For the last year, with almost every client or prospect I visited, there was an interest in our new product MarineDrafting. This is not really that surprising since in shipbuilding we are still very tied to our traditional processes of using 2D documentation. The challenge that almost every shipbuilder faces is, “How can I create the 2D drawings that I need from my rich 3D product model?”
I do not really want to write about the MarineDrafting product and its benefits here since there is already a lot of information available and I appreciate that you do not want to read a “salesy” blog post 😉
If you are interested in more information you can refer to:
- MarineDrafting Product Overview with video
- A paper I wrote about MarineDrafting and its benefits: 2D in a 3D World
- Client Case Study
What I want to focus on is how the conversations with shipyards and design agencies progress after their main pain point of creating 2D drawings (arrangements, workshop, various 2D detailing) from the detailed model is resolved with MarineDrafting.
The progression of the conversation starts when we actually take a step back from creating 2D drawings from the detail modeling and look at how ShipConstructor can be used earlier in the design process. This really relates to using ShipConstructor as a 3D basic design tool and then transitioning the same basic design model into the detail design model.
What many ShipConstructor clients do not know is there are several ShipConstructor clients that have been using ShipConstructor earlier in the design process for some time. They found that using ShipConstructor earlier in the design allows them the use of the features within ShipConstructor to manage the very dynamic and constantly changing basic design phase. Some examples are the changing of frame or deck locations, stiffener spacing, hull shape, major openings, changing of stock or thickness, critical structure, etc. I do agree that there are some cases where doing a basic design purely in 2D can be faster than doing it in 3D. However, when there are many changes which are expected (seems to be increasing these days) then using 3D will be significantly faster and have a lot less errors. Also, if you include the amount of time saving and the elimination of errors by starting from a 3D model, the benefits become really apparent.
I remember talking to one client who has been using ShipConstructor for basic design for a very long time and he mentioned to me that there are so many times that modeling in 3D found major issues which would have not been caught if they did it purely in 2D. I am sure we all have had experiences where we were starting to create the detailing model from some 2D basic drawings and found out that what was in the 2D drawings was physically impossible to build. These are very costly errors that using a 3D model for your basic design can eliminate.
Here is a quick non-comprehensive list of other benefits by starting your model in 3D:
- Able to leverage 3D relational features which can propagate/reflect changes throughout the ship, e.g. changing profile spacing automatically updates cutouts in intersecting structure.
- Visualization of the ship and its complex areas by any stakeholder.
- Able to use FEA to verify structural integrity.
- Early and more accurate material take offs.
- Improved weight estimation.
- Able to start your detail design model by reusing work.
Let’s get back to the discussion about how using ShipConstructor as a basic design tool is not specifically related to MarineDrafting since ShipConstructor was always capable of being used for basic design. However, MarineDrafting makes it easier for any client to use ShipConstructor in an earlier phase. There are three key benefits that MarineDrafting has which aligns very well in the basic design phase.
- It creates a 2D symbolic representation of the 3D model which follows many of the shipbuilding specific conventions required for class approval drawings.
- The 2D drawing can be edited using native AutoCAD while remaining linked to the 3D model.
- The modification engine intelligently updates the 2D drawing from the 3D model and provides a very visual and interactive experience for the user to see what has changed in their 2D drawing.
I am not sure exactly how many clients I discussed this workflow with will incorporate it into their organizations immediately. This type of change does require some business adjustments due to the fact that internal processes would need to change. This could involve training and handling unique organizational culture which needs to be managed appropriately. However, I do see at least a shift in thinking about the problem which from my point of view is encouraging. I should also mentioned that there are some clients who are already using MarineDrafting for basic design and are very pleased with it.
The natural reaction we have when a new feature or product is introduced in any software we use is:
How does it allow me to be more efficient with the current things I am doings?
This is fine as our first thought but it then needs to evolve to:
How can I do something different which will allow me to be more efficient or get a competitive advantage?
This second thought is where I think the real opportunity can be realized and is the thought process many of the most successful organizations practice.
MarineDrafting is a perfect example where a new product can improve what you are doing today and also allow you to evolve your business to do something more. ShipConstructor already allows many clients to efficiently and effectively start in 3D much earlier in the design process and with the addition of MarineDrafting the obstacles of doing so are significantly reduced.
Using 3D earlier in the design phase for shipbuilding is no longer just a SSI vision. Many other companies in shipbuilding are supporting the idea of using 3D early as possible. You can search for papers on this subject at:
- Conference on Computer Applications and Information Technology in the Maritime Industries (COMPIT)
- International Conference on Computer Applications in Shipbuilding (ICCAS) and
- The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME)
You will get enough material to put you to sleepJ, especially if you find the ones I wrote.