Massive Steel Structures, Heavy Fuel Oil Engines & Large Crews: Why Digital Technology is Driving Innovation in Marine Design and Build Now

Few things have fundamentally changed about how ships are built and operated since the industry adopted containerisation in the 1970s. Why has the Marine industry been conservative when it comes to adopting new technology?

Posted: May 16, 2019


Massive Steel Structures, Heavy Fuel Oil Engines & Large Crews: Why Digital Technology is Driving Innovation in Marine Design and Build Now

Few things have fundamentally changed about the way ships are built or operated since the 1970s, when the industry adopted containerisation.

But why has the Marine industry been conservative when adopting technology? I attribute this partially to the cyclical nature of the business, the very low margins associated with delivery of vessels and the fact that shipping is already a very efficient industry.

Despite the conservative uptake of technology in the sector, I have always been amazed at the huge effort our shipbuilding customers put into developing detailed Digital Twins, which are used primarily to facilitate communication and streamline manufacturing. The first time I virtually walked around one of these models, I couldn't help but think, “why isn't this effort put to more use in the operational phases of the vessel?”

Nonetheless, for the first time in history, ship fuel costs today outweigh the CAPEX cost of almost all ship types. We are aware just how big of an impact shipborne emissions have on the environment, but we continue to build massive steel structures, powered by heavy fuel oil engines, crewed by people who mostly perform administrative functions.

Have we reached the tipping point? A look ahead to 2050

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) will enforce new emission reduction targets beginning on 1 January 2020, lowering the global sulphur cap on fuel content from the present limit of 3.5% to 3.0%.

By 2050, the IMO plans to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by 50% (compared to 2008 levels). Current trends are showing that if we don’t transform how we build and operate vessels, the industry will miss the 2050 targets by a factor of six.

We have, quite simply, reached a tipping point. This is a critical opportunity, and we must take action in order to improve.

Case Study: MV Werften Embraces the Digital Twin

MV Werften is a Hong Kong-German shipbuilder, operating three yards in Eastern Germany that produce cruise ships for the company’s parent, Genting.

Set for completion in 2021 and designed for the Asian cruise market, The Global Class, will be MV Werften’s most technologically advanced vessel to date. It uses artificial intelligence throughout, including facial recognition for boarding and onboard payment processing. It will also be the largest ship ever built in Germany at 204,000 gross tons, 342 meters long and over 46 meters wide.

"The Global Class is designed from the keel upwards for the Asian-sourced market, which requires more exciting public areas and larger cabins than traditional cruise ships and, supported by the world's leading technology and digital systems for Asians, who are more used to digital technology,” says Tan Sri KT Lim, the Chairman and Chief Executive of the Genting Group.

“Owning the shipyard means greater flexibility in incorporating the latest technical advancements for MV WERFTEN to build the best cruise ship in the world,” he adds.

The construction of this enormous vessel will involve a supply chain of approximately 600 companies from all around the world. Using AVEVA’s integrated engineering and design, and information management solutions, MV Werften will enable seamless collaboration across these complex project teams, improving efficiency across shipbuilding design and construction. The project will be founded on a Digital Twin strategy – you can learn more about it here.

Connected systems are the path to calm waters

As shipyards like MV Werften begin to seriously consider different business models and the importance of a true Digital Twin becomes clear, so does the need to integrate siloed data from CAD, CAM, ERP, MES, EAM and Spatial technologies. A connected technology strategy will become the basis of location-independent collaboration for all stakeholders involved in the Global Class’s construction lifecycle.

The shipbuilding sector has recently gone through an intensive phase of consolidation, and the resulting consolidated shipbuilding groups are becoming vertically integrated. As ship design and production, integrated monitoring and control, and software and mechanical systems integrate, the value of the Digital Twin becomes more apparent.

As regulatory changes, new collaborative technology, and realigned business models push the Marine industry towards better delivery and operations, can we say the leading companies are taking a push off the dock to deliver ships as a service? For the first time in many years, this process seems to be underway.

Discover connected shipbuilding and operations at AVEVA World Summit

What will these disruptive changes bring us? Smart Shipyards and Smart Ships? Ships as a Service? One thing is clear, the path to 2050 will be nothing like the past 30 years.

Join us at this year’s AVEVA World Summit in September to hear and see the steps that leading companies like MV Werften, HHI and MSE are taking to tackle today’s biggest industry challenges, how they are preparing for 2050, and how AVEVA technology is helping them pave the way to a cleaner, more efficient Marine future.


Source: MV Werften. (2018, September 11) MV Werften Lays Keel for the First “Global Class” Ship for Dream Cruises

Written By
David Thomson

David graduated from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow as a Naval Architect, moving directly into the computer aided design industry where he implemented 3D design software in over 20 shipyards. He moved onto a consulting role in IBM Germany where he implemented and consulted leading engineering companies on Product Lifecycle Management systems. Now 10 years at AVEVA David has held a variety of roles focusing on information management, lifecycle management, strategy and Innovation.

Download the Whitepaper:  Digital Agility Forges Digital Resilience    

Related Blog Posts

Stay in the know: Keep up to date on the latest happenings around the industry.

Oil and Gas
The Pandemic reveals Digital Shortcomings of Unprepared Companies

Enabling the entire workforce to work remotely was a tall challenge for companies still falling short with digital transformation.

Oil and Gas
What's Next for Oil & Gas in Today's Industry Uncertainties

Read our blog to find out what's next for Oil and Gas in today's industry uncertainties.

Oil and Gas
Agility Beats O&G Market Volatility​

Agility Beats Oil and Gas Market Volatility​ - Value Chain Optimization can lower the risk and uncertainty due to market fluctuations during this unprecedented ...

Oil and Gas
How to navigate through Uncharted times of Challenge in Oil and Gas

Oil and gas industry has been hit by the pandemic. Safety, efficiency and operations continuity are critical for de-manning while optimising value chain.

Oil and Gas
The role of technology to face the challenges raised by the current oil price instability

Against the backdrop of the current global situation, this interview with Hege Dammen, Consulting Director for Digital Acceleration at AVEVA, focuses on the ...

Oil and Gas
Ensuring a Winning Strategy for Value Chain Optimization of the Refining and Petrochemical Industries

Learn how to ensure a winning strategy for value chain optimization of the refining and petrochemical industries

Oil and Gas
With oil prices fluctuating every minute, is your team equipped to capitalize on change?

Learn about the strategies and solutions to tackle the current economic challenges and have the capability to optimize your entire value chain.

Oil and Gas
Challenges of Achieving Value Chain Optimization in the Refining and Petrochemical Industries

Understand key challenges of value chain optimization in the refining and petrochemical industries to reduce risk and guarantee high adoption rate and optimal ...

Oil and Gas
2019 Hydrocarbon Processing Awards recognizes AVEVA

AVEVA was recognized by the best solution for Digital Twin and Operator Training, and also process optimization and plant operations optimization.

Oil and Gas
5 Tips to Make Digital Transformation easier in the Oil and Gas Industry

Undergoing digital transformation presents many challenges along the journey. It's essential to understand the issues you may face and how you can overcome ...

Oil and Gas
Maximize Oil and Gas Pipeline Efficiency with Integrated Digital Twins

How pipeline companies lean towards digital transformation to improve operational efficiency with AVEVA while enhancing the safety measures

Oil and Gas
$1 trillion to be unlocked in Digital Transformation?

Data is the foundation of Digital Transformation of Oil and Gas. Data feeds into predictive analytics, optimises process, predicts machine failures.

Are you ready to ride the wave of the petrochemical industry growth?

To overcome business and operational challenges, companies will need to increase their level of digital maturity through value chain optimization.

Oil and Gas
Understanding the Refining and Petrochemical Value Chains to Drive Optimization

Understand the complexity of the refining and petrochemical value chains to create a solid digital transformation strategy that optimizes the entire enterprise.

Oil and Gas
When Digitalization and Transformation are not Enough: Accelerate.

Market-disrupting industrial organizations differentiate themselves by transforming business through innovating and accelerating past the competition.

Oil and Gas
Optimizing my Refinery Blend is Much Harder than Baking Cookies

Refinery products are blended to get final products with desired quantity, quality and schedule specifications. However, rigorous planning, scheduling and ...

Oil and Gas
3 Steps to Maximising Pipeline Integrity

Ageing infrastructure is posing huge challenges for pipeline operators in keeping their pipelines running optimally and profitably in the face of increasing ...

Oil and Gas
How Can Predictive Analytics Reduce Unplanned Downtime in Oil and Gas Production?

Production can increase either by developing new fields or improving asset uptime in existing fields, but asset downtime due to facility maintenance – planned ...

Oil and Gas
My Car Has Predictive Analytics, Why Shouldn’t My Refinery?

Rebroadcast of Air Liquide's experience with predictive analytics and AVEVA

Oil and Gas
How Digital Transformation in Engineering and Design boosts Project Profitability

Low oil prices had sanctioned almost every large Exploration and Production (E&P) projects in the oil and gas industry. Today, with the recent recovery of oil ...

Oil and Gas
The Price of Optimizing Your Process Is Asset Reliability

Predictive maintenance (PdM) strategies enable front-line personnel to act before costly failures occur and maximize value throughout the entire asset ...

Oil and Gas
How Closed-loop Operations Enable Digital Transformation of Oil and Gas Fields

Today, the advancement in technology – cloud platform, analytics and computing power – is revolutionising the way how companies can leverage big data and ...

Oil and Gas
How Pipeline Operators are Working to Improve their Asset Reliability

Asset reliability is a key component of an overall asset performance management strategy. And it plays a big part in helping midstream oil and gas operators ...

Oil and Gas
Maximizing Midstream Profits with OT IT Convergence

Historically midstream oil and gas organizations have kept two critical functions within their businesses almost entirely separate – IT and OT. One of the ...

Operational Excellence: Likely the Most Overused Term in the Process Industries

Operational Excellence isn’t achieved overnight. It is a methodology that takes a commitment to focusing on continually improving the process, and its ...

Oil and Gas
How Virtual Reality Compresses Operators Learning Curve in Oilfields

Unlike a traditional classroom environment, the VR immersive training system facilitates interaction between equipment and environment and scenario simulation ...

Oil and Gas
How Advanced Analytics improve Margins at Natural Gas Processing plants?

mproved fracking technology in oil and gas fields is creating an unprecedented boom in natural gas production, exerting tremendous pressure on natural gas ...

previous next

Sign up for our newsletter and get all the latest information straight from the source.