A4 Construction Design Office: Ship design and modernization with NX CAD

Siemens PLM Software solutions help improve quality, accelerate ship development

Faster, better ship design

A4 Construction Design Office develops shipbuilding and ship maintenance proj-ects including new ship design, ship retrofitting, conversion and reclassifica-tion. The company has secured significant competitive advantage through its advanced computer-aided design tech-nologies. Three-dimensional modeling for ship development offers complete project visibility, helps evaluate design options at early development stages, and provides accurate information to customers. The A4 Construction Design Office team is confi-dent that the way to success is comprehen-sive research and development (R&D), evaluating many design options, knowledgeof the market and related disciplines, and a forward-thinking, future-proof approach.

Choosing a CAD solution

The existing inland fleet is aging fast: the ships are getting technically inferior and obsolete. A ship hull, seaborne machinery, and electrical equipment upgrades extend the service life. Using 3D ship design helps A4 Construction Design Office to clearly identify possible risks and helps avoid them in early stages. Although 3D modeling is not a mandatory requirement of the Russian River Register, А4 Construction Design Office has made a decision to visualize every project. For a few years A4 Construction Design Office used dedicated shipbuilding computer-aided design (CAD) tools. However, the existing technology was insufficient for 3D visualization and subse-quent design modifications. The company needed a more powerful and innovative solution for design and engineering analy-sis. It also had to be integrated with other CAD systems for seamless and lossless data exchange.

The A4 Construction Design Office team analyzed the CAD system market and noted that NX™ software from Siemens PLM Software included a full-scale computer-aided engineering (CAE) solu-tion. The NX CAE system can solve strength, thermal, fluid dynamics, multi-physics, optimization and other problems. It also manages simulation and design data.During the pilot project, designers vali-dated that NX CAD could produce high-quality models suitable for subse-quent simulation; for example, with a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) appli-cation. Having assessed the pilot project results, the system’s usability and exten-sive functionality, the company made a decision to purchase licenses of NX CAD. “The Siemens PLM Software experts promptly set up the user interface, arranged several training sessions, and provided highly competent support,” notes Alexander Andreev, director general, A4 Construction Design Office.

A useful tool

Any standard ship modernization task can be solved in many different ways. The common workflow includes drawing development, ship stability analysis, and subsequent tests to verify that the anti-vibration, structural strength and other requirements are met. This task can be solved differently by incorporating all the verification steps into the process of prod-uct development.Such an approach to ship design identifies and eliminates errors at early stages, and streamlines project approval by the shop floor team and the customer. “We are an intermediary agent,” says Andreev. “Successful partnership between the customer and the manufacturing facility depends on the quality and clarity of the project that we develop, and on meeting the deadlines.”An important benefit of NX CAD for A4 Construction Design Office is its assembly handling capabilities. The advanced Parasolid® software graphics kernel used in NX CAD can visualize large assemblies consisting of many files. The system can generate cross-sections on the fly and makes all the necessary data available to the engineers. NX CAD also efficiently generates drawings, visualizes large assemblies, takes a fragment of the prod-uct and forwards it to the next development stage; for example, to simu-lation software to evaluate product performance such as strength.

With NX CAD, A4 Construction Design Office can develop products if a hull lines plan is available as a paper document only. Using NX, the engineers build a 3D model of the ship and its framing based on hull lines imported from other software. NX CAD supports strength analysis, simulation of moving parts and hull load transfer paths. The company also uses the sheet metal and freeform modeling tools.The 3D visualization tools of NX have become an integral part of the develop-ment process. They clearly show how the new product will appear. The resulting images can be viewed on any computer (the Windows® operating system is supported), so that customers can view 3D models of their new ships.

The extensive NX CAD functionality helps solve tasks faster; A4 Construction Design Office has significantly reduced design time and improved project quality. “Now we deliver not only 2D drawings, but also a virtual 3D ship model to our customers, so they can view it on any computer – no extra software is required,” Andreev ex-plains. “It is a solid competitive advantage, since we can verify the project against the customer requirements and expectations as early as at the visualization step.