Three basic issues for digital transformation of the shipbuilding industry


During the “14th Five-Year Plan” period, promoting the integrated development of the digital economy and the real economy, and promoting the digital transformation of key industries have become the focus of building a digital China in the new era. As the core industry of a major country, the shipbuilding industry has a solid informatization foundation, urgent and suitable transformation needs, and has now developed into a key industry for the layout and implementation of digital transformation. How to practice the digital transformation of the shipbuilding industry, companies need to clarify the why, what, and how to better implement the decisions and deployments of the Party Central Committee and the State Council on building a strong manufacturing country, a strong maritime country and a strong transportation country.

01 Why: Background of digital transformation of my country’s shipbuilding industry

The digital transformation of the shipping industry is imminent. The shipbuilding industry is the culmination of modern industry. It brings together a huge industrial product market and ecological chain. It has the characteristics of long construction cycle, complex process flow, and a large number of non-standard parts of intermediate products. The shipbuilding industry is of great significance to the development of its upstream and downstream industries. , is an important industry and economic growth point category of my country’s national economy. In recent years, under the background of accelerated technological change and complex and changeable international situation, the world’s major shipbuilding countries have accelerated the pace of intelligent manufacturing, and the competition of major shipbuilding companies has gradually focused on the technical field. As a result, my country is also facing international and domestic challenges. Internationally, shipbuilding enterprises in Japan and South Korea have transformed earlier and have a high degree of digitalization and intelligence, making them strong competitors in my country’s international market. Domestically, problems such as overcapacity of ships, insufficient utilization, and high construction costs have always been a serious constraint to the development of my country’s shipbuilding industry. my country’s shipbuilding industry urgently needs to develop new ideas, empower the shipbuilding industry through a new digital technology system, realize industrial digital transformation and upgrading, and improve international competitiveness.

The digital transformation of my country’s shipbuilding industry is difficult and has a foundation. First, the informatization foundation of the shipbuilding industry is good. After years of informatization construction, design institutes and manufacturing enterprises in my country’s shipbuilding industry have made great progress in virtual prototypes, product data management, and parallel collaboration within enterprises. Among them, 3D design software has been widely used in shipbuilding enterprises to provide technical support for the digital transformation of shipbuilding. Second, the difficulty of digital transformation of the shipbuilding industry is appropriate. Compared with other industries, the shipbuilding industry is one of the key industries in my country that entered the international market first and has strong international competitiveness. Among them, as a major manufacturer of offshore equipment, my country’s shipbuilding industry orders rank first in the world. In addition, based on the previous accumulation, the modern general assembly shipbuilding model led by key shipbuilding enterprises has carried out intelligent transformation exploration work to varying degrees, and achieved certain results, creating good conditions for the overall digital transformation of the shipbuilding industry.

02 What to change: Typical scenarios of digital transformation in the shipbuilding industry

Smart Ship. Modern ships have the characteristics of large single-piece body, small batches of products of the same model, many types of tooling, and wide operation areas, which bring certain difficulties to the management of ship product design and manufacturing process, the logistics management of product formation process, and the management of personnel and processes in the manufacturing process. . Intelligent ships are the key direction of ship development. It refers to the use of a new generation of information technology to enable ships to autonomously perceive the internal and external environment, acquire data autonomously, process and analyze data autonomously, and realize intelligent navigation, intelligent operation and maintenance of ships and intelligent transportation, etc. Intelligent ships are a long-term task of high-end production capacity construction in the shipbuilding industry, and are characterized by safety, reliability, energy conservation, environmental protection, and economic efficiency. In order to promote the development of intelligent ships, it is urgent to make breakthroughs in intelligent ship equipment manufacturing technology, intelligent ship energy efficiency management technology, intelligent design technology, and digital driving technologies such as unmanned ship systems, automatic monitoring of ship engine rooms, and integrated management of electromechanical equipment, and strive to develop large cruise ships. , high-end marine products such as super ecological ships and polar transport ships, and realize agile shipbuilding by digital and intelligent means, shorten the development cycle of ships, improve the quality of research and development, and improve the overall efficiency of the shipbuilding industry.
      Collaborative R&D. As a typical discrete manufacturing industry, the shipbuilding industry has many components involved in product R&D and design, many departments involved in R&D, and many application links of product R&D data. Therefore, there are common problems such as low R&D efficiency, high design rework rate and full life cycle breakpoints of digital products. bottleneck. Based on the 3D design simulation model data, ship design and manufacturing enterprises should improve the efficiency of collaborative research and development, open up the whole life cycle chain of products, and gradually establish a parallel, collaborative and integrated ship digital design work environment. The first is to improve the integration of digital design, simulation and manufacturing. On the basis of the initially established 3D design software, my country’s ship design software research and development enterprises should strengthen the integration of simulation coverage in all fields, so as to help manufacturing enterprises to realize the comprehensive guidance of 3D process data in production and realize 3D model. A picture is used to the end. The second is to open up the network collaborative research and development, and shape the digital network design industry plan of the shipbuilding industry. Break the geographical isolation between design enterprises and realize real-time transmission and editing collaboration of design data in the cloud. The third is to improve parallel design capabilities, break the industrial chain division between design institutes and manufacturing enterprises, and realize rapid response design and product optimization and update based on manufacturing reality.
Smart production. The shipbuilding industry is a typical discrete manufacturing industry. In the production process, there are many problems such as a large number of non-standard parts, spread throughout the entire production process, large physical size differences, complex supply chain environment, complex items, harsh operating environment, and changing plans. It has become a problem. The constraints of digital transformation in the shipping industry. The digitization of the production process of the shipbuilding industry is based on the knowledge of the shipbuilding process, with digital modeling and simulation as the sign, and digital technology empowers the internal processes of ship product design, procurement, production, testing, etc., as well as the process of supply chain integration. Taking the digitization of the production process as the core, promote the integration of digital technology and the shipbuilding process, apply the new generation of information technology to the whole process of ship production, and promote the data collection, transparent scheduling and control of various processes and links such as production, safety, quality and efficiency and analysis system construction, promote the digital transformation of the manufacturing mode of marine products, accurately analyze the production and management data, optimize the resource allocation of the marine industry, reconstruct the competitive advantage, comprehensively use the digital twin technology, build a smart factory, and realize the digital, intelligent, and efficient production process. Transparent, networked and refined management, and comprehensively improve the digitization of the design and manufacture of the entire industrial chain of the shipbuilding industry and the digitization of the production environment.
Smart management. All shipbuilding enterprises in my country have basically established and applied information management systems such as finance, manpower, assets, and projects to realize the informatization of business management. The degree of sharing is not high, and it is difficult to provide effective support for operational decision-making. The digitalization of operation and management in the shipbuilding industry refers to the construction of an enterprise-wide management information system based on the modern shipbuilding model, business process modeling and customer needs, combined with information integration technology and advanced manufacturing concepts. The transformation of enterprise digital operation management has improved the intelligence and efficiency of operation decision-making. Unify and standardize the underlying data for the operation and management of shipbuilding enterprises, break through the barriers between financial, human, assets, projects and other systems and data, realize the sharing of enterprise data flow, value flow and business flow, and use data to drive shipbuilding enterprises to provide refined management and value-added services , drive the digital model to be applied to the whole process of design, order, construction, experiment, management and post-delivery service, change from a single product model to a “product + service” model, and continue to explore engineering technology, comprehensive integration, and marine information network construction , scientific and technological consulting and other service models, to achieve enterprise intelligent decision-making and business model innovation.

03 How to change: the key work of implementing the digital transformation of the shipbuilding industry

Develop a corporate digital strategy and clarify the direction of corporate transformation. Ship enterprises of various types and scales should formulate and improve transformation strategies in line with their own development based on their advantageous fields and government policy guidelines, so as to achieve differentiated and characteristic development in the north-south regions and shipbuilding and offshore enterprises. Companies represented by CSIC should focus on innovative R&D and manufacturing of deep-sea equipment, special ships and supporting products by digital means. Southern coastal shipping companies should actively connect with the innovative resources of central shipbuilding enterprises, and vigorously develop high-end ships such as ocean-going fishing vessels, refrigerated transportation and processing vessels, luxury yachts and large cruise ships. Small and medium-sized shipbuilding enterprises should seize the opportunity of digital transformation to complete the “destocking” of marine equipment and digital R&D and manufacturing to improve quality and efficiency.
Based on the main business, clarify the focus of enterprise transformation. Ship enterprises in the design, final assembly, manufacturing and shipping maintenance categories should clarify the focus of their digital transformation based on business division. First, scientific research institutes and ship design enterprises should take the lead in popularizing digital R&D tools, lay a good foundation for the digitalization of paperless shipbuilding at the front end of the industrial chain, and become the vanguard of the digital transformation of the traction ship industry. Second, large-scale final assembly shipbuilding enterprises should focus on the digitization of production and manufacturing, promote segmented construction of digital workshops and general assembly collaborative manufacturing, and improve capacity utilization, so that my country’s shipbuilding completion index “both in quantity and quality”. The third is that large central shipbuilding enterprises, ship maintenance enterprises and port terminal enterprises should focus on cultivating digital management capabilities. Large central enterprises should follow the digital transformation requirements of competent authorities, consolidate the foundation of digital management, and actively promote the integration of multiple systems. Ship repair companies should build the capability of ship full life cycle operation and maintenance, and actively use digital means to add value to services.
Consolidate the digital foundation and accumulate enterprise transformation capabilities. The innovation and development of the shipbuilding industry should establish a solid, reliable and independent industrial foundation, and the digital transformation should focus on the research and development of design tools to consolidate the digital basic capabilities. From the supply side, master the core technology of R&D and design industrial software. Tool software R&D companies must fully master key technologies such as 3D geometric kernels, core analysis solvers and optimization algorithms, and give priority to pilot applications and customized development in the shipbuilding industry. Ship software companies should strengthen technical exchanges and business cooperation with general-purpose software companies with independent core technologies. From the application side, increase the domestic proportion of digital R&D tools in the industry. State-owned shipbuilding enterprises and leading enterprises are the main fronts for technological innovation applications that lead the application requirements and software-based knowledge of the shipbuilding industry. Leading shipbuilding enterprises not only have high-end talents and capital advantages, but also have intangible knowledge assets such as design parameters and dosage processes. They need to optimize research and development tools suitable for the actual needs of my country’s industry through long-term application iteration. Small and medium-sized industrial enterprises are the pioneering force for the in-depth application and continuous optimization of the “first batch and first edition” industrial software, thereby improving the digital design capabilities of the entire industry.
Bring together diverse innovative entities and increase the construction of transformation ecology. It is necessary to extensively pool the resources of the main body of innovation, and form an innovation system and mechanism construction based on enterprises, scientific research, and regional differences. First, leading shipbuilding enterprises should play a leading role in accelerating the digital transformation and upgrading of the entire industry chain. Large-scale advanced shipyards should build pilot shipyards for digital transformation, explore digital cases in the shipping industry chain, and dispel transformation concerns for small and medium-sized shipyards. The second is that the shipbuilding industry should join forces with scientific research institutes, educational institutions and supporting enterprises to jointly carry out digital transformation, give full play to the advantages of scientific research elements of all parties involved in production, education and research, and tackle key technical shortcomings. Third, industry associations should promote the in-depth integration of production, education and research, promote the docking of innovative entities and resources, actively hold seminars and exhibitions on the digital transformation of ships, and at the same time cooperate with leading enterprises to accelerate the formulation of industry digital standards.

The author of this article | Xu Yaqian, Institute of Information Technology and Software Industry

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