“HDW is already a highly technologically advanced shipyard,” says Dr. Edward S. Popko, worldwide marketing manager, shipbuilding, IBM Product Lifecycle Management Solutions. “So why, you might ask, would they opt for a new system?”

Explains Popko, “For shipyards, drawings are a cost center, a necessary evil. Once you create a drawing, you have to manage all the changes to that drawing.”
One change, such as the placement of a steam pipe, could have a “ripple effect” and might necessitate additional changes in the ship’s design--some of which might not be caught until the construction phase.

CATIA handles such changes automatically by associating every 3D model with every 2D extraction made from it. When an object is deleted or changed in 3D, it is automatically deleted or changed in every 2D drawing, and vice versa. This eliminates many of the potential sources of errors. It also has automatic interference checking and a sort of built-in artificial intelligence.

For example, in a piping diagram, the software automatically calculates the distance between pipes and heat sources, and assigns the proper level of insulation to the pipes and neighboring structural elements based on an analysis of the fluids transported.
In addition, IBM Shipbuilding Solutions can detect true penetrations and subtle contacts in the digital model, as well as “soft interferences”-modules that don’t touch or bump, but interfere with another when maintenance or operation is required.

“Using a 3D digital mock-up,” says Popko, “you can do virtual walkthroughs and check the serviceability of the vessel. Run through construction sequences. You can decompose a ship into modules, equipment and parts and even optimize the layout of the building floor. Designers at the shipyard will have the ability to run various simulations to check passenger evacuation, food service and baggage handling, and even fueling. Lifecycle costs are being thought about even before a vessel is designed.”

However, Popko says the biggest dollar benefit from the new system for shipyard is its ability to work more closely with its major suppliers and collaborate with them over the Internet. This is performed through a Web-based function called ENOVIA Portal, which allows users to view and markup 3D models using a simple web browser. “Owners are very interested in these tools,” states Popko. “Many release dollars to shipyards based on compartment completion. Browser tools enable check status of completion of modules.”

Concludes Popko, “Over the years, many shipyards created proprietary CAD/CAM systems, and did an excellent job at solving niche problems. Now, however, they are dropping these internally developed systems so that they can take advantage of the changes taking place in other industries, such as auto and aerospace manufacturing.” ML