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June 1, 2023
Technology

In a recent interview with Joseph Pizzitola, Engineering Manager at ECS, we had the opportunity to delve into the changing landscape of the shipbuilding industry and the pivotal role of innovation in its transformation. Our conversation covered a wide range of topics, including design integration, production engineering, and the significance of digital models in streamlining ship construction processes. 

During the interview, Mr. Pizzitola emphasized the need to educate shipyards and clients about the evolving nature of shipbuilding. He highlighted the benefits of adopting advanced technologies such as virtual reality and digital twins, which have the potential to revolutionize the industry. These technologies enable enhanced visualization, improved decision-making, and increased efficiency throughout the shipbuilding process. 

ECS Case Study

In the context of our discussion, it is worth noting the remarkable case study involving ECS and their successful implementation of ShipConstructor in an Amazon Web Services (AWS) environment. This study demonstrates how ECS, an American engineering services firm in the marine industry, overcame the challenges faced by a remote team struggling with latency and geographical constraints. By leveraging cloud virtualization, ECS achieved real-time collaboration on complex projects, making it easier for geographically distributed teams to work together seamlessly. We invite you to access the full report, “The Power of Cloud Virtualization in Shipbuilding,” available here

Interview with Joseph Pizzitola

Joseph Pizzitola discusses the pivotal role of effective communication in an evolving industry. Pizzitola particularly emphasizes the value of production engineering, showcasing the significance of 3D models and early involvement during the design phase. His insights serve as a reminder that innovation is crucial but equally important is the task of conveying the changing landscape of the shipbuilding industry to stakeholders who may be unaware: 

“ Innovation is obviously important, but I would say the biggest thing is it’s just getting the message out. That the shipbuilding industry is changing, a generational concept that we’ve lived with for so long. Like, “Your dad was a shipbuilder. That’s why you’re a shipbuilder”, and so that’s really going away. That tribal knowledge is disappearing. The important part of what I promote a lot of the time is production engineering, just showing it to [clients], and letting them get eyes on the prize. How many clients just don’t know that there’s a 3D model that the shipyards are building off of, or the importance of a 3D model, right? The importance of getting involved early. Getting production engineering started as part of the design phase.” 

Joseph Pizzitola

Pizzitola stresses the role of production engineering in mitigating such issues by addressing them early on, thereby providing a significant cost-benefit advantage to both shipowners and shipyards. 

“Showing [clients] previous projects is usually the easiest way. You know, that’s normally the base, like, ‘Hey, let me show you something similar that we’ve done.’ And when I say similar, it’s not just size but complexity. Let me show you a dense ship, where there’s really not a lot of room to mess things up, right? Because anytime there’s a deficiency in a design, if you’re working through that at the shipyard level, that’s rework, that’s time, that’s money, and it is the worst enemy. As we can solve these problems on the front side, it’s like a production engineer, you know then that’s really the cost-benefit. That’s where I’m getting that word right, to not just the owners, but the shipyards. How many shipyards they’re using ShipConstructor, but they may not be using it for it? They may not understand the importance of having those allocations.” 

Joseph Pizzitola

When discussing innovation, Joseph Pizzitola expresses his enthusiasm for virtual reality (VR) and its potential impact on the industry. 

“Innovation-wise, I love virtual reality. I know we’ve talked a good bit about that becoming really big in the future, but I would love to see that because we’re doing it in other programs and things like that. Seeing that come as a solution, and something SSI can get more involved with would be awesome. Because really whether it’s shipyards or clients or creating a digital twin. When I pull up ShipConstructor and show [them the] website it makes a big difference.” 

Joseph Pizzitola

During a conversation, he discusses the value of having connected information throughout the entire lifespan of a ship. Pizzitola emphasizes the importance of lifecycle management, which involves inputting relevant data into a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) system. Pizzitola underscores the significance of continuously updating the digital twin, the model they frequently refer to, ensuring its accuracy and relevance. Addressing a previous question on implementation and bottlenecks, Pizzitola emphasizes the need for comprehensive training for all stakeholders, including designers, operators, and chief engineers. 

“You put [information] into the PLM, and can ask: What’s the lifecycle rate? When is it going to come up? What do you need to replace before midlife? Things like that. And it helps you maintain and operate that vessel. But you have got to keep the model up to date. You have got to keep the PLM updated, when something changed or switched, changed out, you need to update that. Make sure that the digital twin, the model that we keep talking about it, make sure that’s continuously updated and you got to have the personnel. I think really that’s the challenge, when the operators get the model, do they understand what to do with it? 

How do we implement it or what are we seeing where the bottlenecks are? Training everybody, not just the people who are doing the designing, but the operators, the chief engineers. I would say, chief engineers or engineers, those folks, get them involved. Get some ShipConstructor training. Get them more involved in the PLM side, know what they have at their fingertips.” 

Joseph Pizzitola

In summary

Joseph Pizzitola’s expertise in shipbuilding and production engineering provided valuable insights into the industry’s transformation and the need for effective communication. Moreover, his recognition of the challenges in implementation and the importance of training all stakeholders demonstrated a well-rounded perspective. The interview provided a comprehensive understanding of the evolving shipbuilding landscape and the crucial role of innovation and communication in its continued success. 

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