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    Background and Introduction

    Shipbuilding is a long and highly complex process, presenting shipyards with multiple challenges including:

    • Multiple hull configurations / multiple vessels under construction simultaneously
    • Limited space greatly impacted by changes in schedules and fabrication plans
    • Labor intensive planning activities
    • Need to reduce operational expenses

    To help shipyards with these challenges we launched Shipyard AI, a multi-user, "web" enabled application (limited by roles and rights) that uses an optimization-based automated capacity planner to create and publish laydown maps and a schedule indicating where items are to be located over time.

    Shipyard AI projects work-center utilization over time and helps identify and eliminate bottlenecks of key resources like labor, cranes, transporters and space across multiple facilities.

    Shipyard AI includes a robust capability to import, validate, interpret and display data from external systems, including: master scheduling systems, ship construction applications, facility data, work order detail, Excel or any legacy data source.

    Shipyard AI's scenario runner provides an extensive "what-If" capability sandbox to experiment with any facility, resource or schedule probabilities in a risk free virtual environment.

    Shipyard AI's output report module provides unlimited multiple-scenario comparisons across any Key Performance Indicator which empowers users to make rapid quantifiable decisions.

    Application Features of Shipyard AI:

    Automated Construction Space Allocation over Time
    Auto lay-down map over time & lift schedule. Saves time and cost associated with manual footprinting

    System reporting data is available to personnel in whatever form is most useful. Centralized access control ensures live access only to information appropriate to each role

    Shop Schedule Optimization
    The shop scheduling "level loading" algorithm seeks to load the shops at full capacity and decrease or eliminate overtime costs to ensure unit construction schedule compliance

    ModernDistributed Architecture

    Schedule Slip Impact and Mitigation

    • Data from integrated systems or analysts provides information to the system when unit construction may be running late
    • The system will alert and visualize schedule slips and their downstream impact
    • Various mitigation options are available to the analyst (in coordination with operations) by:
    • Hand-editing locations and timings, or
    • Allowing system to suggest mitigations

    Crane and Transporter Planning
    Unit locations over time drive crane and transporter planning.

    • List of required unit lifts
    • Visualization of each move
    • Crane and transporter assignment and tracking
    • Supports misc. lifts

    Sandbox "What If" Analysis
    Test capacity for potential future ships | Change facilities | New ship designs

    Ship Construction Data
    Ship construction data includes dependencies, sequencing, resources required and other relevant properties imported directly from other systems or via Excel

    Facility Data

    • Import from CAD and customize in the tool
    • Construction space is marked up within the tool along with relevant construction space properties

    Shipyard AI Out of the Box Capabilities:


    • Integrates disparate data sources into one Enterprise Planning System that provides a single view of production activities
    • Applies rule and constraints-based schedule and process simulation to forecast outcomes and facilitate continuous planning
    • Provides online, on-demand access to capacity planning data, analytic visualizations and reports
    • Provides a "sandbox" for rapid "what-if" analysis to better quantify the impact of "good ideas"
    • Machine learning optimization engine which autonomously explores alternative plans, in search of highest payoff
    • Automatically lays out yard activities for planning horizon used by organization
    • Facilitates planning/scheduling of production at multiple levels
      • Raw material-plates-units-grand blocks
      • Shows collisions and conflicts
      • Allows for capacity and demand analysis in short/medium/long term perspectives
      • Built-in business rules allow for automatic solving of issues
    • Allows for injection of additional demand and analysis of effect on future production efforts

    Measurable Impact on Yard Performance

    Weeks of Effort -> Days

    • Analysis of the capacity related impact of new ships, ship designs, yard changes

    Days of Effort -> Hours

    • Development of alternative plans and their impacts across the yard

    Weekly Activities -> Nearly Instant

    • Capture and communicate schedule and capacity changes
    • Analysis of the impact of schedule and capacity changes


    • Improves automated process of scheduling and assignment of build unit lay-down locations resulting in significant savings
    • Lowers ship to ship fabrication costs
    • Reduces schedule risk
    • Speeds up operational decisions


    • Focus of effort shifted to improving situations not just fire fighting issues
    • Production plans are more stable providing a more predictable environment
    • Helps shipyards meet regulatory requirements
    • Enables planning for repeatable work stations
    • More rapid and agile response to "What-If" requests

    Contact us to learn more

    Use Cases

    Shipyard AI Key Benefits and Capabilities

    A “Single Authoritative Source of Truth” for Shipyard Capacity Planning and Productivity

    Strategic Benefits

    • Perform what if analysis on potential future work loading through the shipyard.
      • Quick turn around
      • Low enough level to determine impact on key shop loading
      • Can be used to develop "best fit" schedules for multiple ship loadings
    • Perform initial shop loading for new ship programs based on unit family preferences
    • Level load footprints and shops and identify preassembly start requirements to support
    • Simulate Long Term Plan Strategies
      • Multiple new hulls/classes within the facility
      • Identify capacity limits and potential for Facilities growth (if required)

    Tactical Benefits

    • Daily capacity planning
    • Scheduling & schedule slip mitigation
    • Track interim product and unit progress to identify potential early or late completions
    • Provide immediate options for alternate foot printing of next units in event of early or late complete of pervious products
    • Optimize use of yard cranes and transporters
    • Online data entry and instant access to key real-time reports from mobile devices

    Shipyard AI Capabilities and Resulting Areas of Improvement

    • Rapid "what-if" scenario generation supports experimentation on facilities, ships, shops, business rules, etc.
    • Optimization for space allocation (lay-down) planning
    • Reduce Rework
    • Provide forward visibility for scheduled or potential overloads to capacity
    • Analyze spatial and personnel resource requirements of multiple possible schedules
    • Propose alternatives to schedules in conflict with constraints (space/time/labor)
    • Identify bottlenecks and problem areas and reduce overall storage of units between stage of construction
    • Automatic, continuous optimization of loading shipyard resources across rapidly changing current, planned and prospective scenarios
    • Editable map and model for future shipyard facility layout options

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    Success Stories

    Irving Shipbuilding - Capacity Planning & Shop Floor Foot-Printing Application

    Irving Shipbuilding recently completed construction on a world class fabrication facility in Halifax.  Housed within a single closed structure, production efforts are no longer effected by the adverse weather the harbor can experience.   Once the building was complete, the next challenge was to obtain a planning system that would allow the yard to realize its full potential.
    Their existing system presented several shortcomings that would not allow the facility to reach its full potential.

    • Large amounts of manual effort were needed to maintain plans and conduct analysis
    • A “single source of truth” did not exist for capacity planning and shop foot-printing
    • System was “Static” and could not facilitate the desired “Dynamic” capabilities
    • Original floorplan and capacity planning used a combination of several tools with each system acting as an “island of information” with no interconnectivity

    Multiple departments depend upon the plans produced by the capacity team and up to date unit flow plans were critical to the Shipyard’s success (storing units outside was simply not an option).  Operations, Production Planning and Business Development depend upon high quality and up to date information.  The existing system could not keep up and would hinder the needed growth of the organization.  

    Click here to read the rest of the Irving story.

    Ingalls Develops Automated Unit Lay-Down “Advisor” with Capacity Planning Tool

    Huntington Ingalls Industries — Ingalls Shipbuilding (Ingalls) identified substantial savings potential in the lay-down placement and assignment process that had been previously utilized for managing asset location throughout the construction process.

    Building four different hull forms in the tight shipyard footprint is a challenge. Ingalls Shipbuilding work instructions define the processes and responsibilities for the proper allocation and optimization of real estate (lay-down spaces) for structural units and assemblies under construction, while providing forward visibility for scheduled or potential overloads to capacity.

    However, the old capacity planning processes were tedious and overly time-consuming. Resulting real estate allocations were seldom optimal and often required substantial rework to resolve space allocation conflicts, as the construction schedules for each hull form jockey for the same production resources.

    The Ingalls team developed an automated process that optimizes unit layout and scheduling, and increases the construction of many units under a covered structure, significantly improving production rates—a plus in the hot southern climate.

    “The new tool has taken a process that historically took 10 weeks to complete and can now finish the scheduling activity in less than an hour. Following project completion and full system implementation, we expect to reduce ‘real estate’ allocation processing time by 30% and place 20 more units ‘under cover’ annually, with an estimated cost savings of over $990K per year.”

    — Courtesy of “The Signal” and

    Click here to read the rest of the Ingalls story

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