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BLOG: Ship up or ship out

Wilson Lai | Oct. 25, 2013
How the shipbuilding industry can build a robust, scalable and interoperable network infrastructure to manage big data, while decreasing costs and improving productivity.

Shipbuilding is one of the oldest, most open and highly competitive industries in the world. Even with modern methods of transport, such as jumbo jets and bullet trains, ships are still a much-depended-upon means of transportation; be it for cargo, passengers or warfare. In Singapore, the marine industry has seen significant growth over the last 40 years, evolving from a small regional ship repair and building centre, into a world-class industry serving an international clientele, with a total turnover of more than S$15 billion in 2012[1]. In 2011 alone, a total of 8,235 vessels were repaired and 88 new vessels were launched[2].

Technology supports every aspect of the shipbuilding industry including engineering, design and life cycle management. Whatever the type of vessel, one challenge remains the same, dealing with the amount of data consistently pouring in the fabrication of a vessel.

The question is how the shipbuilding industry can build a robust, scalable and interoperable network infrastructure to manage big data, while decreasing costs and improving productivity.

Better, Faster, Stronger

Due to the nature of shipbuilding, the automation of routine tasks and pre-configuration of equipment characteristics bring multiple benefits. Today's modern marine centres are typically equipped with computer-integrated systems to optimise the efficiency of ship designing and production. For example, seamlessly interfacing ship designing with the actual production reduces human error and labour costs, resulting in quicker time-to-design schedules.

When it comes to materials planning, shipbuilding professionals can improve productivity and maximise efficiency by ensuring there is workflow management functionality to support all stages of the shipbuilding process - from concept to procurement. In order to stay competitive, shipyards need to be adaptable and have a fresh approach when it comes to information management. This helps in the efficient execution of its shipbuilding plans. To achieve this, shipyards need to be able to facilitate optimisation throughout the design, production and even the product lifecycle.

Feeling the heat

All of these demands put extreme pressure on the network. To handle the strain, the network needs to be intelligent and flexible. Having great storage and servers is important, but without a high-performing network to transact the data, it is impossible for shipyards to handle multiple terabytes of data moving across a virtualised server and storage environment. Additionally, without a network that has low latency and high reliability, shipbuilding professionals will not be able to maximise uptime. As customers expect vessels to be built faster and better, the network must be open-standard-compliant to enable the adoption of the latest technologies, while managing to evolve concurrently with the business.

The flexible, unbreakable network

 

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