Thought Leadership

Building Ships Sustainably with Digital Transformation – Transcript

By Quinn Foster

In the second episode of the Marine Industry Podcast Series, Jan van Os and Dale Tutt continue their introduction into the marine industry, exploring the impact of sustainability and digital transformation on the industry.

Listen to the original episode or read below for the transcript.

Blake Snodgrass: Hello and welcome to our second podcast in the Marine Podcast Series. We continue our discussion with Jan van Os, Vice President of the Marine Industry at Siemens Digital Industries Software, and Dale Tutt, Vice President of Industry Strategy at Siemens. Both Jan and Dale have an extensive background in their respective industries, holding leadership positions with several decades of experience.

Blake Snodgrass: Our last podcast introduced the marine industry topic, with Jan and Dale discussing the drivers and trends affecting the marine industry and steps that are being taken to move it to the next level of technology. In today’s second podcast of the series, we are going to tackle the subject of sustainability, which was mentioned in our previous podcast, along with a focus on digital transformation. However, Jan, let’s dive a little deeper into that subject. So specifically, how does sustainability impact the marine industry in terms of issues like carbon emissions or dual infrastructure?

Jan van Os: Yeah. I talked about the sustainability already a bit and everybody’s focusing on the carbon footprint to reduce that the very important, but you’ve got you’ve got more unsustainability onboard the vessel. It’s not only the carbon footprint, but it’s also how is this ship affecting the environment and you can talk about not only emission to air, but also emission to water, and also emission of noise.

Jan van Os: You see in coastal waters where we install all those windmills, there’s a lot of regulations to reduce noise for the sea life which is there. If you are positioning those big piles and you are hammering in them into the ground and all the fish is going away. So it’s noise, it’s water, it’s air. So there’s more in sustainability and you can improve that also with all kinds of simulation so that you can simulate the noise, simulate what effect it has on the surrounding on the distance of our ship is operating. So it’s much more than only a carbon emission.

Jan van Os: And let’s say if you look at the value chain around building a ship, the shipyard is an assembly company. They are assembling steel, they are assembling equipment and all kinds of other material like electric cables. But the whole value chain of 40 to 70 percent of what is being used on a ship is supplied by co-makers subcontractors and suppliers. So if you look at sustainability, it’s not only, let’s say, beginning with the end product, but it’s already starting with building the shipment of the supply chain. Where is the steel coming from? Is it zero carbon steel or is the equipment built in a sustainable way? Or is the subcontractor complying with all the rules and regulations which the owner is setting when they sign the contract?

Jan van Os: So also controlling that supply chain with regard to sustainability is getting more and more important. I won’t say that it’s already being done from A to Z, but shipyards are starting and when they do that, they need to have the right solutions in place to control them because that’s a lot of information which you have to add on top of the design of the vessel and where also sustainability can play a big role is in reducing the weight of a vessel.

Jan van Os: You know with a car and also with a plane, the lighter the ship is, the less fuel you will burn because you have less resistance and also with new materials, new constructions, also digitalization and simulation can help to improve sustainability. So it’s much more than only the CO2 footprint. It’s a whole ecosystem around building and designing a ship which is affected by sustainability, and I think we are at the beginning of it. And shipyards are realizing that they have to start doing something about digitalization, not only for the design, but for the whole value chain.

Dale Tutt: Wow, that’s a that’s a lot of things to consider. As you were talking about that, I was, you know, thinking about the whole consideration around not only is it a emissions to the air, but emissions to the water and even the acoustic emissions of any of your operations. Many, many things to consider as you’re thinking about the design and as we think about, you know, other industries, when I work with a lot of our colleagues in the various industries and thinking about how they’re embracing digital transformation to go faster, to be much more sustainable, to change how they operate they’re efficiencies, that really sounds like that’s going to be a key part of what’s needed here. And you talked about this earlier as well as with the maintaining, helping to maintain a ship. You know, when it’s being operated autonomously. But do you have some other specific examples that you can talk to about what digital transformation actually means for the marine industry?

Jan van Os: Yeah, let’s say if you look at the whole industry and, let’s say, talk about a digital life cycle of a vessel and then we are still facing some problem. But I will explain or elaborate a little bit on that. Let’s say you have the shipbuilders who actually start with the requirements, design the vessel, build the vessel and deliver the vessel to the operator, and then the operator will become the owner for a quite a long period, let’s say 20 to 25 years for a normal commercial ship, and you know, 42 sometimes 50 years for a naval ship, and they are operating maintaining, converting the vessel until decommissioning. But between those two, let’s say, areas of the marine industry. There are still a big, you know, let’s say, a big wall.

Jan van Os: So those are two silos. And within those two silos there are multiple silos. So what we have to do in our industry when we started to think about digital transformation and the marine industry is quite conservative. So they already started quite fast with 2D and later on 3D design. But if you look at data management, they were not that fast and they are still behind on other industries and they know that they have to make the step to get everything connected. So not only, let’s say, from a helicopter view where you have the shipyards, the key suppliers, the class societies which are important and the clients.

Jan van Os: So you have four important parties which have to work together and some of those parties like, for instance, a supplier is starting to have an relation with the shipbuilder. But when the ship is delivered, the supplier will have a relation with the ship owner because the ship owners using that equipment. And the class society is there from the beginning till the end. So they are actually the red line, and you see also that they want to play a role in the in the digital twin of the vessel. So if you look at digital transformation, then it’s starting, to my opinion, with the design that the shipbuilder designer is creating the digital twin. But when he has done that, he has to share the digital twin not only with class, so not sending drawings, but sending the model to class for approval.

Jan van Os: And here they also have to, let’s say, share the information as long as it–for services because you have to think about all the IP rights—to share that with the owner of the ship operator so they can use it the digital twin for their operation and maintenance. So let’s say if you look at that then you and if we can connect all those parts together then you can really have a digital twin throughout the life cycle which can help the marine industry to improve and to really do a digital transformation. But that’s an important aspect. And let’s say we are at the beginning, but if we, let’s say, get our customer on the right way, I think within the coming years the marine industry is joining hands and finding the right way for the digital transformation of for the shipping industry.

Blake Snodgrass: Yeah, that’s great, Jan. So how can digitalization help designers optimize the entire ship as a system?

Jan van Os: Yeah, if you look at how digitalization can help designers, that’s a good one. We talked about the silos earlier and within the design, there are still some silos and those silos are mainly created because there’s not a good data management system on top. They’ve got the CAD system, but then they are going to share things with drawings or with Excel sheets. But if you have the data management system involved, it’s easier to get information out or to ask suppliers to give access to the system so they can pull information out.

Jan van Os: The latest information, latest revision, only the information they need instead of you pushing it, and that’s also costing quite some time to get and orchestrate all the information which you are sending to all those parties involved. And what I said before 40 to 70 percent of equipment is coming from third parties. So that’s quite a lot. So you have to manage a lot of information so data management can really help ship designers and shipbuilders to improve the design and also the rest of the whole process. Also the building process.

Jan van Os: But also, if you do that with your supplies you can do that with classification societies as well because they have to approve everything. Clients have to approve. And so you have always two, let’s say, parties which are looking at what you are doing. So every drawing has to be approved by classification, but also clients are looking, “Hey is this in in conformity with my contract?” And they give a stamp on it and say, “Approved,” before you can start, with the next phase of design or to building, so having to organize that is quite challenging and you can also manage if ships are getting more complex.

Jan van Os: If we go to autonomous giving more complexity sustainability, giving more complexity then you cannot handle that anymore with a couple of engineers. You need to have something in place which can handle that amount of data. So there’s absolutely a lot where digitalization can help a shipbuilder, and if you then have the design and then you start building then you can use that information again on the shop floor. And that’s where shipbuilders are not that far.

Jan van Os: In at the moment they are looking at it, but they are not using all the data already on the shop floor where you have the digital twin on the screen instead of the drawing. They are still very drawing based when it’s going about building a vessel. So there is lots and lots of improvement possible and if you then look at simulation, what can simulation bring not only in the design, simulating all kinds of hull forms to optimize fuel efficiency, but also simulating how a ship is being built, because from my experience we started to build, let’s see what we call that, let’s say the building plan, but if you can simulate how to build it and if you have 10 vessels under construction at the same time, how are you going to do that on your production line?

Jan van Os: But if you can simulate up front, you can get so much more efficiency out of your production line, and shipbuilders are not thinking like car manufacturers and they’ve got 10 different shapes on the same production lines or two lines. And car manufacturers are continuously building the same type of car. So it’s also more difficult, but the solutions nowadays, they can do that and some of the shipbuilders already started, simulating that, and they can get the bottlenecks out, or they can even improve their investments. So there there’s a lot that digitalization can do to help you builders and designers.

Blake Snodgrass: Okay, and thanks for that Jan. We’re going to need to sign off for now for this second episode. But I want to thank both you, Jan van Os and Dale Tutt, for you contribution to this podcast. And I’d ask our listeners to please stay tuned for our upcoming third podcast further exploring the marine industry and ship design and maintenance. So thanks for joining us and goodbye for now.

Siemens Digital Industries Software helps organizations of all sizes digitally transform using software, hardware and services from the Siemens Xcelerator business platform. Siemens’ software and the comprehensive digital twin enable companies to optimize their design, engineering and manufacturing processes to turn today’s ideas into the sustainable products of the future. From chips to entire systems, from product to process, across all industries. Siemens Digital Industries Software – Accelerating transformation.

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