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Process integration of structural design promoted by 3D model based approval

by Takayoshi Masui, Deputy Managing Director, NAPA Japan

The history of ship design approval is two dimensional, the future of ship design approval is three dimensional. Although this verdict has been announced every year for the last decade, it doesn’t make it any less true today.

You can still find one or two people who are nostalgic for the days when the exchange between the shipyard, the classification society, and the shipowner was an entirely paper-based process. But as a species, they’re close to extinct.

In large part, this transition has been led by classification societies and shipowners. Their requests for 3D models of their ships have forced shipbuilders to adapt the ways in which they work and integrate 3D ship models into their design process.

In theory, this should be a simple request. However, in practice, it has posed major challenges for shipbuilders. At present it is not simple to create a 3D model for approval processes, and to build such a model during a traditional design process requires substantial amounts of supplementary work.

One company, Japan Marine United Corporation (JMU), is a good example of what can be achieved. It has substantially increased the efficiency of its design process by using a 3D-CAD system to create structural models. So far these have included creating the drawing, generating data for rule calculations, and preparing the model for direct strength calculations.

Nevertheless, there are still improvements that can be made to further streamline the design process. For example, the issue of duplicating work still exists due to a lack of synchronization across areas of the software for design tasks.

Alongside Y. Shimakawa and Y. Miura at Japan Marine United Corporation and T. Hayashi and M. Sakagami at ClassNK, I have worked on a proposal that we believe can cost-efficiently overcome these challenges and achieve 3D model-based approval for structural design with its prototype functions.

Trial of 3D model based approval using NAPA Designer

Trial of 3D model based approval using NAPA Designer

If you would like to learn more about how you can achieve this for your business, we will be speaking at the International Conference on Computer Applications in Shipbuilding (ICCAS) on 26 September at the Postillion Convention Centre in Rotterdam.

Or, if you can’t make it to The Netherlands, please contact me on LinkedIn or at


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