EU unveils data-driven plan to make shipbuilding faster and cheaper

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The EU-funded Smart European Shipbuilding (SEUS) project launched this month, aiming to improve the shipbuilding process via computational tools.

The launch arrives as the maritime industry’s increasingly embraces digitization and automation, facilitated by rapid advancements in data science and software development.

SEUS is backed by a consortium of eight organizations from five European countries, representing different technologies and parts of the design and shipbuilding industry: computational tools development, industrially applied research, and end-users (i.e. shipyards).

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These partners will work together to create a framework for data-driven shipbuilding. According to the project’s description, this will be realized through the development of a new integrated platform that incorporates “early and detailed ship design solutions,” “data management,” and “collaboration software.”

Specifically, the platform will build novel practices for human-centric knowledge management, data-driven AI design elements, intelligent technology, and an Industry 5.0 concept for shipbuilding. It will also reinforce the growth of a European workforce that is highly skilled in the integration and deployment of these new technologies.

The project’s ambition is to cut down engineering time by up to 30% percent reduction as well as achieve an up to 20% reduction in the time needed for assembly and construction at EU shipyards. If it succeeds, it’s expected to not only accelerate shipbuilding’s digital transformation, but also provide shipbuilders in the Union with a strong competitive advantage through cost- and time-savings in the design and production stages.

Finland’s Cadmatic, Contact Software in Germany, and Netherlands-based Sarc BV will be contributing to the technological expertise. Ulstein Group in Norway and Astilleros Gondan in Spain are the two joining shipyards. And three research institutes, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Turku University in Finland, and NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences in The Netherlands, represent the academic partners.

SEUS is being funded by Horizon Europe, the EU’s flagship research and innovation program. The Union is providing approximately €7 million for its implementation.