Case Study

Yachts for the rich and famous

De Voogt Naval Architects

An NX-based design process ensures the quality that wealthy customers expect, yet also helps the shipbuilder grow by speeding its design process

Luxury yachts for the wealthy

With a staff of one hundred people, the firm, De Voogt Naval Architects, specializes in designing and engineering top-of-the-line luxury motor yachts for the very rich. Founded in 1913, De Voogt is part of the Feadship (First Export Association of Dutch Shipbuilders) consortium. With more than one thousand employees, Feadship is the world leader in the field of custom-built luxury motor yachts up to a length of 100 meters (328 feet). These yachts are mainly delivered to customers in America, Europe and the Middle East.

De Voogt Naval Architects is comprised of three departments: Studio de Voogt, Theoretical Shipbuilding, and Engineering. Studio de Voogt is in charge of sales and design concepts tailored to customers’ requirements, which also includes the initial interior design studies. Most of its work is carried out in the form of physical models. The Theoretical Shipbuilding department converts the designs into digital models and performs hydro-dynamic and hydrostatic calculations to ascertain whether the designs meet the requirements stipulated by the customer. The Engineering department deals with the development of the ship construction, the interior, as well as the mechanical and shipbuilding facilities.

Customer-driven designs

“Our customers’ wishes are sacred,” explains Pieter Schouten, ICT manager at De Voogt Naval Architects. “The fact that we can fulfill those wishes is our competitive edge.” The perfection required by the customer begins at the earliest stage of the design process, which includes a “general arrangement” or layout of the ship as well as of the hull design. In the past, much of this work was done in 2D. “This took an excessive amount of time at both the engineering and construction stages, and had negative effects on lead times and construction quality,” says Schouten.

“The accuracy of the 2D model was not optimum, yet nevertheless this was the basis for the quality of the complete product,” he continues. “If we were to continue to grow, we could not allow this situation to persist. We had to drastically increase our productivity.” In searching for 3D design software, the firm was looking for the ability to create realistic, integrated digital models of its yachts. The NX™ digital product development solution from Siemens PLM Software met this requirement perfectly.

Since installing NX, De Voogt has established a 3D design process that begins as soon as the customer approves the layout. “When we acquired NX, we were targeting a considerable reduction in the number of design hours necessary to produce a hull design,” Schouten explains. “With the previous 2D process, hull design took approximately 2,200 hours. Using NX, this time has been cut by almost half. In this sense alone, NX has proven to be a profitable investment.”

Once the hull shape has been determined, the Engineering department uses NX to further develop the hull (the framing) as well as the decks. “In NX, the general arrangement is converted into the actual product definition,” Schouten says. The firm plans to design the piping with NX in the near future. “We are targeting an integrated digital model in NX that includes all mechanical and construction aspects of the ship, which we can manage with Teamcenter.” De Voogt has begun using the Teamcenter® digital lifecycle management solution from Siemens to improve data availability and better manage changes.

More effective collaboration

“When the Teamcenter deployment is complete, eight members of our staff will be working with NX and Teamcenter – four of them on the hull shape and the other four developing the construction,” Schouten says. Other companies within the Feadship consortium also use NX, including Akerboom, a subsidiary of Koninklijke De Vries Scheepsbouw. Akerboom has access to De Voogt’s Teamcenter database to ensure that everyone works with up-to-date data at all times. “Teamcenter works as a systems integrator,” Schouten adds. “It gives us a better idea of who has carried out which activities. Another major advantage is that unauthorized modifications no longer occur. Everyone has the same data instead of local copies.”

The quality of the design information has improved to such an extent that fewer problems arise during production. “Since a ship model – with its hull shape, frames, decks and machinery – is developed in 3D in NX, conflicts are immediately visible in the design stage and can be resolved early,” Schouten says. “And the design accuracy of a tenth of a millimeter is directly applied during production.” Schouten not only espouses the current benefits of NX and Teamcenter, but notes, “We believe that there is room to apply the Siemens solutions more extensively to increase productivity even further.”

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