Maritime systems such as cruise ships and frigates comprise several million components, far exceeding the magnitude of other industrial products. To deal with this challenge, Prostep has developed a new planning methodology based on a digital twin.

The number of components when building a ship poses particular challenges for shipyards in terms of production planning and control. Prostep developed the digital twin technology as part of the ProProS project together with the Lürssen shipyard group and the Machine Tool Laboratory (WZL) at RWTH University in Aachen. The aim is to provide shipyards with better supports.

The ProProS project, which was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Action (BMWK), was brought to a successful close at the end of May.

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Digital twin maps ship and production

In the project, the three partners developed an innovative methodology for planning and controlling the production of large individual products that enables the efficient use of available resources and makes it possible to assess the impact of disruptions as early as possible. The methodology is based on a digital twin that maps the ship and the production activities.

In this twin, the activity plan is created without manual intervention based on the ship structure and is planned and optimised with due consideration given to the available resources. The software demonstrator created as part of the research project can handle the very large structures and activity plans found in the shipbuilding industry.

Rapidly detecting disruptions

The transfer of real-time data from production makes it possible for the production planners to rapidly detect disruptions and replan the production process based on the current status. This provides them with a tool that increases efficiency in the production process and shortens throughput times.

The software can also be used to make predictions about future activities. The solution enables detailed and highly efficient production control when building complex individual products, without driving up the level of manual effort required for production planning.

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Complementary partners

The combination of project partners – the Lürssen shipyard group, WZL and Prostep – created a consortium of companies that complemented each other in terms of expertise. The Lürssen shipyard group manufactures megayachts, naval ships and special purpose vessels. As the consortium head and experienced industry partner, it ensured that a realistic solution could be created.

The researchers at the WZL worked on the design and layout of structures and processes in production and contributed their experience with fault management and real-time production planning to ProProS, which made a significant contribution to the successful completion of the project.

Prostep assumed the role of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and digital transformation expert in the project and contributed its expertise to both the conceptual design and the actual implementation of the software solution. The company will now continue to develop the project results in order to create a mature solution for proactive production planning and control in customer projects.

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