Challenges in early ship design

27/03/2014
Challenges in early ship design

Great competitiveness in shipbuilding, with subsequent shortening of delivery times and optimization of designs has produced the overlapping of traditional design stages (concept, basic, classification and detail). From a sequential working flow, with each stage starting after the completion and approval of the previous one, we have passed to an integrated working flow, in which even different stages are performed simultaneously. This implies the convenience to use a single design tool instead of several ones, so a modification in any of them could be quickly and easily propagated to the others, even “upstream” along the traditional design process.

 In the last years, improvements in design tools have been focused in coordinating basic (class) and detail design, allowing the creation of a single 3D model from which all documentation for classification and fabrication could be obtained in the most automated way. But the pending technological challenge was to extend the use of this 3D model to earlier stages of the design: definition of hull forms, creation of compartments, arrangement of main equipment, naval architecture calculations,… so the basic design could be benefited.

This conception is the one in which FORAN system has been developed, being it possible due to three key aspects:

- Single data base: There is a single source of data, without duplicities or redundancies.

- Topology: Possibility to introduce and propagate changes in quick and easy way. This is especially important in early stages of the design, when decisions taken, in most of the cases without all available information, produce bigger consequences.

- Integration: All disciplines and design stages are developed in the same environment and with the same tools, thus reducing the number of eventual mistakes and the overall time of the design.

The consequence of this is the most technologically advance marine CAD system in the market, FORAN, able to produce important benefits to designers and to provide added value to all building process of the ship. Among other benefits, can be mentioned: 

- Rapid evaluation of alternatives and prototypes 

- Decision taken based on real information and not on estimations 

- Avoidance of inconsistencies 

- Easiness of integration with calculation tools (i.e. FEM) requiring a 3D model. 

- Interference-free design, including virtual spaces as escape routes and dismantling zones. 

- Walk-through navigation using virtual reality and augmented reality techniques.

The result is a product (the design itself) of better quality, developed in shorter time and with less cost.

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