Perspectives on 3D Design

July 9, 2021

by Dmitry Kapiturov, P. Eng.

Recently, while doing a presentation about 3D Workboat Design – Present and Future for the regular Lunch and Learn sessions I could not help but realize just how much we already use 3D modelling in our design workflow. Any disciplines you look at we are already doing something in a 3D environment: vessel geometry and computation fluid dynamic, stability and weight estimation, structural design and finite element analysis, system arrangement, production design, and rendered models for marketing.

Furthermore, designing a vessel is a very complex task. We cannot design systems and not think about structure, we cannot work on stability and not think about tank arrangements that will affect vessel structure. Take weights for example; everyone knows the importance of estimating the weight of the vessel in the design process, especially for escort tugboats with harsh escort stability requirements or river push boats with draft limitations. Hull shape, tank arrangement, stability all depend on vessel weight and centre of gravity. Structural weight also plays a big role in helping shipyards to quote for the vessel construction.

However, steelweight is also one of the most difficult portions to estimate in smaller vessels with constantly changing sections and many elements subject to externally applied loads. Structural weight is easily 45% to 55% of the lightship of a typical tug design and getting it right is very, very important. Several years ago, with the emerging technologies and 3D design tools, we did the next step in improving our structural weight estimation by doing it in a 3D environment for weight sensitive and novel projects. Not only that but through this 3D structural model, it can be used to run finite element analysis for critical structural components.

We can extract from a 3D model and supply shipyards a very precise material list so they could order structural material while we are still in the basic design stage. Our system designers can use this 3D model to place silencers, exhaust pipes, and HVAC systems checking if there is enough space and no interferences and then provide timely feedback to structural designers. Designing a vessel is complex task and 3D modelling has become a very integral part in helping us to continue to produce award winning designs.