Ships produced by shipyards in the Far East,
where production is rapid and standardised, have traditionally been
cheaper than those produced in Western countries. One advantage
for European shipbuilders is their ability to offer greater flexibility
in tailoring ships' characteristics to customers' specific requirements.
Indeed, pre-design flexibility has become more and more important
as the complexity of ships has increased. But the preparation of
a clear and detailed offer, crucial to contract negotiations, is
a poorly integrated process, fraught with uncertainty and estimation.
The ARGOSHIP project was aimed at developing
software for rationalising the important process of pre-contractual
design. The new system guides the operator from the customers' specifications
through to the final technical preparation of the offer, allowing
rapid formulation of alternative designs and reducing the manpower
and time required for the preparation of an offer. Project partners
included four of Europe's largest shipyards.
The ARGOSHIP system has been adopted by
the Italian Navy and project partners say it can be adapted to other