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Does the ship design project benefit from Digital Twin approach?

Author Juhani Kankare
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I have been thinking what benefits shipowner and yard gets if they start concentrating to digital twin approach at early design phase. At least then virtual ship will be matching the real one more accurately. It will be ready with less effort at the end; when it has been built during the design phase. Project management can follow visually the maturity of the design. But can the ship design project’s decision making also benefit from the digital twin concept?

Safety and Emergency scenarios

For example emergency related scenario animations like safety and evacuation simulations. This information will be beneficial for designing the ship but also later when training the crew. Having good visual animation helps all parties to understand better what kind of issues or bottle necks passengers or crew faces in real life. At the  design phase the designer can find out better solutions when seeing animations from different scenarios to ensuring most secure options.

Smoke and flow simulations

Other example is visual animations from design phases like CFD results of selected technologies. Exhaust gas animation, smoking areas or other similar simulations may help later the crew to understand limitation of activities.

Design reviews, architect reviews

Digital twin supports more effective decisions making due to level of details possible to review. Architect and owner can have a virtually review of different areas like restaurants, casinos or cabins. The  virtual review enables possibility to have many different solutions compared to physical models. It also allows people to use more time with the sample designs due to they can use it at the own office via VR or just from own computer display. The building up virtual sample of areas is much faster and cost efficient way than building in real samples. Also there can be many different solutions in a review when there are no limit of physical space. Later these selected models can be opened and re-check if needed.

Decisions faster and more accurately

Design- and architect reviews are held due to need of making big decisions related to manufacturing and equipment investments. Using digital twin reduces costs and risks due to better understanding of the details and gives more tools to make accurate decision. Having access to design information is good but the ability to visualize information provides additional level of knowledge.

Production phase

Often the design areas are divided to many small parts in case of technology and physical location. It is beneficial to have direct link between production and design houses. Digital twin can be used to point problematic areas with your virtual finger on discussions. The ship builders can manage changes more efficient way when the errors can be corrected faster and even with less bureaucracy.

It can be also set up alerts to some areas or parts to show problems in specific areas between production and design. Project management may follow the progress visually from virtual ship.

Nowadays there are need to set up systems supporting global activities since there can be many limitations to physical meetings. Digital Twin may even allow sometimes reason not to meet when the information is commonly available via cloud to everybody’s terminals.

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Juhani Kankare

Juhani Kankare has worked in consumer electronics, telecommunications and in marine electrical design. Juhani joined Elomatic in early 2019 and holds the position of Design Manager, Ship Electrical Engineering Team at the Elomatic Turku office.

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