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Integrated Collaborative Design and Production of Cruise Vessels, Passenger Ships and RoPax

The project aims at increasing the competitiveness of EU shipbuilders with better integrating tools and methods for the design and manufacturing of complex one-of-a-kind vessels. InterSHIP will enable shipyard engineers to consider leading-edge knowledge in environmental aspects, safety, comfort and cost efficiency in simultaneous engineering, thus making sure that optimum solutions can be obtained for the total life cycle of complex ships.

Tags: Water


Several problems characterise the shipbuilding sector:

The working environment in shipbuilding is not fully integrated as far as the entire process chain is concerned, neither vertically, i.e. among the various shipbuilding actors: shipyards, suppliers, owner, and classification societies, nor horizontally, i.e. in the various phases from early design to the ship delivery.

Although 80% of the building costs of a ship are defined in the first design stages, the tools in the shipyards are not sufficient to estimate the cost reliably and to support the design for ease of production. Also, the tools used for an effective acquisition, storage and exploitation of knowledge under the conditions of short lead time, integration of an extreme high number of products and technologies, and one-of-a-kind production are currently not sufficient.

The increasing size of the passenger ships, together with strict safety requirements for intact and damage stability, requires thinner materials than before, complicating the hull production process (e.g. by additional shrinkages). While modularisation has increased in other industrial sectors, ships are still constructed in a traditional way with much outfitting work done onboard the ship.

Commissioning, procurement and logistics bear considerable potentials, not yet exploited, for a reduction of idle time in the process chain, as well as for reduced capital cost and an efficient exploitation of resources.


The strategic objectives that are addressed by the technical cluster of subprojects are:

  • significantly increasing the competitiveness of European cruise and ferry shipbuilders
  • development of better products, considering the entire life cycle of complex ships
  • drastic reduction of building and development cost as well as time-to-market of innovative solutions.

Description of work

InterSHIP is composed of 26 different subprojects, grouped together in six integrated clusters.

  1. Integrated Collaborative Working Environment: concepts and tools are studied and developed for an enhanced integration among the main partners of the shipbuilding value chain, improving the efficiency and reliability of the document transmission between the actors. ‘Early design methods’ are developed in order to increase the level of information and details, relevant to the product, in the concept design phase.
  2. First Principle Design Methods and Tools: conceptual design methods based on the innovative risk-based approach are studied to identify their feasibility and find out a possible way of implementation. Improved methods and tools identify and quantify the main cost drivers in the first phases of the shipbuilding design.
  3. Knowledge Management and improved Quality Assurance: improved knowledge concepts and tools are developed to acquire, structure, retain and exploit knowledge relevant to the complex vessels building process. ‘Total quality management’ concepts and tools are studied to assure that best practice is used all over the process chain.
  4. Advanced Hull Manufacturing Processes: advanced manufacturing techniques and tools are studied and developed, including concepts and tools to keep the deformation of steel parts under control during processing, the validation and adoption of advanced welding techniques and technologies, as well as the enhanced automation in the fitting and welding operations.
  5. Modularisation and Automation of Pre-outfitting and Outfitting Work: particular focus is given to the study of concepts and modular solutions for the machinery and auxiliary equipment, accommodation and public spaces. The innovative solutions aim to effectively transfer complicated and congested work operations that are at the moment performed on board to the workshop, thus improving efficiency.
  6. Logistics and e-Procurement: the development of a unified e-procurement system aims to improve and simplify the communications, shortening the procurement cycle timing. Improved yard logistics and production planning are studied for a more efficient exploitation of the resources, a reduction of the storage period of components and saving of storage areas and transport means usage. Onboard data transmission is studied in order to effectively reduce the number of cables for low voltage networks deployed onboard.
Horizontal actions cross the six clusters foster themes such as safety, environment, innovation and implementation of the results. The results will be disseminated inside the European shipbuilding community.


The major expected results are:

An integrated collaborative working environment characterised by a new innovative web portal for external collaboration.

A tool for the early design process, suitable for the ship space management.

First principle design methods and tools such as:

  • rules to CAD for quick generation of production information
  • cost-estimation tools for hull production
  • tools for shell plate optimisation
  • simulation tools for space management and production lines
  • concepts for risk-based design of commercial ships.

Knowledge management PDM tools.

Overall accuracy concepts/tools for hull production, including shrinkage management, laser-hybrid welding, and a fully automatic hull parts building area.

Concepts and solutions for increased modularisation in shipbuilding–the ‘Euromodules’.

Application of mobile units and data networks for an improved yard logistics.

Shipbuilding e-trading and e-procurement systems.