Weight management during the production of one-of-a-kind highly equipped special purpose ships (IGF-No. 14349 BR)

Responsible research centre: Rostock University (Prof. Wanner)

Time period: 01.07.2005 - 31.12.2007

Final report: CMT 11/2008

Project summary:

In the following abstract an integral approach to weight management in the value creation process of shipbuilding will be presented. Such an integral approach, which has been used in German shipbuilding only in special projects so far, means the monitoring of the weight and centre of gravity of components, sections and the product “ship” as a whole from the early draft to the proof of the ship’s essential characteristics in a capsizing test. A guideline for the general procedure for weight management in shipbuilding has not been published yet. What is more, the measurement technology currently used in the weight monitoring process is inadequately precise. This lack of precision applies especially to measurement instruments used to prevent the danger of capsizing as a result of an imbalanced weight distribution.

In the first step of the project the current methods and chronological order of the process of the theoretical weight calculation have been analysed. The focus of this analysis has been on the early phase of first offers and designs. Furthermore, calculation procedures for special-purpose ships as well as trading ships have been examined in the course of this project. In addition n overview and assessment of the currently used measuring methods and instruments have been included. The data for this assessment have been won with the help of an especially designed questionnaire which was given to various companies.  The first analysis has yielded a number of theoretical insights into the various practical causes for measuring mistakes. These insights in turn have been used for a detailed practical examination of the measuring accuracy currently achieved on an exemplarily chosen shipyard. In the course of this examination the procedure and criteria for evaluation of a FMEA have been applied in order to assess the significance of individual mistakes for the process of weight measurement as a whole.

In the course of this project this initial phase of analysis has provided the basis for the following phase of conceptual work. In this phase the analytical findings have been used to improve the presently applied methods and technology in order to achieve an optimized process for the calculation of weight and weight distribution. Furthermore, an (information- and measurement-based) concept for the assessment and management of individual weights has been worked out. Last but not least a measurement concept has been established which allows the measuring of heavy weights at any time during the construction process. The essential asset of this system for the measuring of heavy loads is its capability to project both the mass and the centre of gravity of the yet unfinished vessel/construction.

In the final phase of the project the before described concept for the measuring of weight and centre of gravity has been successfully realised in a prototypical manner. The basis for this prototypical/experimental realisation has been a requirements specification which had been established in cooperation with the involved shipyards. The concepts yielded by the project have been discussed with the shipyards and as a result of the project the structure of a handbook has been created which can be seen as a guideline for the weight management in shipbuilding. This handbook is based on the structure of a handbook of ISO 9000.


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