Several problems characterise the shipbuilding sector. The working environment in shipbuilding is not fully integrated as far as the entire process chain is concerned, neither vertically (i.e. among the various shipbuilding actors: shipyards, suppliers, owner, and classification societies), nor horizontally (i.e. in the various phases from early design to the ship delivery).
Although 80% of the building costs of a ship are defined in the first design stages, the tools in the shipyards are not sufficient to estimate the cost reliably and to support the design for ease of production. Also, the tools used for an effective acquisition, storage and exploitation of knowledge under the conditions of short lead-time are currently not sufficient.
The increasing size of the passenger ships, together with strict safety requirements for intact and damage stability, requires thinner materials than before, complicating the hull production process (e.g. by additional shrinkages). While modularisation has increased in other industrial sectors, ships are still built in a traditional way with much outfitting work done onboard the ship. Commissioning, procurement and logistics bear considerable potentials, not yet exploited, for a reduction of idle time in the process chain, as well as for reduced capital cost and an efficient exploitation of resources.
The Integrated Project 'INTERSHIP' set out to supply a significant contribution to these issues and to the goals of the European Maritime Sector, as described in the Project 'LeaderSHIP 2015' by CESA, the European Shipbuilders Association.
InterSHIP aimed to increase competitiveness of EU shipbuilders by better integrating tools and methods for design and manufacturing of complex one-of-a-kind vessels. The project enables shipyard engineers to consider leading edge knowledge in environmental aspects, safety, comfort and cost efficiency in simultaneous engineering, thus making sure, that optimum solutions can be obtained for the total life-cycle of complex ships.
The strategic objectives of the project were:
- to significantly increase the competitiveness of European cruise and ferry shipbuilders;
- to develop better products, considering the entire life cycle of complex ships;
- to drastically reduce building and development cost as well as time-to-market of innovative solutions.
INTERSHIP also focused on improving vertical integration between shipyards, owners, suppliers, classification societies, and horizontal cooperation between EU shipyards. Aspects like education and training, innovation management in shipyards and cooperation with other projects and industries are covered in horizontal actions, making sure that the project results are quickly implemented for the benefit of the entire European maritime community.
InterSHIP was composed of 26 different sub-projects, grouped together in the following 6 integrated clusters:
- Integrated Collaborative Working Environment;
- First Principle Design Methods and Tools;
- Knowledge Management and improved Quality Assurance;
- Advanced Hull Manufacturing Processes;
- Modularisation and Automation of Pre-outfitting and Outfitting Work;
- Logistics and e-Procurement;
Horizontal actions across the six clusters foster themes such as safety, environment, innovation and implementation of the results. The results were disseminated inside the European shipbuilding Community.
Originally aiming to decrease the cable length pulled onboard passengers ships and to enable the penetration of Mobile ITC onboard ship all along their life cycle including their manufacturing, the European Shipyards members of InterSHIP consortium have worked together to provide innovative and alternative solutions to these issues and on some aspects have been beyond the original objectives.
As a matter of fact, the final results could be summarised under the following items:
- Concept developed enabled the savings of 10 to 15% of the total cable length pulled on board representing more than 50% for each applications converged on a single network.
- The converged network prototype has enabled the convergence on a same media of more than fifteen applications which are all 'IP' which make the solution beyond the alternative ones in terms of innovation.
- A proposal made in cooperation with a Classification Society and the European Yards has been put into a Green Paper which aims to be the background for discussing the inclusion of Classified services to the converged network concept.
- The solution proposed to bring mobility during the manufacturing of a ship appears to be very innovative as it mixed three existing technologies and provide more services as a simple desk access: wireless telephone, videoconferencing and desk applications including CAD has been demonstrated.
Hence, the knowledge acquired during the three years and the achievement visible with the four prototypes developed will help the European Yards to remain inside the IT Business applied to Ship.
Demonstration for Bringing Connectivity to users on board Ship during Manufacturing Phase
The initial assumption was that, nowadays, during the outfitting period the surveyor ought to prepare its visit on board by collecting the appropriate layout, the additional data base query sheets and to print them before getting to the ship. As mobile technologies enable the use of connected computers in other fields, the idea is to be able to use the mobile technologies in the assembled panel of steel composing a ship.
Intership VI-3 team has succeeded to bring connectivity on board a block in July 2005 by using a hybrid infrastructure associating Ethernet wired network, Power Line Communications with the Electrical power supply network and wireless communications. Its extension to assembled blocks has been lead in July 2006 to demonstrate the potential improvement of productivity driven by mobile technologies. During the demonstration on board the ship, some new applications - Voice, Data Image solutions - have been introduced and merged on the same network.
The technical result in addition to the potential return of investment computer makes this concept worth promising in terms of productivity improvement. To make the concept fully industrialised, the robustness of the Power Line part of the network and the behaviour of light access points are to be surveyed. The solution to strengthen the Power Line part is the use of phase coupling technology, which needs to be investigated.
Nevertheless, the demonstration made here associated with the estimation of the potential return of investment done in the resource are fully answering the objectives of InterSHIP project and are providing some potential repercussions on the productivity improvement.
InterSHIP was structured in six research clusters, which again are composed by a total of 26 research sub-projects.
The work done by the research clusters included:
- Integrated Collaborative Working Environment
Concepts and tools are studied and developed for an enhanced integration among the main partners of the shipbuilding value chain improving the efficiency and reliability of the document transmission between the actors. 'Early Design Methods' are developed in order to increase the level of information and details, relevant to the product, in the concept design phase.
- First Principle Design Methods and Tools
Conceptual design methods based on the innovative risk-based approach is studied, to identify its feasibility and find out a possible road of implementation. Improved methods and tools for the identification and quantification of the main cost drivers in the first phases of the shipbuilding design.
- Knowledge Management and improved Quality Assurance
Development of improved knowledge concepts and tools that acquire, structure, retain and exploit knowledge relevant to the complex vessels building process. 'Total quality management' concepts and tools are studied to assure that best practice is used all over the process chain.
- Advanced Hull Manufacturing Processes
Advanced manufacturing techniques and tools are studied and developed, including concepts and tools to keep under control the steel parts deformation during processing, the validation and adoption of advanced welding techniques and technologies, the enhanced automation in the fitting and welding operations.
- Modularisation and Automation of Pre-outfitting and Outfitting Work
Particular focus is given to the study of concepts and modular solutions for the machinery and auxiliary equipment, accommodation and public spaces. The innovative solutions aim to effectively transfer to the workshop complicated and congested work operations that are at the moment performed on board, thus improving efficiency.
- Logistics and eProcurement
The development of a unified eProcurement system aims to improve and simplify the communications, shortening the procurement cycle timing. Improved yard logistics and production planning are studied for a more efficient exploitation of the resources, a reduction of the storage period