ICCAS 2017 Summary

The venue for the 18th International Conference on Computer Applications in Shipbuilding (ICCAS) was the Holiday Inn, Orchard City Centre, Singapore on 26th. To 28th. September 2017, with a local shipyard visit on the 29thSeptember.

Papers were submitted from 24 countries and presented as a concurrent three track programme of 72 papers over the three conference days, with all presentations well attended.

ICCAS 2017 maintained the conference history of high quality papers illustrating the success, trends and vision of applying computing technologies to the shipbuilding and marine industry, explaining how the technology, as it matures, is progressively being applied, and predicting how future systems may be used.

 Presented Papers

The range of papers was extensive, with a balanced mix of consolidation of current technologies, research and development of systems and their application, and the vision of how advanced technologies are being considered for use in the shipbuilding and marine environment.

Notable Themes and Trends

 Due to the high international participation, papers reflect the current state of the industry and how it is utilising computing technologies to improve productivity and cost effectiveness.  ICCAS 2017 papers show topics of common concern and the general trends that are being adapted globally to address them as follows:

In-Service Information

In-Service information is increasingly being addressed by the shipbuilder, and enhanced by ship operators. Papers described how data is used for predictive analytics to maximise ship operating capability whilst minimising costs. Technologies Discussed includes Big Data and Digital Twin


Simulation technologies are evolving as everyday tools as confidence in the results is being verified with trials and applications in the field. Simulation tools were presented in papers that included advanced simulation technologies used on ship motion prediction, launch and recovery operations, and real-time air wake measurements, all proven by sea trial, and all valuable to the operation of a ship at sea, including a ship/air interface for naval ships and vessels with helicopter operations supporting offshore installations, and the launch/recovery of boats etc.

Several authors described simulation technologies being used in support of their work.

Naval Architecture/Engineering

CFD, FE, and other naval architecture continue to evolve as a major contribution to design. Papers discussed using these technologies in topics such as resistance, structural analysis, acoustic simulation, and shaft alignment.

Innovative methods of hull form modelling offered an alternative to the used of multiple patch NURBS surfaces and their difficulties in achieving fair hull lines.

The use of digital models by classification societies was shown to be progressively evolving as the ‘norm’ for class approval.

Early Design

A notable evolving change of emphasis in the shipbuilding early design process, including full and extensive consideration ship in-service operability was apparent in many papers. 

Proposals for the extension of the CAD system into the early design process, and tools, methodologies and technologies used to mitigate the historic problems that early design can bring, were presented. 


Descriptions were offered on the extension of the CAD system from the detail design process, its natural home, to early design and how CAD can be used in planning and the production process.

Topics included; 3D early design, Comparison of CAD types, visualising a digital asset (CAD Model), embodiment of design rules, planning, plate forming, structural design, pipe routing, and electrical cable definition and management.

The relationships between the CAD model and a supporting comprehensive database systems (PLM, EDM, etc.) was also described by several authors, showing a trend for ever larger databases to be used by several functional departments in the shipyard process.

Virtual Reality

Acceptance of VR technologies as a tool for ship design and production, is a continuing trend, with growth of implementation of systems in shipyards.

Authors described their vision for using VR technologies, and how they are developing and implementing VR in the day to day activities of the shipyard. 

Augmented reality was also discussed as an aid to production, including the forming of shell plates, although this technology is not extensively used in shipbuilding, the papers indicated increased interest, predictions for future use, and the improving technology being applied.

Future Systems Vision

Several papers discussed futuristic topics, particularly from vendors and advanced research organisations.

Topics of particular note were the concept of ‘wearable computers’, including those with a visual capability (augmented reality), as a means of accessing information whilst in a production environment, and the development and use of Big Data (see also: in-service information above), not only for the operation of vessels, but for full product lifecycle, and also as a means of planning ship demand. 

The IoT (Internet of Technologies) concept was described; discussing performance monitoring, structural health monitoring, and IoT integration for design, with a decision support methodology proposed for developing and introducing IoT technologies in the shipbuilding industry.

Shipyard Visit

ICCAS conferences include a visit to a local shipbuilding industry facility, in this case it was the Keppel Shipyard, Singapore, primarily involved in ship repair and conversions, in which it is a world leader.

The visit was a slow speed bus tour of the yard, passing docks and berths containing several vessels, of varying type, undergoing repair, refit, or conversion. The bus also passed the workshops for steelwork, piping, fabrication etc. adjacent to the docks with explanation of what they did from a Keppel production worker assigned to host the bus.

The tour concluded with a visit to the safety centre, and a presentation of the very impressive safety training mandatory for all employees. Keppel shipyard have an objective of ‘zero accidents’ and the quality and training offered is exceptional, and particularly important with a high level of sub-contract workers employed at the yard. All employees, including temporary contractors, need to pass a safety course before being allowed into the working environment in the yard.


ICCAS 2017 was successful with high international participation from an industry going through a lean environment with diminishing order books.

The range and variety of papers was high, and the indicated achievements in improved productivity, quality, and cost illustrated the importance of computing technologies throughout the industry.

A change in emphasis from ship-owners seeking to optimise operational costs, minimise environmental effects, and maximise efficiency for new vessels is driving design to address these issues in more detail.

Advancing computing technologies are being applied during early design, through detail design, in production, and in-service, significantly contributing to achieving the ship-owner stringent requirements.

ICCAS offered the opportunity to see how such computing technologies are being applied, being developed or enhanced, and being assessed for use in the future.

John Martin BA. C.Eng. MRINA

ICCAS International Programme Committee (UK member)


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