Case Study

Bringing some of the biggest and best large vessel engines to market

STX Heavy Industries

3D simulation capabilities of NX enable optimal assembly and packing of large-bore diesel engines at shipyards

Specializing in large-vessel engines and equipment

STX Heavy Industries was founded in 2004 with a mission of generating customer value through the world’s best technology and services. Among a diverse range of industrial offerings, the company specializes in large-sized diesel engine and shipbuilding equipment. From the start, the company had aggressive sales goals. “Business is good,” says Shon Chang-Kyu, deputy manager of the Engine Designing Team at STX Heavy Industries. “We grew rapidly, with one trillion South Korean won or 863 million US dollars in sales within four years after the launch of our company.”

With engine, wire-rod and water treatment businesses as well as cement, environmental, power, steel and chemical plants, STX Heavy Industries is a very successful manufacturer of large-bore diesel vessel engines (equivalent to four million horsepower), ship blocks of 150-tons and deck houses (the superstructures on the upper decks of ships). “Our company is well recognized for the technology and value we provide across our product line,” says Chang-Kyu. “This is particularly evident in the large-sized engine installations we do, including LNG carriers, which are tank ships designed to transport liquefied natural gas, and large-sized container ships.”

The challenges of assembling large structures

The company’s products are designed in accordance with specific customer requirements. Among the various types of equipment that STX Heavy Industries produces, the large-sized container engine presents distinct challenges in the assembly process due to the large number of components required. As a result, significant trial and error can occur when executing the assembly process after design. For example, the 13,000 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) container ship is a vessel that can load 13,000 containers. (Capacity is measured in twenty-foot equivalent units or TEUs, the number of standard 20- foot containers a ship can carry, although today most containers measure 40 feet in length.) Powering a ship that can carry 13,000 full containers requires a big engine, approximately 24 meters (m) long, 11m wide and 14.5m high. Considering this magnitude, if the assembly order is incorrectly applied, a lot of time and labor will be lost in re-assembly, and consequently, the schedule will be delayed, which can be costly.

The company’s Technological Research Center of the Engine Designing Department provides an assembly line to address the physical assembly of engines and any associated issues. However, most issues are identified and corrected digitally today using a 3D virtual assembly process.

STX Heavy Industries optimizes its design and assembly operations process using product lifecycle management (PLM) technology – NX™ software – from Siemens PLM Software.

Ramping up fast

The first engine STX Heavy Industries designed using NX – the MAN B&W 12K98MC-C7 – was for a13,000 TEU container ship. It is the biggest vessel engine manufactured by STX Heavy Industries.

In February, 2009, STX Heavy Industries generated a video of the engine assembly sequence using NX virtual model data. Specifically, the work process video was created using the modeling, assembly and assembly sequence visualization modules of NX. For visualization, 70 percent of the NX data and 30 percent of the 2D CADAM data (prior system) were used.

In assembling such a large engine, the common problem experienced by many companies is weight. Unless the sequence of assembling the components is optimized, significant time is lost in rework. Moreover, any moderate error can cause significant disruption in the engine assembly process, and likely a great deal of time and money lost.

STX Heavy Industries has virtually eliminated any such disruption by using NX. The sequencing of the virtual assembly process can be executed in the same way as the on-the-spot physical assembly process. The virtual assembly of such a large number of components is made possible through the use of the JT™ data format, which notably reduces file size. As part of its new, highly efficient virtual process, the company upgraded its hardware and operating system to 64-bit technology, which accommodates greater memory requirements.

Significantly improving productivity

STX Heavy Industries completed the design of the 12K98MC-C7 engine as well as simulated its assembly before delivering it to its sister division, STX Offshore & Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. “The engine is the company’s biggest in terms of size and power, as well as its fastest, with an average speed of 25.2 knots,” says Chang-Kyu. “In fact, it is the fastest engine in the world compared to other engines in the same class.”

“While the design of the engine is critical to its success, its delivery and setup are key to the integrity of our relationship with customers, and important to our profitability,” says Chang-Kyu. “I am happy to report that the engine was assembled smoothly and quickly on site.”

According to Chang-Kyu , visualization is key: “The advanced assembly simulation capabilities of NX are helping us significantly improve productivity and ensure that schedules are met. By finding and correcting errors, interferences and other issues during the design process, unexpected problems are avoided downstream. It is especially important that the assembly order be verified virtually so that the same assembly order is properly executed for the on-site assembly. Prior to NX, the company experienced costly setbacks in this area.”

Chang-Kyu concludes, “STX Heavy Industries is recognized for technological excellence and market competitiveness, and with NX, we have gained a significant advantage in advancing these attributes with our customers. Specifically, NX enables us to visually simulate the process for the assembly of our large-sized engines and secure the packing scheme for the delivery of these engines to the shipyard. By securing the assembly order virtually, we have eliminated the on-the-spot burden of physical assembly testing. And we have bolstered our credibility with our customers.” He adds, “As a result of using Siemens PLM Software’s solution, we significantly enhanced our validation process, resulting in a 20 to 30 percent improvement in our work efficiency.”

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