Damen Shipyards plans to use simulation to produce digital twins of its offshore support vessels (OSVs) and tugs
VStep Simulation will provide Damen with a suite of simulators for engineering and naval architecture applications from a laboratory in Damen’s headquarters in Gorinchem, the Netherlands, from February 2020.
This will improve Damen’s OSV and tug designs while extending the capabilities of VStep’s existing Nautis maritime simulation platform into engineering applications.
Damen intends to use this simulation technology to model potential changes in a design. It will then view, in virtual reality, the impacts these would have on other aspects of the vessel’s performance.
Damen research and development team leader Marcel Cleijsen said virtual representations of existing vessel types could be manipulated to establish how they might perform in roles or conditions they have yet to experience.
“Investing in a full bridge simulator is a step towards the digital twin goal,” said Mr Cleijsen.
Information from simulation will then be used to optimise Damen’s designs to allow them to operate effectively in new markets.
“Our investment not only enhances Damen’s capability as a digital system integrator,” said Mr Cleijsen, “but also enables us to present our findings to our internal and external clients and suppliers in an intuitive 3D graphical format.”
Damen and VStep already work together via Damen’s associate company 360-Control, which uses Nautis simulators to train crew to manoeuvre OSVs and tugs in multiple scenarios in a zero-risk environment.
However, Damen also required simulators to mitigate the risks inherent in designing and commissioning, said Mr Cleijsen.
“Costs per simulated vessel are currently high due to dependency on suppliers, high tariffs and limited re-usability as ownership remains with suppliers,” he explained.
“This VStep project is an investment that will drastically lower the cost per simulation by standardising the interface between components and making the completed simulations re-usable for future purposes.”
VStep technical director Steve Claes expects its collaboration with Damen will “lead to a wealth of new data findings” and improve the quality of vessel design.
“These findings will contribute to the digitalisation of the industry and pave the road to a new norm, with simulator solutions in the lead,” he said.
Optimised design and efficient operations will be discussed at Riviera Maritime Media’s Optimised Ship Forum in London on 10 December