ShipConstructor News - Aug 2005
In this issue:
|It is now just over a year since Formation Design Systems teamed up with ShipConstructor Software Inc. of Canada to link together the Maxsurf naval architecture software with SSI's ShipConstructor ship detailing and production software. The partnership has resulted in a closer technical link between the two product lines and, more importantly, has also resulted in ShipConstructor being adopted by a number of shipbuilders in Australia.|
FDS has a long history of supplying software to the Australian shipbuilding industry and not surprisingly, the vast majority of ships designed in Australia are designed using Maxsurf. Now a number of those yards are adding ShipConstructor to provide a complete CAD/CAM solution from initial design right through to final construction.
While ShipConstructor is being adopted by the largest yards, it is also finding equally useful application in smaller design offices and yards.
At Tenix Marine (now BAE Systems) in Melbourne, ShipConstructor has been adopted for use on the Protector project for the New Zealand Navy. ShipConstructor is being used for detailed design of two 85m offshore patrol vessels.
Tenix has a long and proud history of shipbuilding having completed the $6bn Anzac frigate project on time and on budget. While the vessels in Tenix' latest project are somewhat smaller, it still involves considerable complexity with initial design being carried out by Aker Marine in Vancouver, Canada, detailed design at the Tenix design office in Victoria, several modules being built at the Tenix yard in Whangarei, New Zealand, and remaining modules and final assembly taking place at the Williamstown yard in Victoria.
ShipConstructor contains a wide range of functions and consequently, training is an important part of any major deployment of the software. At Tenix, FDS designed a training program covering all major modules including structure, mechanical systems and production. In addition, FDS has been providing on-site advice to assist Tenix with complex implementation issues, both to optimise the link between design and production, and also to deal with the multi-location setup of the project. ShipConstructor's 3D fly-through tools have been found to be particularly useful in helping foster collaboration between the various teams as well as being ideal for helping the customer track progress on the project.
On the west coast, Austal Ships are currently undertaking their most ambitious project yet as part of the General Dynamics team for the design of a trimaran vessel for the US Navy's Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program.
Austal carried out an extensive study into the most suitable software system for this potentially multi-billion dollar project. Finally this came down to a comparison between the combination of Maxsurf and ShipConstructor with a number of other shipbuilding and general purpose CAD systems. In the end, the drawing capabilities of AutoCAD, the production flexibility of ShipConstructor and the design and analysis capabilities of Maxsurf were judged to be the most effective combination.
This means that both of the LCS project contenders (the other is being designed by Gibbs & Cox in the US) are being modelled in ShipConstructor.
This new class of combat ship requires a great deal of innovation in all areas of design and production. The collaboration features of ShipConstructor are helping the design and production teams produce a high quality vessel in a limited timeframe.
Another company that has taken up ShipConstructor during the past year is Australian Marine Technologies in Williamstown. They have been using ShipConstructor on the conversion of an existing oil tanker into a naval replenishment ship.
With just one week of training in the structure module, AMT started drafting the 3D structural model from which all production information is directly derived. Despite having a small number of staff, after a period of less than 8 weeks AMT is delivering nesting and assembly drawings to Tenix in Henderson, W.A. where the conversion work is to be carried out.
A company that demonstrates that the use of modern software can lead to improved overall productivity is North West Bay Ships in Tasmania. They realised that a lot of their time as a designer - consultant for their production facility was taken up by the preparation of nest drawings. The Automatic Nest function in ShipConstructor has delivered a time reduction in preparing a nest drawing from one day to 10 to 15 minutes.
NWBS is also fully exploiting the link between Maxsurf and ShipConstructor by using Workshop to generate the stiffener runs and export the stiffener cutouts in the frames to ShipConstructor. ShipConstructor helps NWBS to do more accurate weight estimates of the design with its report function. This is useful for accurate hydrostatic calculations as well for reference in future designs.
The adoption of ShipConstructor by the Australia's large yards is encouraging, however it should not be forgotten that ShipConstructor is equally suited to smaller vessels. In particular, designers and builders of workboats of all sizes, constructed from steel or aluminium, are ideal candidates for the adoption of ShipConstructor.