Software, services, and expertise for the business of shipbuilding.

        • Achieve a Quick ROI
        • Sliced implementations and our expertise means a benefit from day one, without a lengthy setup.

        • Integrate, Collaborate, Re-use
        • SSI’s Open Shipbuilding Platform gives you a future-proof source of truth for your shipbuilding projects.

        • Change Management
        • Get visibility into changes, understand the impacts, and have the right information at the right time to execute the change.

        • Adapt and Innovate
        • Create a local or virtualized shipbuilding environment for your global distributed workforce.

        • Changing from Another Solution
        • SSI makes it easy to switch from other platforms and keep your existing data.

        • Design
        • The most significant opportunities to impact the cost of building and operating a ship are found in the design and engineering phase.

          Initial Design  |  Basic Design  |  Detailed Design

        • Build
        • Even a smaller shipbuilding project is immense in scope and scale. Manage the challenges that are unique to ship construction.

          Prepare  |  Fabricate  |  Assemble

        • Maintain
        • With the majority of a ship’s life taking place after it’s been built, it’s crucial to ensure that the organization has a clear picture of the vessel at all times.

          Digital Twin  |  Repair / Refit  |  Operations

        • Nexus
        • SSI Nexus is a community for users, creators, & implementers of SSI software.

        • SSI Certified Training
        • SSI Certified Training allows SSI users to access detailed training exercises, materials, courses, and certifications.

        • SSI Blogs
        • The SSI blogs are your place to get insights from our CEO into the intersection of shipbuilding and technology, see how shipbuilding is moving forward, and keep up with SSI news.

          Lighthouse Waveform  |  Shipbuilding Solutions

        • ShipConstructor
        • A complete line of solutions for the design, engineering, and construction of ships and offshore projects.

        • EnterprisePlatform
        • Tools to connect and share data across every system in the shipyard and make information available.

        • ShipbuildingPLM
        • The only truly shipbuilding-specific product lifecycle management (PLM) platform.

        • Company
        • Learn more about SSI and our leadership.

        • Locations & Contact
        • You need a partner with a global presence.

        • News
        • The latest on SSI and shipbuilding.

        • Events
        • Join us at our next event, conference, or trade show.

June 11, 2019
Industry Trends

More shipbuilders than ever are in the process of going through a digital transformation. Many look inwards, examining the technologies and processes that are or are not in place within the organization. But more so than in other industries, external entities can influence what is possible internally inside a shipbuilder. Particularly, class societies are in a position to change how quickly shipbuilders go through a digital transformation. 

a gif of a visual representation of the design, build, and maintain phases in shipbuilding.

Digital Shipbuilding

Get a first-hand experience of what the design, build, and maintenance phases are like in an increasingly digital shipyard.

Experience now

With only a finite amount of resources to put towards a digital transformation, any capital investment that does not have a clear ROI is a potential risk. So when processes like Class Approvals remain paper-based, there is no incentive for a shipyard to add additional risk by going through a digital transformation. In the short run, there’s no appreciable impact on the bottom line. But in the long run, not investing in a digital foundation blocks companies from the advantage of future technologies.  

With no real gains to come from being an early adopter, the current status quo sees those who adopt last achieve the highest ROI. This is not a new paradigm. The International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) itself recognizes this disconnect between innovation and reality. “An effective regulation is one that rewards early adopters.” Said IACS Chairman and DNV GL – Maritime CEO. “Let us embrace the opportunities which arise from the digital transformation and be proactive in addressing challenges. 

What Class Societies are Doing

With that in mind, class societies are making changes that better align with the technologies that are being adopted by more and more shipbuilders. Part of that effort is coming from increasing standardization, and part is due to class societies going through their own digital transformations and better understanding the needs of the industry. 

The traditional paper-based processes result in the generation of large amounts of paper documents and drawings that must be sent to class societies for approval. Now we’re seeing progress towards the digitization of this processCompanies like Meyer Werft are including 3D models and metadata within 3D PDF containers that allow inspectors to visualize and annotate the model without the need for specialized software. Similarly, apart form releasing a digital compliance tool, Lloyd’s Register is starting to adopt modern blockchain technologies into their compliance programs. Processes like these provide incentive for shipbuilders to adopt technologies like digital twins throughout their entire workflow. 

Class societies can add value by offering services that utilize digital twin data beyond approvals, further strengthening the return on a ship delivered using digital technologyRegular inspections can become opportunities to perform simulations or predictive maintenance. Class societies making it more valuable for owners to request digital information from shipbuilders is another factor that works in favour of those who have chosen to adopt the technology earlier within their shipyard. 

However, when digital data is accepted, what currently occurs is that vessel data, prior to being sent to class societies, is collected from multiple applications on a ship-by-ship basis. The way that data is handled after the fact isn’t shared. Going forward, class societies are starting to work with shipowners, suppliers, and shipyards to standardize both data and data management efforts in an attempt to mitigate this problem.  

Standardisation would have the end result of improving data quality, reducing frictions throughout the classification and approval processes, and lowering the costs required to comply. The combined effect will make a digital transformation more palatable throughout the shipbuilding and maritime industry. In the meantime, the solution is ensuring that an organization can access the data, no matter the format. 

The long-term impacts of standardized digital formats will be felt most by ship owners, who will have first-hand access to them for the life of a vessel. Shipbuilders stand to see benefits as well. Unified digital standards make identifying design characteristics and improving upon previous designs easier, while reducing the effort required to achieve a return. 

Future Digital Realities

However, the reality is that achieving this standardization across so many stakeholders is impractical. To unify everything relevant to a ship across a single set of technological or technical standards is an extreme undertaking. It’s much more likely that there will always be a connected and networked mix of standards, formats, and platforms.  

Despite this, class societies play a key role in influencing the digital transformation of shipbuilders worldwide. By being a first mover in adopting digital technologies and readily accepting them, they make it possible for shipbuilders to see the path towards a clear ROI. Hopefully, we see that trend continue rapidly into the future. 

Don't Miss These Shipbuilding Strategies

Subscribe to the Shipbuilding Solutions blog and get actionable strategies and best practices from industry experts.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Post Comments

  1. ndar says:

    Hi Greg,
    i totally share your vie and have honed a similar concept across several presnetaions and published articles over the recent months. I have made a distinction between Work In Progress deliverable data banks (which include data bases) used to create Unique Models and feedback into the overall process and Release / Contractual deliverable data banks which are a littel more “one way” but also feed back into the overall process. I would welcome the opportunity to share my work with you.
    I will present on the topic at the ShipConstructor Coneference EMEA 2019 at the end of September.

    1. Greg Goulanian says:

      Hi Nick,

      Thanks for reading. I would love to see your work on this topic, please send it my way when you have a moment.

      Also looking forward to your presentation at the EMEA conference!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.