Monday, July 3, 2017

Four Major Players Cooperate on Digital Ship Design Programme

Platform to Enable Virtual Testing of All Aspects
Shipping News Feature
EUROPE – Four major players in the modern maritime market have joined together to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the aim of creating an open source digital platform for use in the development of new ships. The platform would allow the creation of so called 'digital twins'. A digital twin is a digital copy of a real ship, including all its systems that synthesizes the information available about the ship in a digital world. This allows any aspect of an asset to be explored through a digital interface, creating a virtual test bench to assess the safety and performance of a vessel and its systems, both before its construction and through its lifecycle.

The four collaborators are Rolls-Royce, The Norwegian University of Technology Science (NTNU), research organisation SINTEF Ocean, and classification society DNV GL. Each of these players has a list of impressive credentials in the maritime field. Rolls-Royce has lately been involved with a number of projects aimed to utilise the most up to date innovations with regard to the development of ship design, particularly with the burgeoning interest in autonomous vessels. Asbjørn Skaro, Director Digital & Systems, Rolls-Royce Marine said:

“The platform will enable us to build digital twins of real ships, which in turn will form the basis for novel ways of designing, constructing, verifying and operating new maritime concepts and technology.”

SINTEF Ocean is one of seven research institute in the SINTEF Group, one of Europe’s largest independent research organisations. The operation is very focused on Norwegian activities particularly in the fields of fisheries, aquaculture, the maritime sector, offshore oil and gas technology, as well as research into new opportunities. Henning Borgen, President, SINTEF Ocean commented:

“This is a very concrete example of how digitalisation can contribute in making our most important ocean space industries more efficient. I believe we have the knowledge and data needed to contribute to this industrial revolution and look forward to be part of this.”

The Norwegian University for Technology and Science (NTNU) has the main responsibility for higher education in technology in Norway, and it is the country’s premier institution for the education of engineers, many linked to careers in the marine sector. The new MoU prompted Hans Petter Hildre, Professor and Chairman, NTNU to observe:

“A simulation-based way of working lets us easily test multiple concepts before a final solution is selected. In addition, re-using digital models along the entire value chain will contribute to reducing costs.”

The fourth partner in this group is DNV GL, well known throughout the sector for providing technical advice as well as software and independent expert advisory services to the maritime, oil & gas and energy industries plus being a leading classification society for new builds, with offices which operate in over 100 countries. Remi Eriksen, Group President and CEO, DNV GL said:

“We are entering a new era with the accelerated uptake of more IT-technology in shipping. Digitalisation of information flows will have a positive impact on safety and environmental performance. By creating ships and ship technology in a virtual environment new ideas and technology can be realised and tested in a shorter time frame. A platform like this could form the basis for future class services.”

The project partners intend to open the platform for use by other parties, with some core aspects built on an open source framework, enabling designers, equipment and system manufacturers, yards, ship owners, operators, research institutes and academia to work together to co-create and innovate together. The platform is also designed to serve as a model library for different ship concepts, where concepts can be made generally available or kept part of projects with limited access. Following the signing of the MoU, the project partners are now working to form a steering group that will define and govern the development of the core platform system and its deployment.

Photo: At the signing, back left: Asbjørn Skaro, Rolls-Royce, Remi Eriksen, DNV GL. Front left: Hans Petter Hildre, NTNU and Henning Borgen, Sintef Ocean Ålesund.