Study examines approval process for 3D modelling in ship construction

Classification society ClassNK, its software house subsidiary NAPA, and shipbuilder Japan Marine United (JMU) have announced the completion of a joint feasibility study on the suitability of 3D model-based plan approval (3D MBA) processes for 3D CAD models, in contrast to the 2D drawings more commonly used in current vessel construction projects. 

As the industry transitions from 2D drawings to using models in 3D CAD software, classification societies, whose plan approvals are currently based mostly on 2D drawings, will need to develop processes and procedures to handle those 3D CAD models throughout the approval process.

The joint feasibility study was designed to examine the technical developments required at each stage of plan approval to make 3D MBA a reality.

The project saw ClassNK conduct a trial evaluation of a hull structural design on a 3D CAD model for a 300,000 DWT ore carrier. The model was designed and created by JMU, using NAPA Designer – a 3D CAD software application for ship design – as the 3D model viewer.  

“3D model-based approval is an essential part of naval architecture’s future,” said Tapio Hulkkonen, NAPA Design Solutions Director, Product Management.

“By continuing to rely on 2D drawings the sector wastes hundreds of thousands of manhours each year, as well as increasing the likelihood of avoidable errors in their designs. Ships are three dimensional objects, and we need to be able to assess them in every plane. This study demonstrates that the technology is ready to go.” 

“3D model-based approval also opens the door to greater use of digital twins for safety and optimisation, where real-world data can be compared against a virtual model of a ship, and vice versa, to identify problems and validate performance data.”

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Rob O'Dwyer

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