With our US team attending the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston this week my mind has turned (again) to offshore. It’s actually an area where a company that was called, and is still known in many circles as, ShipConstructor has had more success than you might think (and not just in workboats). ShipConstructor has actually been used for the design and engineering of major offshore projects (SPAR’s, jackups, semi-sub’s etc…) for the last 15 years.
However, a trend that has come to light over the last few years, due largely to a slump in shipbuilding, is a move for commercial shipyards to diversify (if not outright transition) into offshore. There are certainly differences between the industries, especially regulatory and commercial differences. However there are many similarities as well, especially in design, engineering and construction.
Along with this trend we have seen an increasing demand for a single engineering software package to perform well in both industries. If the same engineering teams are working on both types of projects and the yards are building from work packages from those teams there are many reasons why it makes sense to standardize on the same software. Not the least of these are the reduction in training, implementation, integration and the impact to both business units of process improvement in a single value chain. Some of these benefits apply equally well if the business units are separated, but still under a single corporate umbrella.
Of course, there have been a few anomalies lately. Despite the pedigree AVEVA has established in offshore, and the long relationship they (via the TRIBON aquisition) have enjoyed with HHI in shipbuilding, HHI recently selected solutions from Dassault for their offshore business. In a similar move Fincantieri, a long time user of in-house MicroStation and PlantSpace based solutions, has selected AVEVA Marine for the design of a new drillship.
I personally believe that the convergence of software for shipbuilding and offshore is a trend we will see continue. However I am interested to hear your thoughts on the subject. If you agree, disagree, or just have something to say, feel free to use the comments section to get it out there…