The International Conference on Computer Applications in Shipbuilding – better known as ICCAS – is a bi-annual event that moves around the globe and focuses on the latest technology and trends within the shipbuilding community. Hexagon PPM has been participating in this event for many years, presenting several papers and taking the opportunity to talk to others: shipyards, shipowners, universities as well as competitors.
Here is what Marcel Veldhuizen, PPM’s Vice President of Fabrication Solutions, had to say about his experience this year.
What I found remarkable was the consistency of all papers and the true adoption of digital transformation through the digital twin from all viewpoints. It was greatly understood that the digital twin actually has many forms, all calling themselves by that name.
We had one for the shipyards themselves where the information would be consistently used for approval from the class society, consistent use at the fabrication and construction level all the way to testing and commissioning. The ship owner would maintain a digital twin for future modifications, future analysis for new vessels (lessons learned) as well as passage optimization. The ship operator would constantly monitor the status of the vessel through sensors that are shown into the digital twin he is using as well, to show potential predictive maintenance as well as operational efficiencies.
Also training the new crew using the digital twin and virtual and augmented reality where shown.
While it is great to see many parties talk consistently about the digital twin, a lot of shipyards are still overlooking a key aspect: How do I create reliable data to create a digital twin? The birth of the digital twin will happen at the early conceptual stage but will most likely happen during the engineering phase, where a mass amount of data will be defined and collected that will form the basis of any of these digital twins.
Why is reliable data so important? Let me provide you with an example to explain the importance of this and how you experience this yourself: When was the last time you checked that the value on your bank statement was correct? If I look at myself the answers is……. “I cannot remember since I trust that the amount I look at is correct.”
So, despite all the digital twin discussions, we should not lose sight of creating reliable data. This will surely increase efficiency and productivity in most situations today since we are creating a lot of control loops (often through different spreadsheets) within the different processes which would then become obsolete.
There is a lot to be gained from the digital twin, and the technology is not a prohibiting factor anymore. Now that it seems all parties have truly embraced this, it will be a matter of who is first; that is who will gain a tremendous competitive edge.
Marcel Veldhuizen is PPM’s Vice President of Fabrication Solutions. He resides in The Netherlands.