Contact J.J. Hopman

Smart design tools

Smart design tools are the future

Hans Hopman, Professor of Ship Design

Hans Hopman, Professor of Ship Design, is convinced of this. He believes that Dutch shipbuilders, with their focus on specialised vessels, will be able to maintain their lead in the coming decennia thanks to tools like these.

The ships built in the Netherlands are predominantly so-called 'complex specials'. These include dredging ships, patrol ships and other specialty vessels, such as ships for laying submarine cables, drilling vessels and ships for installing and maintaining offshore wind turbines. The design of these ships requires a different approach to 'normal' ships, because complex ships are large and complex tools rather than a means of transport. That is why you approach the problem from the angle of the functions and tasks required when designing these ships. For example, how do you position the various equipment on the ship to the best possible effect for the users and how can you maximise its deployment?

Virtual laboratory
"Because the ships are becoming more and more complex, it is also more and more difficult to find the right solutions. That's why we are developing all kinds of software for designers. In time we want to create a 'Delft Ship Design Lab', a virtual laboratory in which all our design tools can be combined and where the latest information on the projects of other specialists can also be found. This last point is important, because in the future the design process will become a network activity in which you will need to combine various fields of knowledge."

Saving time
"The attractive thing about design software is that it can be used to generate alternatives quickly, whereby the computer also calculates which effect each alternative will have on factors such as costs and seaworthiness. This leaves the designer more time to think up smart solutions for specific problems and for optimising the design. The time savings also enable you to go into much greater detail in the preliminary design phase, so that the design will be more accurate and the risks will decrease. This in turn leads to more accurate budgeting and therefore you can make a more competitive tender."

Chain optimisation
Hopman continues: "One trend that I foresee for the entire shipbuilding sector is increased attention for the environmental aspects of ships. We will need to develop alternatives for fuel oil, design ships more realistically (thus taking account of most commonly occurring conditions instead of assuming ideal conditions), and work towards chain optimisation. Is a container ship with 11,000 containers a smart design if the road network does not have the capacity to transfer them?"


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