Lighter, faster and lower cost – how Use-It-Wisely upgrades are making ship-building better

Ocean Shipyard and other Use-It-Wisely partners in the naval sector have responded to changing customer and shipping industry demands in Greece, and at European and international levels. Customers such as tourism operators, fishermen and transport companies want boats that are lighter, faster and cost less to run, while safety requirements and shipping regulations change regularly.

Vasillis Stratis of Ocean says:

“Ships are high-investment products with a lifespan of 30 years, ship owners don’t want to just throw their ships away. They upgrade them to meet new business or regulation requirements. The shipbuilding industry is heavily regulated for safety reasons”

This requires the ability to innovate in order respond quickly in a changing business environment. More vessel owners are looking to re-purpose ships that no longer fit the bill in a business sense. For example, many fishermen are re-purposing fishing boats to become tourism boats to meet the rising tide of Greek tourism.

Collaboration has proven to be the key to finding creative and practical solutions to these challenges. Vassilis, in Ocean shipyard, is working with Use-It-Wisely partners SEAbility (a shipping agent company) INSB (the Greek Naval Classification Society) and ICCS (The Greek Institute of Computer Science) to test out different scenarios using data from their respective sectors of the shipping industry.

Eric Cauchi from SEAbility is very positive about this collaboration and says that his company now has a “better understanding of our own business processes as well as undeveloped opportunities” thanks to Use-It-Wisely collaboration.

This expert team have developed several tools to a) facilitate the communication between different actors in the naval sector, b) provide a competitive business advantage in the naval domain of small passenger vessels and c) provide individual tools for each actor to enable the facilitation of small scale frequent upgrades.

The “Vessel Meta-File” is a user-friendly, web-based, information rich, technical meta-file that acts as the main knowledge-base between the yard, the classification society and the end-user. The Vessel Meta-File enables the storage of information regarding all aspects of a vessel’s life cycle; from initial customer requirements, to drawings, material and equipment data, sea-trial reports to post-delivery survey and inspection reports. The Vessel Meta-File provides a collaborative platform for sharing such data among all involved actors across the vessel’s life-cycle, reducing costs involved in the design, production and maintenance phases.

Three additional tools were developed, which can be used in conjunction to the Vessel Meta-File:

  • a System Dynamics Model that describes the mechanisms and variable interactions between the Yard, the Classification Society and the end-user, and enables the three different parties to forecast trends in the behaviour of the small craft passenger vessels market and allow predictive actions and decisions such as the upgrade of a vessel to support and extend its life-cycle.
  • a “Vessel Configurator” system was also implemented to assist the transformation of the business and operational requirements derived from the Dynamic Causal Context Model to technical specifications that comply with current national flag or international regulations for the specific type of vessels.
  • “Design Support Plugin” was developed to translate the technical specifications emanating from the “Vessel Configurator” and the respective requirements of the vessel onwner, into an estimatation of the key attributes of the vessel and its approximate cost.

Vassilis says that these tools…

“… facilitate collaboration and support decision making. They improve understanding of the systems and requirements, and optimise ways of working for all partners.”

Together, these tools can decrease costs in shipbuilding, increase the lifespan of vessels and reduce lead times in shipbuilding by 20%.

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