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For the sake of better designs In-depth | CAD/CAM


Simulation-driven design is seen as a drag on developing experienced naval architects and a possible future hindrance to the process of ship design. Anne Wenzek of Friendship Systems argues that man and machine must work in harmony to improve new designs.


reconsider their capacity to offer suitable solutions to growing demands in a competitive market. In days gone by it was, for the most part, the shipyard’s experience with certain vessel types and the skilfulness of senior naval architects, which guaranteed reliability and prosperity. Today, a shiſt toward novel approaches in


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design and their adept application is apparent. Te emergence and permanent improvement of simulation tools and formal optimisation processes are proof for the influence and power of an innovative design approach. Simulation-driven design and integrated


simulation have become signal words in maritime design. Despite all merits, the approach is no fast-selling item. Reluctance paired with false assumptions and improper presuppositions lead to misunderstandings if not misconceptions. Te approach has no doubt the potential


to surpass traditional design methods. It provides potent strategies to help designers deliver suitable answers to ever more challenging market demands for higher efficiency, economic viability, safety and product intelligence. Tis potential is rooted in the idea of simulation-driven design, however, bound to certain conditions. Simulation, by definition, means


determining key system behaviour while deliberately neglecting less important aspects. Integrated simulation is employed in the design process to assess a large set of variants which are created by algorithms for the exploration and exploitation of the design space. Feeding the findings thoughtfully back into


the variation, simulation becomes the driving force of the geometry development, the field for which the technology is commonly used in maritime design. It becomes clear that a good engineering understanding and experience with


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The graphic above details the performance assessment of a hull geometry and the evaluation of the geometric variation study.


simulation codes are important prerequisites for successful employment. Contrary to traditional manual variation, simulation- driven design achieves an unrivalled scale and scope of geometry generation and assessment. Managing this knowledge is pivotal as is


its quality. Naturally, it is critical to supply the simulation with correct data. Even if the geometric model is suitable, a challenge is imposed by the definition of correlations, constraints and objective functions for optimisation, not least by drawing correct conclusions from the analyses’ findings. Te experience of the designer is as decisive for these two points as for the evaluation of the data captured. Monitoring variation and optimisation


requires deep insight into the fundamental mechanisms of the system ship. It is, therefore, advisable if not crucial to have both experienced and technologically versed designers work in a team. At no point is it reasonable for the designer to take the


simulation’s results at face value or for the ultimate answer. Te proper use of the technology and its


functionality is essential. Despite its blatancy, the fact does seem to fuel a certain hesitation to employ simulation-driven design in maritime product development more comprehensively and to seize the benefits of this technology. Hesitation is fuelled by the apprehension


that errors drawn from incorrect evaluation of simulation’s findings are dragged on and further as the design process evolves and that this might displace proven ship design. Tis means that, in other words, employing simulation for geometry development is a means to an end. The fear is no doubt reasonable. However, the opposite is true: Only on the basis of experience can simulation-driven design excel traditional designs. Tis is why the team of senior and junior


naval architects is decisive for the successful operation of the approach. The potential


The Naval Architect September 2010


n periods such as the current tough economic climate it is noticeable that ship owners, operators and builders


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