PROSTEP | Newsletter

PROSTEP provides the MEYER Group's shipyards with support for implementing their multi-CAD strategy

By Matthias Grau

Companies in the shipbuilding and offshore industries often use different CAD systems for design engineering in the steel construction and mechanical engineering sectors and need to then exchange the models between these systems. At the CADMATIC User Meeting in Turku, Finland, PROSTEP and MEYER presented the integration solution between 3DEXPERIENCE (CATIA V6) and CADMATIC, which makes it possible for the two CAD systems to coexist.

The MEYER Group has opted for a multi-CAD strategy as part of an effort to harmonize the heterogeneous IT system landscapes at the various shipyards. In the future, the CAD system CATIA V6 is to be used at all the shipyards to design hulls, interior structures and superstructures, while the CAD marine design system from CADMATIC OY is to be used for infrastructural elements (pipework, ventilation shafts, cabling, etc.) The multi-CAD strategy requires a regular synchronization of the models between the two CAD systems to ensure that the design engineers in the different disciplines can, for example, correctly install the outfitting components and create openings for the pipework in the hull structure.

The fact that CADMATIC is a so-called "intent-driven" CAD system poses a challenge when synchronizing the models. Unlike CATIA V6, it does not store any explicit solid or surface models but only records the way in which the components are created and placed. Mapping the different CAD models requires a very high level of system know-how, which PROSTEP's shipbuilding experts had already demonstrated in an earlier project when they developed  CAD conversion solution for the MEYER shipyards in Papenburg, Germany, and Turku, Finland.

Building on their experience in converting mechanical CAD models into the formats used by special marine design systems, they have now developed an integration solution together with MEYER that enables the automated, bidirectional exchange of model information. 

The CAD models are transferred from one system to the other as interfering edges with connection points and can be used as reference geometry for generating the native CAD models. The CATIA and CADMATIC models are automatically synchronized at regular intervals and, when required, also manually.

As part of the first project phase, which has been successfully completed, PROSTEP also implemented a workflow that makes it possible to request changes to the hull structure in CATIA, such as openings for pipework, directly from CADMATIC. If the CATIA user accepts the proposed change in their PLM system, the corresponding opening is automatically generated in the hull geometry based on the geometry and properties of the pipe. Phase two involves improving the robustness, handling and administrative capabilities of the solution, as well as its multi-project capability.

At the recent CADTMATIC User Meeting in Turku, the project partners explained how the solution works. It is already in productive use in Papenburg and is to be used at the MEYER Group's other shipyards in the future. The solution generated a great deal of interest among CADMATIC users.