Marine Industry in Crisis: Traditional Designs Methods Fail to Deliver Performance Improvements
Marine Industry Turns to Simulation to Meet 21st Century Challenges
Marine transport is the main method for carrying goods around the world, yet that industry has never before encountered the combined effect of the two major challenges it faces today: unprecedented population growth and stringent regulations designed to tackle climate change. Based on projected population size, the demand for trade capacity, which is currently just over nine billion tons, is expected to increase to 12.5 billion tons by 2020 and 19 billion by 2030. At the same time, a seemingly never-ending stream of new regulations will be coming into force over the next five years, particularly targeting the environmental footprint of ships.
The marine industry is thus left with the mighty task of producing more than ever (more ships, bigger capacity) while at the same time significantly reducing the environmental impact (reduce emissions, increase efficiency). Traditional “design-test-build” methodologies, in which vessel hulls are designed using simplified potential flow simulation tools and tested using scaled physical models in a towing tank, are not responsive or accurate enough to deliver the performance improvements required to meet long-term environmental objectives. These methods also fail to predict accurately how a vessel will behave under real-world operating conditions, such as self-propelled maneuvers in rough seas.
The “freedom to innovate”
The solution is the fast and widespread adoption of simulation technologies, such as computational fluid dynamics (CFD), finite element analysis (FEA) and multidisciplinary design exploration (MDX), to drive performance improvement.
Combined with the estimating hull performance (EHP) interface designed for traditional naval architects, STAR-CCM+ offers the same freedom to innovate that has been exploited for years by those working in other transport sectors, namely:
- Designers are not constrained by the need to scale up model solutions
- There is the freedom to test novel concepts to meet or exceed regulation targets (MDX)
- Ideas and solutions can be tested in actual operating conditions
- The same approach can be applied to preliminary design and detailed design optimization
- The same approach can be used at the system and component level
- Easy setup of process automation through integrated simulation environment and JAVA scripting
With tight regulations forcing the transition, the advent of sophisticated simulation and optimization technologies (such as HEEDS), and the availability of ever-increasing computing power, the only remaining obstacle is the traditional design approach still deeply rooted in the marine industry thinking process.
Better designs, faster
In the words of Dr Richard Korpus from the American Bureau of Shipping: “For more than 100 years designers have built ships using the evolutionary approach – one small improvement per design generation. Within the last few years CFD has provided a groundbreaking technology to enable the revolutionary approach – true optimization for every design generation”. With the incredible capacity of STAR-CCM+ to automate simulation processes and make them as effective as modern technology will allow, marine designers are finally empowered to create novel and efficient design solutions that keep pace with fast-evolving markets.