Study: Shared automated micro panel line for the Northern Netherlands shipbuilding feasible

Image credit Conoship International

Setting up a fully automated line for the joint production of ship parts by the Northern Netherlands maritime sector for the benefit of Northern shipyards is technically, financially, and organizationally feasible, a study shows.

Conoship International handed over final report shared facility; Image credit: Conoship International

The feasibility study, ‘Shared Facility micro panel line for the Northern Netherlands shipbuilding industry’, was conducted in 2022 by the Northern Dutch maritime sector, the GMB Foundation, FME, and Conoship International. 

Conoship International was the coordinator of the project. Over 50 people from over 30 companies took part in the project, consisting of shipyards and suppliers from the Northern Netherlands maritime sector, as well as experts in the field of automation and digitalization.

The study looked into a fully automated line for the joint production of ship parts up to a maximum of 12 x 3 meters. The study showed that such an automated micro panel line is feasible, provided that the machine concepts, the control system, and the organizational and financing form are developed jointly and step by step and further elaborated.

As a follow-up, the possibility is being investigated to set up a pilot plant or Fieldlab, where, in cooperation between companies and knowledge institutions, new production techniques for shipbuilding can be developed and made ready for production.

In addition, it will be investigated how the knowledge gathered by the parties in this way can be secured in teaching materials and what role the professional training at Stichting MSO, vocational colleges and universities for applied sciences, and the University of Groningen (RUG) can and want to play in this.

On January 16, 2023, the final report of the feasibility study was handed over to the deputy of the Province of Groningen, Mr. Rijzebol, and the chairman of the Groninger Maritime Board (GMB) foundation, Mr. Vuursteen.