Marine sector will be the ‘toughest test yet’ for PLM

IBM and Dassault Systemes are to target the global shipbuilding industry as a key growth market for their range of product lifecycle management software and services.

IBM and Dassault Systemes are to target the global shipbuilding industry as a key growth market for their range of product lifecycle management (PLM) software and services.

IBM/Dassault already have a presence in shipbuilding but they believe that Catia V5, the latest version of their high-end design and development software, will allow them to make new inroads.

They claim PLM, which uses 3D data embedded at the heart of a product’s design throughout its development and manufacture, is well suited to a sector which faces some of the most demanding engineering and construction projects in the world.Next week IBM will open its new European Shipbuilding Centre of Competence in Hamburg in a bid to develop PLM-based processes specifically geared to the industry.

Bernard Meyer, managing director of German shipyard Meyer Werft, told delegates at ECF in Berlin he believed use of PLM technologies could help manage the huge complexity of the shipbuilding process and the strict time constraints of customers.Meyer said that a large cruise liner built in the 1970s would have required 1,000 drawings. Today, a similar ship generated more than 10,000 drawings, and must be ready to sail 30 months after being ordered.

‘In 2005 we want to build ships of 150,000 tonnes with only 2,000 drawings. This is only possible through the effective use of PLM,’ Meyer said.

The shipyard boss told ECF delegates how Meyer Werft’s most recent project, the cruise liner Radiance of the Seas, had made unprecedented demands on the company’s development teams.

The ship has 1,500 cabins and includes 2,100km of cabling and 200km of pipes. Meyer said that the levels of luxury needed for modern passenger liners also raised major design issues, especially in the case of ships such as Radiance of the Seas which will sail in the unforgiving waters around Alaska.

‘Architects cause us a lot of problems,’ said Meyer. ‘Balconies, glass lifts and a large atrium are wonderful features, but very difficult to work into a ship designed to withstand fierce storms at sea.’

He claimed shipbuilding possibly offered emerging PLM technologies their biggest challenge, and could act as a benchmark for other industries.

‘Shipbuilding is one of the most complex industries in the world. If we are successful at using PLM, it will be easier to implement in all other sectors,’ Meyer said.

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