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 the place where users, creators, & implementers of SSI software get together. Here they discuss best practices & industry trends, tackle common challenges, gain access to the latest software, and provide input into the future of the products that bring them together.

        • MyLearning
        • SSI MyLearning is where SSI users can access detailed training exercises, materials, courses, and certifications. The self-directed training curriculum ensures that training happens on your schedule and when you need it most.

        • SSI Blogs
        • The SSI blog is your place to get insights into the intersection of shipbuilding and technology, how our industry is moving forward, and keep up with SSI news. It’s the only place to read the latest from Denis Morais and Darren Larkins, SSI’s co-CEOs.

          Lighthouse Waveform  |  Shipbuilding Solutions

        • ShipConstructor
        • Engineering information is a shipbuilder’s most important asset. Getting that information to fit your business means using a solution that is built to handle shipbuilding’s unique challenges and information requirements throughout each stage of a vessel’s lifecycle.

        • EnterprisePlatform
        • Every process in a shipyard requires data. Seamlessly sharing that data across tools in the correct format needed allows for meaningful, actionable information to be consumed throughout the organization. Providing the freedom to choose the tailored tools required for a shipbuilding project.

        • ShipbuildingPLM
        • ShipbuildingPLM is the only product lifecycle management (PLM) platform that is specifically built for the business of shipbuilding. It allows your shipyard to manage and organize information, understand change, build a foundation for digital innovation, and support MRO activities – without the risks and costs of traditional PLM implementations.

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        • Learn more about SSI and our leadership.

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        • Clients
        • See the industry leaders who trust SSI.

        • Careers
        • Help us make the business of shipbuilding possible.

January 20, 2015

MBE Summit 2014

At the end of December I attended for the first time the “Model-Based Enterprise Summit.” I heard different and conflicting things about the Summit. However, since I was very intrigued about Model-Based Enterprise (MBE) methodology, I decided it was time for me to attend the event to broaden my understanding.

 For those not familiar with MBE you can navigate to their website for more information. Here is the formal definition:

 MBE is an integrated and collaborative environment, founded on 3D product definition shared across the enterprise, enabling rapid, seamless, and affordable deployment of products from concept to disposal.

 Just like any other methodology, the definition describes something I think we all want and need. The question to me was how does MBE achieve “an integrated and collaborative environment” and how can it be used in our industry? This was my goal of attending this Summit.

 When I arrived and reviewed the agenda I was very surprised that there were 2 talks on the first day specifically related to the shipbuilding industry, with more on the following days. One of the presentations I really enjoyed was from Ben Kassel from NAVSEA who very well described the unique challenges in the shipbuilding industries.

 My key take-away

Model Based Definition (MBD)

Tech Review_08_01


At the core of MBE is the product definition package called the Model Based Definition (MBD). The MBD contains all the information (3D Model, 3D/2D Views, annotations, PMI, GD&T, etc.) needed to fully define a product.

With this technical digital package you will be able to view the model in 3D with all the properties annotated as well as have other views and information you require for your task at hand.

Traditionally (currently 😉 ) we share model information using 2D drawings with possibly additional spreadsheets with the specific details of the components. The model based definition replaces these traditional disconnected drawings, documents and spreadsheets and combines them into one complete package.

Most MBD’s utilize modern 3D technologies such as 3D PDF, JT or Navisworks which allow some very rich and interactive tools to examine the MBD model.

In my opinion the two main benefits of the MBD are:

  1. The MBD provides a vastly better way of communicating information with the capability to visually interact with your model. This results in faster and more accurate exchange of information.
  2. Having all the information contained in one package means there is a lesser (not eliminated) possibility of using the wrong information.

Sharing information across enterprise

Having a single digital technical package does allow easy sharing across the enterprise which also includes suppliers. There were several presentation on how companies were using the MBD to communicate more effectively with their suppliers and owners. Most of the communication seemed to be unidirectional and not bi-directional.

There is no standard MBD

There are many different vendors creating their own MBD versions. This was one of the biggest disappointments to me as I initially thought there was a standard that everyone was using. This standard would enable a better ecosystem around using MBD.

It at least was nice to know almost all (or maybe even all) vendor MBD versions use some Application Protocol (AP) of STEP. However, there is still a requirement to use a specific vendor’s viewer. This does limit its usefulness, in my view. 

How effective is the MBD for collaborative communication?

Without having a standard MBD I am not fully sure of how well this will be as a collaborative exchange. If both sites have the same tools I think it can be a successful solution but that will not be the common case. As mentioned there is usually a STEP file contained in the package but it will not contain all the information you may need for collaborating on a design. For example, it does not contain the parametric and associative relationships needed if one site desires to modify a geometric detail.

Also, in the definition of MBE it specifically states “collaborative environment” but I did not get this from the presentations I attended. Most of the presentations were about a one-way push of data which I will argue is not collaborative though could be part of a collaborative system.

Related to shipbuilding

I went to this summit to get a better idea of how it can be used effectively in the shipbuilding industry and I do feel I have a good understanding about MBE benefits. However, I still have more researching and discussions to do.

Most companies using MBE are focused on manufacturing equipment items and I am not sure how this will translate to building larger structures such as ships or rigs. I had numerous discussions with several attendees about this and I still feel I do not have a good grasp on how it can be fully used.

Where does cloud fit into the picture?

It was interesting that the only one who mentioned “Cloud” was Alex Viana from United States Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC). I think there is some real potential for cloud in an MBE.

Worst part of the conference

No coffee in the auditorium.

Closing remarks

Many of the key concepts of MBE are already done by many companies and even SSI’s clients. They may not be calling it MBE but the core of their workflow is utilizing the MBE principles.

If we consider the formal definition of MBE stated previously, ShipConstructor can totally be part of an MBE. Clients are currently generating many digital technical packages for stakeholders throughout their organization containing all the information required for the their specific task.

An example is creating a digital technical package for the CNC Profile operator which contains:

  1. A file which can directly be fed into the CNC Profile machine with no additional processing;
  2. An image and documents of the resulting profile to support traditional workflows and familiarity;
  3. A rich 3D view of the profile with all attributes allowing the operator to quickly view the profile currently being processed as well as the ability to interrogate the details of the profile if required.

Having no standard MBD’s does limit the use of it in a truly collaborative environment. As mentioned, it can be part of a collaborative environment, but it just is not an enabling methodology.

The concept of sharing a file (MBD) is still something I am not sure I like. It is better than the current strategy of multiple files but once we transfer a file it should be considered out-of-date. This might be the reality we live in today. However, I do feel that this will need to change. “How?” you ask. That is what we need to figure outJ. Some of my previous blog posts talk about a Zero File CAD/CAM system.

Are Zero File CAD/CAM Systems the Future?

Is ShipConstructor a Zero File (file-less) solution?

I will continue to learn more about MBE and see if it or at least portions of its methodology can be included into our industry. I welcome any comments and corrections to any of my interpretations and observations I mentioned in this blog post.

Original image from PLM Group


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Post Comments

  1. Jos Voskuil says:

    Thanks for sharing Denis – which neutral standards were discussed. Any mentioning of ISO 15926 which is a standard in the process-like industries

    1. Denis Morais says:

      There were no presentations on that standard but it did come up a few times during questions and during coffee. The conference seemed more focused on the digital technical package and not how these will able to be exchanged. This was more what I was looking for.

      There was a presentation on the newly released ISO 10303:AP242, you can see the presentation here: It was interesting to hear how long it took and how they plan on improving the duration between modifications since if standards take multiple years to be revised then standards will not be the solution which industry adopts.

    2. Denis Morais says:

      There were no presentations on that standard but it did come up a few times during questions and during coffee. The conference seemed more focused on the digital technical package and not how these will able to be exchanged. This was more what I was looking for.

      There was a presentation on the newly released ISO 10303:AP242, you can see the presentation here: It was interesting to hear how long it took and how they plan on improving the duration between modifications since if standards take multiple years to be revised then standards will not be the solution which industry adopts.

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