Japanese firms collaborate on digital twin data sharing project

Japanese maritime stakeholders have announced the completion of the early phases of a cross-industry project aimed at creating a secure data-sharing framework between shipyards and shipowners to support the application of digital twins throughout a ship’s lifecycle.

The project aims to allow a vessel’s unique design data to be used to optimise efficiency and safety at sea, as well as the sharing of operational data to inform new designs. Participants included shipowners NYK Group (through its R&D subsidiary MTI), Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) and Marubeni Corporation, as well as shipbuilders Imabari Shipbuilding, Japan Marine United Corporation, and Usuki Shipyard. Software provider NAPA and classification society ClassNK also took part.

The first two phases of the project identified approximately 30 potential use cases where the data and 3D models used to design the ship can be shared to create a vessel-specific digital twin to improve operational efficiency and safety throughout its lifecycle. Further analysis examined the potential for digital twins to support loading calculations, ship condition monitoring and evaluation of energy-saving devices.

The next phase of the project will develop a new platform to enable 3D models created during the design stage to be shared in a secure and access-controlled digital environment, together with new business models to implement this approach in practice within commercial agreements. This phase of the project will be led by ClassNK as an impartial entity to ensure that the platform is neutral.

The project aims to start operation in 2025.

“Digital twins are a key asset for shipping, particularly in the context of the energy transition,” said Yoshimichi Sasaki, General Manager, Digital Transformation Center at ClassNK.

“They offer unparalleled insight into a ship’s unique design profile and characteristics and unlock new opportunities to use this data to optimise operations and maintenance, while also expanding possibilities to deploy innovative technologies on board.”

“This project demonstrates how we can break data silos to foster closer dialogue between shipyards and ship owners at a time of increasing design and operational complexity.”

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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