(a) High End IT Solutions. It includes state of the art designsoftware tools for preparation and sharing of designs, 3D digital virtualreality technology for simulating walk through of fully populated compartmentsand ship, Product Lifecycle Management Solutions (PLMS), Data Base ManagementSystem, ERP packages etc. The availability of IT solutions would improve theproduction efficiency many folds1.
(b) Modular ConstructionTechnology. Incorporationof modular construction technology in shipbuilding reduces build period andalso the overall cost of the project. In modular construction method2, large movable sectionsare constructed individually and then welded together. This method requiresgreater accuracy in the manufacture of the units, but at the same time, reducesconstruction time by a factor of almost 10. This technology has been successfullyused by Royal Danish Navy in Flyvefisken Class, US Navy in Littoral Combat Ship(LCS), Australian shipbuilding industry, Fincantieri,Italy; Damen shipyard, Netherlands; MEKO Frigates by Germany etc.
Indianwarship building has been severely affected by capacity constraints and theneed of the hour, therefore, is to break the capacity barriers, conventionalmethods of ship construction, and adopt the modern techniques like the modular designand construction technology. (c) AutomationTechnology. Automated NC profile cutting machines, robotic profilers androbotic welding reduces the amount of time and manpower for production. Roboticsystems are a part of modern shipbuilding and can carry out welding, blasting,heavy lifting and other tasks3. (d) Sharing of Construction Load/ Outsourcing by Shipyards.
Warships can be assembled at one shipyardfrom modules built at multiple shipyards at different locations. Assigningmodules to shipyards can lower the costs of an overall program and overcomeexisting capacity constraints in the primary yards and ensure timely delivery. Modularconstruction technology is often used while sharing of construction load. Theconstruction of INS Deepak, the fleet tanker was undertaken at two differentlocations and assembled at the prime shipyard. Further, large sections ofVirginia class submarines4 are built by Electric Boatand Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Newport, with the two shipyards alternatingfinal assembly and test in US.
The UK’s new aircraft carrier, the QueenElizabeth class has been built at multiple shipyards, with final assembly atRosyth. France used modular shipbuilding on its Mistral class landing platformhelicopter amphibious ships; the first two ships of the class were built in twohalves at different shipyards and brought together. These countries have usedthis strategy to offset constrained defence budgets and share production of asingle ship to sustain multiple shipyards, reducing costs and overcome capacityconstraints.
(e) Design and Production Technology. 3Dmodelling solutions provide comprehensive work sharing capabilities, designautomation tools, and customisable design rules that can create competitiveadvantages. It can be used to periodically review and identify necessarychanges during the design phase itself, when modifications are easier to makeand more economical to implement. 3D modelling is used in design activitiesrelated to plates, profiles, piping, equipment, outfitting structures,Habitability Ventilation Air Conditioning (HVAC) ducting and hangars andsupports among many others. Another technology that is used is the virtual shipbuilding concept which simulates and optimises the entire shipbuilding lifecycle process in a virtual environment from initial development stage to launch. (f) Lean Technology.
The productcycle time, cost competitiveness and quality can be improved by eliminatingwaste in the manufacturing process through continuous improvement by theworkforce. This is the purpose of lean manufacturing. CHAPTER III MODULARDESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION TECHNOLOGY “Changeis a nature of life, but challenge is an aim of life.Soalways challenge the changes, not change the challenges” SwamiVivekananda 1. Indian shipbuilding Industry has beensurviving on its labour intensive conventional shipbuilding methods and notadopted the modern shipbuilding techniques. The various problems faced by the Indiandefence shipyards along with methods to overcome these problems have beenbrought out in chapter II.
To develop the requisite force levels of IN, it is necessary and prudent toestablish a build philosophy which is technologically advanced, economical tobuild and easy to maintain and support through its life. The leading shipyardsin the world have improved their efficiency and productivity throughimplementation of Modular construction technology. The Indian Maritime Security Strategy – 2015also highlights that – “Efforts towards modularity will also be perused, withencouragement to Indian shipyards to develop and expand their capacities formodular construction and repairs.
These will cater for upgrades, addresstechnological obsolescence issues, and reduce replacement time, towards operationaland financial benefits”.5 It is therefore essentialto replace the conventional methods of ship construction with Modularshipbuilding technology. ModularShipbuilding Technology 2. Modular design and construction is anarchitecture where functional subsystems are physically localised in a well-definedarea and installed on a dedicated structure.
All interfaces of these elementsare very well defined with minimum interdependencies with overall system6. In modular construction,the design is completely modular. By breaking down complex structures to definedbuilding blocks, the engineer is able to manage large and complex systems in astructured way. The combination of individual blocks or modules makes the endproduct. Unlike standard construction,where most of the design, engineering and construction activities are performedin sequential order, activities for modular construction involve additionalinterdependency, since activities can be performed in parallel in variousfabrication shops and / or at various construction sites. The use of modular construction technology in warship building ismore beneficial due to complexities involved, interface requirements of variousweapons / electronic equipment and long gestation periods of more than 10 yearsrequired for conventional design and construction of warships.
3. Defence shipyards have been building ships byconstructing the hull and launching in water and thereafter undertakinginstallation of machinery and equipment in highly cramped spaces. A very smallpercentage of outfitting is carried out before launching and majority ofoutfitting works are performed after vessel launching.
Pipe spools, ventilationducts, foundations, cable traces, etc. are fabricated in shipyard workshops andsent to the outfitting location on large pallets, followed by theirinstallation at the appropriate stage, necessitating an extensive paint touch-up.Modular construction of warships enable mission flexibility and futureupgradability for enhanced service life of the ship; achieve synergies inprocurement, integration, equipment, system testing and parallel ship hullconstruction; and finally would enable reductions in life cycle costs andcostly upgrades. Modular construction coupled with fixed price contracts would furtherreduce the construction periods and cost overruns7. Comparison studiesbetween conventional and modular construction has brought out that maximumsavings are in labour efforts required for outfitting and man hours saving has been noted to be22.8% in a specific case study of modular construction8,9. The level ofmodular construction adopted by Indian defence shipyards presently remainslimited to fabrication of hull portion with very limited outfitting work.