SENER’s FORAN System is 50

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

February 5, 2015

  • photomontage of a vessel developed with FORAN (image by courtesy of ASMAR)
  • photomontage of a vessel developed with FORAN (image by courtesy of ASMAR) photomontage of a vessel developed with FORAN (image by courtesy of ASMAR)


The FORAN System celebrates half a century in 2015. With 50 years of active service, FORAN is the longest standing CAD/CAM/CAE software on the market and a technological asset for the engineering and technology group SENER, which has placed its trust in this project throughout its history as a hallmark of its identity. To commemorate this anniversary, SENER will host an event in Spain with the presence of FORAN customers worldwide.

FORAN, an acronym of FORmas ANalíticas (ANalytic FORms), is a complete CAD software for the design, construction and engineering of all kinds of ships and marine units. FORAN allows for the efficient creation of a complete and detail 3D virtual model of the vessel, from which it is possible to automatically obtain all the information needed for its manufacture and assembly. In addition, this 3D model can be reused as a data source for other tools, such as Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), procurement management or planning applications.

Currently, FORAN is used in 30 countries around the world. Among the most significant clients are Navantia (Spain), BAE (UK), Bae Systems (UK), Sanoyas (Japan), UDIN (South Korea), Severnoye DB (Russia), the international group Rolls-Royce Marine and the VARD group (Norway). In Spain it is the standard tool, being employed in almost all technical offices. It is also a benchmark system in Europe and is installed in shipyards in Latin America and in the United States, as well as in the Middle East. In recent years, FORAN has determinedly set foot in Asia, where SENER has opened offices in China, Japan and South Korea. Almost 90% of the world’s commercial shipbuilding is concentrated in these countries, which will be the main market for FORAN in the short term, along with the naval shipbuilding sector.

Some of the most noteworthy projects involving FORAN in recent years are the Spring Aeloian vessel for Sanoyas, the largest PANAMAX class (dimensions adapted to cross the Panama Canal) bulk carrier in the world; the TEXACO Captain FPSO vessel for Navantia, with a storage capacity of 550,000 barrels and a processing capacity of 60,000 bopd; the dredger Leiv Eiriksson for Construcciones Navales del Norte, the largest in the world, with 46,000 m3 capacity; and the aforementioned projects for BAE Systems, the HMS Queen Elizabeth Carrier and the Successor series of submarines.

FORAN’s brief history
The FORAN System was conceived by SENER co-founder, José Manuel de Sendagorta, in 1964, as a tool to help SENER – born as a marine engineering company - develop their marine projects. In 1965, the first version of the software was launched for internal use only under the name FORAN, an acronym of FORmas ANalíticas (ANalytic FORms). It was soon clear that FORAN could evolve to the point of being a commercial product that would interest other technical offices. The first external client (Bazán, which is now a part of the Navantia group) was won in 1969 and the system quickly continued to make its way further afield across Spain and Europe, reaching Argentina towards the end of the 70s and Brazil in the 90s.

Technological leadership

FORAN is the only software designed by naval architects for naval architects to solve the problems they themselves face. To this end, it has always pursued the same goal: to maximize automation of the production process in order to build better ships at lower cost and in less time. For this reason, it was envisaged from the very beginning as a modular and perfectly integrated system with great versatility.

FORAN has the advantage of a long pioneering history that commends it as a technology leader in the marine sector: it was the first software to implement a database in the product model, and the first to release a version for Windows, an Oracle database and integration with lifecycle management applications such as PLM. It is currently working on collaborative and distributed engineering applications with advanced visualization, virtual reality and augmented reality, and on concepts such as digital shipyards and robotization.

SENER’s continuous investment in innovation has turned FORAN a benchmark for innovation and exportation capacity of the Spanish industry. This has been recognized with several awards such as the Prince Felipe Award for Business Excellence, granted by the Spanish Ministry of Industry in 2008, the Miguel Pardo Prize (2009) and the Technology and Innovation Award (2013), both of them granted by the Spanish Maritime Cluster.

In the next few months FORAN will launch its version 80 with state-of-the-art developments and significant functionalities for the offshore sector, which is set to be a niche for growth in coming years.

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