancing in waves. The latter three features allow a complete and rigorous quasi-static modeling of dynamic loads, throughout the entire structure. According to Nick Danese of Design Systems & Technologies, today's users of advanced CAD/CAM programs have a large part in future version developments, crediting as much as 75 percent of functionality due to direct customer requests. "We think we are good programmers, be we don't know everything about ship design," Danese conceded. "We have to ask our customers."
Design Systems & Technologies and SPAR Associates recently demonstrated new computer software, specifically the visual cost estimating system which links hull structure modeling with cost estimating. Developed by Proteus Engineering and SPAR, the development is a real-time link between Maestro and EstiMATE, thereby transforming Maestro Modeler into a very rapid and effective cost-product modeler. The hull model allows rapid development of structural scantlings organized by ship zones and basic type of structural assemblies. The material cost estimates are developed using prices from a standard parts library for plates and shapes.
A major contract with Halter Marine was recently signed by AeroHydro, a pioneer in CAD for boats and ships. Halter purchased the MultiSurf, MSDEV and MSPLEX to design new commercial marine vessels. The combined use of the technologies will reportedly help Halter create accurate lofting and NC machining, reduce scrap and accelerate the assembly process.
MultiSurf is AeroHydro's flagship product, and is an advanced 3-D surface
modeler for marine applications. The technology is based on AeroHydro's patented relational geometry engine that allows complex models to be created and modified with precise and enduring relationships among parts. "Shipbuilders face fierce global competition. The use of leading-edge technology such as MultiSurf, MSDEV, and MSPLEX is critical to enhancing engineering efficiency and product quality," said Bob Watkins, Halter's hull chief.
Autoship Systems Corporation released a library of marine gear and equipment models. The models will help in the preliminary assessment of space available on deck, and to enhance the visual presentation of the vessel's design. This library is reportedly the first of it's kind in the software design marketplace and will enhance the design tools available to Autoship users.
The models have been developed in the Autoship-hull design/surface modeling program, and are native Autoship files (PR3). The models are imported into the user's Autoship vessel definition. When making a presentation to an owner or an investor, the models will make the difference between a design project looking incomplete or naive and a design looking very realistic, convincing and professional.
The list of currently available models include: anchor, antenna, antenna radar, satcom antenna, 3 types of life boats, 3 types of rescue boats, 2 types of cranes, door, 2 types of hatches, 2 types of ladders, life raft, life ring, monitor, mooring bitt, mooring chock, navigation light, 3 types of propellers, rail, seat, stair, winch mooring, winch anchor and windows.
Hydrograph recently upgraded its PropExpert software to version 4.1. PropExpert is a software tool for the selection and analysis of propeller systems for workboats and pleasure craft. New added features in version 4.1 include: e-mail, databases import and export, and a "cubic" prop curve. The addition of e-mail into PropExpert allows a user to send a formatted summary report and/or technical appendix to clients and co-workers quickly and efficiently. This eliminates the need for printed reports, as a complete sizing analysis can simply be sent anywhere via e-mail. The import/export functionality was included in version 4.1 to make data more accessible to PropExpert. Now, PropExpert is able to search through files of various types for information that can be used in a sizing analysis.
FORAN from Spain's Sener has been chosen for one of the year's more technically challenging jobs, the re-birth of the Philadelphia Shipyard. The decision by Kvaerner to sell all of its shipbuilding assets, the as-yet developed Philadelphia yard included, notwithstanding, the FORAN system was chosen to be at the forefront of the yards entry into the commercial newbuild market. The FORAN package for Philadelphia is a comprehensive one, including fairing, outfitting design, outfitting production, electrical design and walk through.
Yachting Consult of the Netherlands is an engineering company focusing on the yacht and shipbuilding industries, undertaking both software development and CAD/CAM engineering services. The company's MasterSHIP software is production oriented, and automates the building preparation stages. It is fully integrated with AutoCAD 14 and 2000 under WindowsNT, 95 and 98. The modules for automatic nesting, lofting, parametric drawing and NC cutting are found to be particularly useful in shipyard applications. Surface Tools is the newest module in the MasterSHIP suite, and it is designed to speed up the CAD/CAM lofting
process. A handy feature of the module: the projection mode to generate intersections with the hull surface for items such as bowthrusters and chin pipes.