Review of ICCAS 2015

By:  John Martin. C.Eng. MRINA, ICCAS International Programme Committe – UK Member –

Introduction

The 17th. ICCAS in 2015 held in Bremen Germany offered a programme of 81 papers from 19 countries presented over three days in three concurrent tracks logically categorised as: Design, Production and Processes, and IT & Computing Technologies. 

ICCAS 2015 was considered a very successful conference with a high standard of papers covering a wide variety of topics with, strong delegate attendance at all papers presented across the three tracks, and feedback from delegates was “The best ICCAS ever!” 

Presented papers are  summarised as follows:

Track 1 – Design

Eight papers were presented on Design for Risk, Support, Lifecycle, Energy Efficiency, Dependability, Hydrodynamic Performance, and Market Uncertainty. Addressing such operational considerations during early design indicates a strong trend to ensure the design is optimal for build, maximises operational efficiency, and minimises costs through in-service life of the vessel. Case studies discussed proven success in implementing these design practices.

Methodologies for use in Engineering Calculation and Analysis technologies were presented in six papers. Effective mesh generation and interface between engineering tools and CAD 3D models are examples of topics presented. Verification of calculated results by sea trials or observation of behaviour of the designed product was explained.

Energy Efficiency was addressed in several papers across the categories based on the Joint Operation for Ultra Low Emissions (JOULES) project. Papers described the development, installation, and subsequent on board assessment of systems designed to minimise emissions.

The search for an effective and efficient method of creating a production quality hull form continues with three papers on the topic all having a dissimilar approach to achieve a common aim.

The increasing CAD driven practice of using NURBS surfaces has always been problematic and time consuming, particularly when using many patches, and ICCAS papers and discussions indicate that a common proven alternative methodology for a simple effective and truly fair and verifiable hull still evades the industry.

The implementation and acceptance of digital technologies in the classification process was discussed in three papers including automatic generation of classification drawings from design models and e-approval classification.  Hull generation and classification society requirements are two long-standing shipbuilding issues and the presented papers described recent developments in these topics. 

Track 2 – Production and Processes

Production Planning and Outfitting Efficiency were discussed in nine papers indicating a strong interest in improving manufacturing and build efficiency. Topics included block-building strategies, various methods of improving outfitting performance, and the use of 3D models in the planning process.

Planning and work breakdown structures are a key aspect of building a ship and the papers show the industry is still striving to achieve an optimum level of ship outfitting during the assembly stages.

A further topic of common concern addressed by seven papers was manufacturing methodologies, including dimensional control when forming, welding or aligning steelwork structures. Weld shrinkage and cold forming continue to be issues seeking an effective solution in many shipyards and discussed in several papers 

Product Lifecycle was mentioned in many papers throughout the conference, indicating a trend to adopt this methodology. Three papers specifically addressed the topic. 

Track 3 – IT & Computing

Thirteen papers presented on CAD/PLM technologies and methods indicates a universal interest to capture and manage the high volume data and information necessary for design and build of vessels, and the variety of vendor products on the market being applied to address this requirement. These Papers demonstrated that data and information management continues to be problematic and offered several solutions. All are trying to achieve the ultimate goal of a single source of information to be accessed by all departments and functions across the shipbuilding process.

The problem of interface between systems continues to be an issue, often mentioned in past ICCAS papers, and although efforts have been made to develop neutral database technologies, papers on the subject show they have not been universally adopted; organisations still strive for a more acceptable method.  

An interest in the potential use of mobile technologies, such as tablets, in shipbuilding was presented in several papers, although there are still problems to resolve when implementing hand held mobile technologies in a shipyard environment, and although practical field trials to prove the technology in use were limited, the work to date was impressive and indicated the potential availability and application of these technologies in the short term future.

The use of simulation is increasing in the industry, and ten simulation papers were presented across all three tracks. Simulation technologies are becoming more accepted as they mature, and results are being verified by sea/field trials and practical operations in the real world, confirming the accuracy of simulation predictions and performance. Papers included helicopter/ship operations, ship motion prediction, and undocking of Queen Elizabeth II Aircraft Carrier – the largest warship built in the UK.

Shipyard Visit

Each ICCAS conference includes a visit to a local shipyard, popular and of considerable interest to the delegates. In ICCAS 2015 the shipyard was Meyer Werft at Papenpurg. Delegates were given a welcome talk and videos of the company history and viewed scale models of significant ships built at the yard. The delegates then toured selected areas of the yard and viewed a dry dock in the large shipbuilding hall to see the 167,800 GT cruise ship ‘Ovation of Sea’ under advanced construction and the adjacent dry dock used for block assembly. The visit concluded with a simulation of moving the vessel from the dock to the sea, illustrating the difficulty of navigating low bridges and tight spots in the river. Once again the shipyard visit was a fitting finale to a very successful ICCAS conference.

Venue

The Royal Institution of Naval Architects managed the conference event, selecting the venue, dates, and sponsors. 

The venue for the ICCAS 2015 conference was the Swissotel Bremen, situated ideally in the town centre, a few minutes from the rail station, with several other hotels within short walking distance.

The layout of the hotel provided three large, well furnished, conference rooms adjacent to each other, perfect for concurrent tracks of presentations where delegates could move between tracks with ease in minimum time. The conference rooms provided soft drinks from a storage rack at the rear. The adjacent foyer, furnished with small tall tables for use with coffee and lunch breaks, also included vendor stands. All drinks, snacks and meals provided by the hotel were of high quality and quantity, including the conference dinner.

The convenience of the hotel venue and its location, with several adjacent hotels, enabled delegates to return to rooms during the day between sessions or during breaks, welcomed by many delegates.

Sponsor Stands

A very important contribution to ICCAS is the stands and technology displays from conference sponsors. Aveva, bBeta, Intergraph, Nupas Cadmatic, Prostep, Sener, Siemens, SKF, SSI, TechViz and Virtalis were in the hotel large foyer. This provided an excellent environment for delegate networking and vendor demonstrations between presentation sessions, particularly during coffee and lunch breaks.

However, due to the space availability and need to separate competing companies, two active participation displays being demonstrated by Virtual Reality/Visualisation vendors, needing a large access floor space for their stands, were not ideally located. In particular, one of the demonstration areas encroached into the space in which delegates move into or out of the foyer, and between conference rooms and toilet facilities. This caused delegates to unintentionally walk through the demonstration floor space in front of people who were trying the immersive viewing technologies of the vendor products.

Conclusion

ICCAS is of considerable importance to the shipbuilding and marine industry and the principle of papers discussing practical applications of computing systems gives unparalleled understanding of vendor IT shipbuilding related products on the market or bespoke software developments that are in daily use in shipyards across the world, as exemplified by ICCAS 2015

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