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Digital transformation of naval vessels: a classification society perspective

Warship Technology: January 2020Classifcation

Current maintenance practices for many assets are based on preventive recommendations driven by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). These are mostly determined based upon testing during manufacturing and have time-based preventive maintenance schedules. This means equipment is operated until the scheduled maintenance intervals and then replaced in case of failure.

 

Digitalisation has the potential to transform the shipping industry, but the effects will also be disruptive. Managing this transition calls for a combination of technical and operational measures and a deep understanding of how digital business affects a function like classification.

 

The world’s navies, like the merchant fleet, are moving from a schedule-based inspection programme to one of condition-based monitoring in order to improve availability, increase reliability and minimise survey impact.

 

The next stage will see the use of ‘digital twins’ that are the virtual representation of a physical asset, including its associated processes, systems and information. As the actual physical asset undergoes changes throughout its life due to degradation or other processes, the digital twin is continuously updated using the data collected.

 

Combining this collected data with analysis models, a digital twin can be used to diagnose properties that may not have been directly measured, simulate the asset’s response to various prescribed scenarios, or predict future conditions and failure, based on forecasted operations and the asset’s specific integrity management plan.

 

ABS believes that digital transformation will facilitate the move from scheduled, reactive asset inspection to condition-based maintenance and ultimately to condition-based class.

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