The journal

Digitization in the boating industry
Daniele Bruno

The yachting world has always been looking for innovations and high technology, to be offered as an accessory to both boats and related services. People who buy a boat want to live a new experience. Friends, family, anyone who lives on the boat wants to have fun, experiment and enjoy themselves. Many actions that have become part of everyday practice, in our cars or in our homes, have been innovations on boats. GPS navigation, domotic control of lights and on-board systems as well as the sound system.

Among the great world trends, at the moment, digitization represents the sector in which most innovations are presented and in which investments and media attention are being concentrated. MICAD has been deepening the issue for several years, studying and developing solutions with the collaboration of institutions and research centres and some of the most important nautical brands. Extremely important has been the experience carried out during the project CANTIERE 4.0 that has involved, among others, the shipyard Monte Carlo Yachts, in the testing of solutions for virtual prototyping and production management.

In recent years, we have understood that the companies in the nautical supply chain, traditionally linked to artisan-type production, require the ability to exploit digital technologies to streamline and speed up the executive design of modern boats. In recent years, boats have rapidly become a complex and multi-functional technology concentrate. As far as companies are concerned, the demand for innovation detected in recent years is aimed at increasing the ability of these to combine the strong customization of their products, a typical requirement of the luxury yachting and work boats sector, with the need to contain investments related to the limited quantity of pieces produced. In MICAD we believe that this goal can be achieved only by pushing the digitization of design and production, working on the integration of commercial and sales departments with those of design and production.

On this approach MICAD has inaugurated a section of the team dedicated to software development, with the aim of creating a platform that would act as a collector and manager of digital information to support design and production.

The technological focus identified and on which the company has decided to invest are, on the one hand, virtual prototyping and, more generally, the digital twin and, on the other, high-performance computing.

The virtual prototype will be useful during design as well as in sales, virtual experimentation exploiting high performance computing (multiphysical simulations and predictive analysis, machine learning and AI) will be useful to reduce experimentation on physical mockups, reducing costs and realization times to the advantage of rapid market access.

The digital twin, achievable only from a complete and detailed virtual prototype, will be useful to monitor product behavior over time, providing manufacturers with the ability to perform predictive maintenance and remote support. This will improve the perception of product quality throughout its lifecycle, expanding the range of services that the manufacturer itself or third-party companies can provide.

The great effort that MICAD is carrying out in these years is to create a single collector of all the information that these processes generate for the customer. The data collected take different paths and must be treated differently. Some data must be archived directly, others previously analysed and only then archived, while for others it is essential that immediately after their analysis, they are eliminated to ensure the privacy of individuals and ship owners.

To meet this need, MICAD has developed a project data management platform (EasyPro), completely modular, through which shipyards, designers and more generally all operators in the supply chain can interact by developing calculations, scantling according to the rules, etc.

A great technological effort that MICAD has made and that will soon be presented on these screens. Stay tuned!

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