Digital transformation has introduced smart technology that has helped add ease and optimization into many of the mundane daily processes that we handle at work and in our personal lives. One of the most impactful technologies brought forth during the digital revolution is the Internet of Things (IoT), as the devices have paved the way for the creation of the “smart” industry.
Smart technology is currently used at a consumer level quite frequently, with voice assistants like Alexa and Google Home already permeating thousands of households around the world.
However, where smart technology is truly making a profound impact is in the industrial sector, helping to revolutionize manufacturing. By using this IoT tech on equipment to acquire and process real-time data, intelligent manufacturing allows manufacturers a complete, 360-degree high-fidelity virtual data-driven integrated view of all operations, from suppliers and supply chains, enhancing productivity and reducing the time of the manufacturing process.
The global smart manufacturing market was valued at USD 254.24 billion in 2022, and is expected to reach USD 297.20 billion by the end of 2023. As for future growth, experts estimate that the market will grow at a CAGR of 14.9 percent, bringing the predicted market value to USD 397.12 billion by 2029. However, as enterprises around the world begin to implement smart devices into their manufacturing processes and find new avenues for the technologies used, these market numbers could grow beyond expert predictions.
Recently, eight partners from five countries announced they share the goal of strengthening European shipyards in global competition. Based on CONTACT Elements, they will develop a new platform that digitizes shipbuilding end-to-end and makes it more efficient. The EU is funding the research project through its innovation program Horizon Europe.
In the Smart European Shipbuilding (SEUS) project, shipyards, universities, and software manufacturers are bundling their expertise to raise shipbuilding in Europe to a new efficiency level. Their ambitious goal is to reduce development and assembly times by 30 and 20 percent through a collaboration platform.
“To achieve this, we are developing an Industry 5.0 concept that considers all core tasks in shipbuilding right through to service,” says Dr. Elisabeth Brandenburg from CONTACT Research.
The SEUS consortium will integrate shipbuilding-specific development tools, AI, and novel knowledge management techniques into CONTACT Elements, and leverage the platform’s PLM and project management modules. This will create a comprehensive, user-oriented application environment that securely provides all product data, controls the development process, and documents it so that it can be tracked internally and externally at any time.
The economic benefits of such an industry platform are obvious: engineering, simulation, and software teams can collaborate closely from the early stages, include manufacturing-related and sustainability requirements in their design decisions, and bring new ships to market faster and at a lower cost.
“The digitalization of the product creation process also makes it possible to utilize our IoT applications,” says CONTACT’s project manager Dr. Brandenburg. “This would allow staff to use the ships’ operational data for predictive maintenance or product improvements, for example.”
Two shipyards with different profiles – the Norwegian Ulstein Group and the Spanish Astilleros Gondan SA – are contributing their know-how to the project and will test the practicality of the new platform and its solutions.
The SEUS project will run for four years and is supported with around 7 million euros by Horizon Europe, the EU’s flagship program for research and innovation. The consortium leader is the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). The Finnish company Cadmatic, a leading software provider of shipbuilding solutions and OEM partner of CONTACT, is responsible for the technical management. Other project members are SARC BV with its CAE expertise, the NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences (both from the Netherlands), and the University of Turku in Finland.