The NAVAIS (New, Advanced and Value-added Innovative Ships) project is a research initiative supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program. From 2018 to 2022, it brought together 18 organizations around the challenge of developing a platform-based modular product family approach for shipbuilding. This approach was supported by the 3DEXPERIENCE platform and involved the development of modular solutions that can be used to design and manufacture ships. The project aimed to improve the design standardization and the design reuse capability focusing on ship energy efficiency to minimize the design impact on the environment.
NAVAIS project definition
The NAVAIS project focused on several key research areas, including:
- the development of modular design using Model Based System Engineering (MBSE) methodologies,
- the definition and simulation of modular production process,
- the re-use of standard module components from library,
- the definition of a new class pre-approval procedure for modular systems from initial design stage applied on two virtual twin demonstrators.
The project also focused on breaking down the silos around the ecosystem of partners, including shipbuilders, component suppliers, and research institutes, to facilitate the development and implementation of the modular product family approach. Finally, the NAVAIS project integrated sustainability aspects focusing on guidelines and goals for low impact design of vessels and low energy consumption into the design of ships.
MBSE approach for boat building
The new method starts from the MBSE approach to allow the decomposition of the ship systems into modules from the beginning of the ship design study and then to optimize the production process. The MBSE and modular designs allow the shipbuilder to capture tacit knowledge in a way that makes it explicit, traceable and verifiable. This design pattern called “configuration to order” makes the traditional “engineering to order” approach obsolete, especially when applied to small and medium series. At the initial design stage, this approach consists in decomposing the complete ship system platform into a logical 2D design of modular systems taking into account all requirements linked to the customer needs, ship mission profile and system specifications. The NAVAIS project applied this new design concept to e-ferry and tugboat family demonstrators thanks to a very detailed market analysis. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform enabled to implement and to validate the MBSE approach without waiting for a detailed and definitive physical 3D design of the ship in order to gain in reactivity. In addition, the out-of-the-box platform capability demonstrated that it is possible to pre-certify the module by a class-society, which saves time and reduces the technical risk from the initial design stage.
Main benefits of the project
This innovative research project allowed to bring solutions to reduce engineering hours by 80%, production hours by 25%, and completion time by 50%!
Overall, the NAVAIS project aimed to create a new paradigm for ship building that will enable the industry to better respond to changing market needs and demands, while reducing costs and improving the environmental performance of the sector. By developing a platform-based modular product family approach, it contributed to the creation of a more flexible, efficient and sustainable shipbuilding industry, better able to meet the environmental challenges of the 21st century.