Digitalising Ship Design

Once lagging in technology adoption, today’s marine industry is undergoing a multi-faceted transformation. Increased regulations, ageing assets, and high operational costs have led to challenging market conditions for remaining competitive at sea.

Adoption of digital technologies such as the digital twins, has enabled marine leaders to protect margins, automate manual processes, improve safety, accessibility, drive process and maintenance optimisation, and improve operational efficiency.

Hervé Lours, VP Marine, AVEVA, shares insights on the Marine sector and the company’s capabilities amidst the changing landscape. Goh Tz’en Long reports.

Hervé Lours attending on behalf of Schneider Electric, parent company and strategic partner of AVEVA, the inauguration ceremony of the Jacques Saadé from CMA CGM in China

Can you tell us briefly about AVEVA and what it does?

Hervé Lours: AVEVA is a global software company covering the full lifecycle, from design and simulation to operations. We enjoy good relations with largest shipyards worldwide as we hold a 60% market share in the engineering and design software market. We are also highly active in  shipping, and there are more than 3000 ships using our software. Our strategic partner, and also a shareholder, is Schneider Electric that gives us access to its extra-large installed base. AVEVA, a leader in simulations of complex thermodynamic processes, together with Schneider Electric, leader in energy management, together offer software solutions that are efficient in cutting down emissions to our clients and assist the industry to meet IMO regulations.

So software can help shipowners to manage their emissions….

Hervé Lours: Yes, while a lot has to be decided on the regulations side, the path that we have to go down is very ambitious. We believe that digitalisation is a good way to meet this challenge. Cutting emissions and reducing energy is about innovating new ships; advances in engineering design can help in improving the operations onboard, along with monitoring and control software from AVEVA. It is the key to understanding the way ships are operated and where improvements can be made. Asset management solutions provided by AVEVA are necessary in getting short-term and long-term gains from all along the lifecycle. So yes, we believe we can be highly relevant in this area. For example, we have proposed a few energy monitoring solutions that will deliver the capability to understand where the gaps are, and where improvements can be made. This will empower you to set uptargets; track your progress and identify emission gaps.

And the digital twin technology?

Hervé Lours:  I believe the digital twin will be the main market driver over the next few years.

The digital twin is the intersection between data, analytics and multiple visualization tools. The data is coming from the engineering, the design of the ship – for example the 3D model and also from the operations of the ship all along the life cycle. Analytics is necessary to contextualize and transform the data into useful information or recommendation. Last, multiple visualization tools make this information available to all users in the company, whether they are managers or maintenance operator.

Digital Twin is key for replacing and updating the numerous 2D drawings of the ship, for monitoring its operational performance, for implementing condition based maintenance strategies that integrates sophisticated analytics and machine learning and for training the crew before onboarding.

Ship-Owners have of course identified the significant value in such digital twin. Shipyards are also investing there for monitoring the operations of the ship delivered on behalf of the owner, generating some additional revenues with such a digital service and maximizing the chances to capture the maintenance and dry docks. With such service, the yard will also have the opportunity to understand the improvements opportunities in the current designs and improve the future ones.

Have there been cybersecurity concerns?

Hervé Lours: Safety and security of data is our top priority. The idea is to ensure the strictest security compliance possible during software and solutions development, or before it is installed onsite. Once it is installed onsite, we provide the client with the ability to keep the software up to date, all the time. We continuously monitor the changing security landscape of cryptography and cybersecurity. And we constantly monitor our software in the cloud, as well.

We have heard about AVEVA’s acquisition of OSIsoft… and PI (Performance Intelligence) offerings?

Hervé Lours: OSIsoft is proposing to the industry the well-known PI system. PI is an enterprise data infrastructure solution: it collects and manages data and ensures the right operational data governance for all assets from all vendors from the full fleet. We are convinced it is the world’s best operational data management system. PI avoids data not acquired with sufficient resolution, not retained long enough, difficult to access without expertise and very importantly for a Ship Owner, it avoids data held in disparate systems and managed in silos by different vendors, which is very often the case. Vendors are usually collecting data from their own equipment, make some analysis and provide the SO with some recommendation, but they usually do not share their data with anybody else. PI organizes this data sharing and the data governance.

The complementarity with legacy AVEVA is obvious as PI operational data infrastructure solution perfectly complements the analytics capabilities and the successful visualization layers from AVEVA and if you consider on top of that the engineering & design software, our clients will have access to the perfect digital twin.

In times of the covid pandemic where crew changes and management are facing many restrictions, how has digitisation been helpful?

Hervé Lours: Covid has highlighted the fact that there is a need for the capability to work remotely. And it is also necessary to work in a collaborative way and share work between various users. It should be said that AVEVA solutions, including our cloud strategy, enables such a setup. So there has not been any major disruption, due to Covid, in the digital work done by our users. The time has come for knowledge sharing in a company.  And, of course, we have understood that knowledge capitalisation and knowledge sharing go with digitalisation.

So I believe the pandemic has shown that the strategies AVEVA has designed and implemented were the right ones. Moving to the ‘cloud’, giving opportunity to workers to work remotely, and providing to clients the capability to implement “digital twins” – these were choices made by AVEVA, and confirmed to be the right ones by the pandemic.

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