U.S. 1st 3D commercial ship under construction

American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), Robert Allan (RAL), Signet Maritime Corporation and the United States Coast Guard (USCG) have developed a commercial vessel using an end-to-end 3D design process.

Courtesy of Robert Allan

The vessel, which the companies claim is the U.S.-first, will receive its certificate of inspection from the USCG and will be built and operated by Signet to ABS Class.

As disclosed, the companies have developed the project using only 3D models in design and construction for all structures.

“This landmark achievement sets the bar for future projects both in the U.S. and internationally. Together with our forward-looking partners, we have realized a long-held dream of the industry to leave behind 2D paper plans and move to the next generation of vessel production,” said Christopher J. Wiernicki, ABS Chairman, President and CEO. 

He added that the advantages of this kind of project are numerous and believes that “once the industry develops the infrastructure to handle 3D models in shipyards, a pure 3D process will become the default approach.”

According to the companies, the vessel will feature advanced rotortug (ART) designation, jointly developed by RAL and Rotortug (KST) BV to enhance the performance for ship-handling, terminal support and escort towing.

“3D design review ensures the designer, engineer, production manager, fitter, welder, and surveyor all work from the same complete model. Each individual has access to both the micro (component) and macro (complete assembly) with which they are working to better understand the bracket, frame, or bulkhead as it relates to the module, section, and ship,” Timothy S. McCallum, Signet Vice President, Engineering and Dynamics concluded.

“Not only has it become easier to exchange complex structural design information this way, but the time from the basic design stage to the production design stage is shortened, allowing the shipyard to start cutting steel earlier,” said Mike Fitzpatrick, CEO of Robert Allan.

In April 2020, ABS completed a pilot project that used 3D digital models for class surveys, thus becoming the “industry-first” to support any shipyard or designer that wants to submit a 3D model for class approval.

In February 2021, ABS, together with Sembcorp Marine, 3D Metalforge and ConocoPhillips Polar Tankers Inc. fabricated, tested, and installed functional 3D printed parts onboard the oil tanker Polar Endeavour.

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