A glance towards the digital twin
Simulations have long been used, in different forms, to improve efficiency in shipbuilding. Simulation as a whole, however, is constantly becoming more complex, and demand for it is growing in shipbuilding and technology development.
Simulation is being increasingly adopted in shipyards, and our routines are also becoming more efficient as we develop our activities. With the advancement of technology, we also encounter challenges with the different systems and how they communicate with each other. How can we get each system, software and automation to work together even after updates, renewals, reformatting?
“If we are truly to develop efficiently, the communication interfaces should be defined and standardised over the whole industry.”
Simulations made more efficient by standardising communication
One huge challenge facing us, from the point of view of simulation and integration, is communication. The big device and system suppliers have their own control and automation software, each of which exchange data from the simulations in a different way. As the data is the property of the equipment supplier, the communication interfaces naturally vary per supplier. Every supplier has their own technology regarding the data they transfer and receive on-board. If we are truly to develop efficiently, the communication interfaces should be defined and standardised over the whole industry.
Development is not carried out for the sake of development: by utilising simulations, clear savings can be made already at the current level. Every problem solved in test simulations at the shipyard acts to facilitate test runs, implementations and sea trials, and also saves time.
Striding towards the horizon
The next great step we will experience will, however, be in the form of the so-called digital twin.
The combination of a full-scale ship and a simulated one is more advanced in its complexity and data capacity than its predecessor, but at the same time, will revolutionise shipbuilding and facilitate laboratory testing as never before. As a result of this development, the role of shipyards will transform into that of a producer of total integration. The digital twin will enable us to test both mechanical and data-related issues simultaneously.
“Projects such as ISTLAB are important instances of cooperation and product development, which are much needed in this industry.”
As regards the future, the increase in knowhow and cooperation between maritime institutes and other educational establishments will be substantial. The amount of digital data processing will not decrease, and the industry is crying out for automation engineers. We are in a great position in Rauma, as we have specialists at SAMK right on the shipyard’s doorstep. Projects such as ISTLAB are important instances of cooperation and product development, which are much needed in this industry.
This spring marks personally for me reaching 40 years in this industry and our order book is at all time high. The horizon stretches before us, and the view to the future is positive. The digital leap and environmental issues will also in the future create the need for new ships. When my retirement eventually looms, I will happily pass the baton to the next generation, as I know that there is still a long way to go.
Håkan Enlund, EVP Sales and Marketing, Rauma Marine Constructions