ShipConstructor Software Inc. (SSI) has expanded the capabilities of its Autodesk based shipbuilding software, opening up new possibilities for parallel design and engineering amongst distributed teams.
A new product called WorkShare Design allows users of ShipConstructor’s CAD/CAM application to intelligently capture, reuse, change and then sync back portions of a design along with the associated production documentation. This new functionality has numerous practical applications including increased capabilities when working with follow ships, design tests, recovery from errors and for general reuse of design data to increase efficiency.
“WorkShare Design utilizes what we call ‘intelligent capturing’,” says Denis Morais, Chief Technology Officer for SSI. “WorkShare Design is intelligent in that it preserves the existing relationships of all parts selected. It involves more than just copying and pasting simple geometry.”
Engineers can select and then reuse various portions of a design complete with production documentation such as assembly drawings, arrangement drawings and isometrics while preserving all the associated linkages to other aspects of the ShipConstructor Marine Information Model (MIM) including stock and catalog information. Any modifications to the copies can then be synced back into the original design with all the complex relationships intelligently updated.
The ability to reuse design data in this way addresses a variety of cost-cutting requirements identified by shipbuilders. For example, parallel testing of multiple possible designs is a common requirement of naval projects. When the Navy requires a shipyard to test the implications of incorporating different weapon systems into a vessel’s design, these new functionalities will provide a snapshot for each design variation authorized by the Navy. Each variation can be engineered in parallel as required and then merged, using WorkShare functionality, into the continuously evolving overall design in order to assess the impact on the whole project. When the final decision is made by the Navy, the approved variation would be merged into the baseline project and the other variations could be archived for future use.
A similar advantage would result when modeling follow ships because these also require parallel engineering on copied design data. In a follow ship scenario, engineering teams have to start modeling the second ship in a series even before the work on the first ship has been completed. The new WorkShare Design product reduces engineering time by allowing the engineers to copy and reuse the design of the first ship for use on the second vessel. As time passes, more of the first vessel will be modeled and other changes may be made to the original design. The engineering team for the second vessel can then chose to incorporate those changes into the design of the follow ship.
Another new efficiency promoting utilization of WorkShare Design is the ability to reuse design data when modeling blocks (or any smaller units) that repeat. The product also provides a useful method for recovering from human errors because duplicate copies of sections of a project can be created and then synced back if later needed.
A further key point to note is that these new capabilities continue to strengthen ShipConstructor’s core competency of making complex engineering software as intuitive as possible. WorkShare Design uses a familiar central interface and conveniently captures all the information into a single package; it does not require the use of multiple programs with varying interfaces, storing the data in separate locations.
ShipConstructor, October 26, 2012