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Driving the adoption of cutting edge technology in shipbuilding

Mark Waldie, Denis Morais, Darren Larkins from ShipConstructor Soſt ware Inc. look into the cross over of design standards between diff erent industries.


he shipbuilding industry is full of bright and qualifi ed people yet it lags other sectors such as the plant,

aerospace and automotive industries in adopting various productivity enhancing tools

such as laser scanning, digital

prototyping and shop floor 3D. There are technical, structural and cultural reasons for this lag but fortunately there are strategies and technological developments on the horizon that could assist shipbuilders to cost-effectively implement these cutting edge tools.

Laser Scanning (high defi nition surveying) One technology that could be used more oſt en is high defi nition surveying which is a large scale form of laser scanning. High defi nition surveying uses a laser beam to sweep across a target object so that hundreds of thousands of closely spaced measurements can be taken in minutes. When these scanned measurements are displayed on a computer, a point cloud of the target results can be viewed. CAD objects can be modelled around this background. Alternatively, the point cloud can be used to generate a CAD model.

Laser scanning in other industries T e oil and gas industry started using high defi nition surveying in the late 1990s and it has become standard to scan as-built models since about 2005. T e automotive and aerospace sectors also use high defi nition surveying.

Laser scanning in shipbuilding Shipbuilders have similar reasons to adopt laser scanning as in other industries. Putting the parts and blocks of a ship together is analogous

to connecting

aircraſt assemblies. Accurate measurement helps ensure that everything fi ts. Quality

The Naval Architect July/August 2011 31

control is always important but perhaps the biggest benefi t comes in repair and refi t activities. Today, an average tanker or military ship will be in the water for 35 to 50 years. The majority of these vessels lack basic engineering drawings and blueprints, let alone computable design data for designers and engineers to reference. A few progressive shipyards such

as Meyer Werft Gmbh and Babcock International have adopted laser scanning technology. Another shipbuilder, Signal International, uses a Faro laser scanner on both retrofi t projects as well as on new production. Aſt er going through some intermediary

• Accurate bills of materials • General arrangements • Pipe arrangements • Pipe ISO’s by system • Pipe spool drawings • Equipment details

• Structural arrangements.

soſt ware, Signal imports the point cloud information into AutoCAD based ShipConstructor CAD/CAM soſt ware to create:

Digital prototyping Another cutting edge technology that is underutilised in shipbuilding is digital prototyping which means using a digital or virtual mockup. The concept refers to performing as much work, analysis, and communication as possible within a 3D digital environment, rather than in the physical world. This involves using computer simulations more than physical models and viewing videos and fly-throughs, rather than interpreting paper drawings.

Boeing 777 & 787 T e aerospace industry is in the forefront of the push towards digital prototyping. Digital mockups appear to have been standard in the industry since the early 1990s. For example, the Boeing 777 was designed entirely on computer in CAD soſt ware which allowed a virtual aircraſt to be assembled in simulation to check for interferences and to verify proper fi t of the many thousands of parts, thus reducing costly rework. Boeing also used digital prototyping to support large-scale collaborative engineering design reviews,

Piping model superimposed onto a point cloud.

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