Press release – May 22, 2023

CONTACT researches new technologies for Europe's shipbuilding industry

Eight partners from five countries share the goal of strengthening European shipyards in global competition. Based on CONTACT Elements, they will develop a platform that digitizes shipbuilding end-to-end and makes it more efficient. The EU is funding the research project through its Horizon Europe innovation program.

In the Smart European Shipbuilding project (SEUS), shipyards, software companies, and universities are bundling their expertise to raise shipbuilding in Europe to a new efficiency level. Their ambitious goal is to reduce development and assembly times by 30 and 20 percent through a collaboration platform. "To achieve this, we are developing an Industry 5.0 concept that considers all core tasks in shipbuilding right through to service," says Dr. Elisabeth Brandenburg from CONTACT Research.

The SEUS consortium will integrate shipbuilding-specific development tools, AI, and novel knowledge management techniques into CONTACT Elements, and leverage the platform's PLM and project management modules. This will create a comprehensive and user-oriented application environment that securely provides all product data, controls the development process, and documents it so that it can be tracked internally and externally at any time.

The economic benefits of such an industry platform are obvious: engineering, simulation, and software teams can collaborate closely from the early stages, include manufacturing-related and sustainability requirements in their design decisions, and bring new ships to market faster and at a lower cost.

"The digitalization of the entire product creation process also makes it possible to deploy our IoT applications," says CONTACT's project manager, Dr. Brandenburg. "This would allow staff to use the ships' operational data for predictive maintenance or product improvements, for example." Two shipyards with different profiles – the Norwegian Ulstein Group and the Spanish Astilleros Gondan SA – are contributing their know-how to the project and will test the practicality of the new platform and its solutions.

The SEUS project will run for four years and is supported with around 7 million euros by Horizon Europe, the EU's flagship program for research and innovation. The consortium leader is the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). The Finnish company Cadmatic, a leading software provider of shipbuilding solutions and OEM partner of CONTACT, is responsible for the technical management. Other project members are SARC BV with its CAE expertise, the NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences (both from the Netherlands), and the University of Turku in Finland.

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Barbara Scholvin
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