ABS, RAL, Signet partnering on 3D-designed tugboat

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(HOUSTON) — The first commercial U.S. vessel designed, built and verified using an end-to-end 3D design process is now under construction in a pioneering project by the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), Robert Allan Ltd. (RAL), Signet Maritime Corp. and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Designed by RAL, the advanced rotortug, which is designed to escort vessels and offshore assets at the Port of Corpus Christi, will receive its certificate of inspection from the Coast Guard and will be built and operated by Signet to ABS class, making it the first commercial vessel in U.S. history to be produced using only 3D models in design and construction for all structures.

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ABS rendering

A purely 3D process reduces costs and time investment, while streamlining interaction between stakeholders throughout the design, verification and construction phases, without compromising safety.

“This landmark achievement sets the bar for future projects both in the U.S. and internationally,” said Christopher Wiernicki, ABS chairman, president and CEO. “Together with our forward-looking partners, we have realized a long-held dream of the industry to leave behind 2D paper plans and move to the next generation of vessel production. ABS is proud to help unlock this capability and to be genuinely leading the industry in this area, once again delivering the advantages of digital classification today. The advantages are significant, and we are confident that once the industry develops the infrastructure to handle 3D models in shipyards, a pure 3D process will become the default approach.”

“As naval architects, we find ourselves developing ship structure in 3D more than ever, even at the basic design stage for new vessels,” said Mike Fitzpatrick, CEO of Robert Allan Ltd. “We believe that delivering 3D models instead of traditional 2D drawings benefits all stakeholders – us as the designer, class societies, clients, shipyards and equipment suppliers. ‘Direct design’ of structure in 3D not only streamlines the transition to production design modeling for the shipyard, but also gives us as naval architects earlier estimates of weights and centers, steel quantities as well as the means to check for structural interferences.

“We are very pleased that ABS has taken the initiative to work with us on a process to review and approve 3D structural models on our project with Signet Maritime Corp. Not only has it become easier to exchange complex structural design information this way, but the time from the basic design stage to the production design stage is shortened, allowing the shipyard to start cutting steel earlier,” Fitzpatrick said.

“The understanding and fidelity of this construction model represents a major milestone in the history of the U.S. maritime industry,” said Timothy McCallum, Signet vice president, engineering and dynamics. “3D design review ensures the designer, engineer, production manager, fitter, welder and surveyor all work from the same complete model. Each individual has access to both the micro (component) and macro (complete assembly) with which they are working to better understand the bracket, frame, or bulkhead as it relates to the module, section and ship. Providing that level of awareness to all participants in the process will give ABS, Robert Allan and Signet a superior finished product and contribute to an overall safer waterway through technological advancement.”

More information about ABS 3D model-based class services is available here.

– American Bureau of Shipping

By Professional Mariner Staff