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PROSTEP builds digital twin in the ProProS research project

By Carsten Zerbst

The Bremen-headquartered Lürssen shipyard group, the Machine Tool Laboratory (WZL) at RWTH University in Aachen and PROSTEP have launched the ProProS research project. The aim of the project is to create a digital twin for the manufacturing and assembly processes at shipyards and use it for status monitoring and optimizing shipbuilding. The shipbuilders want to minimize delays in the processes.

Lürssen, a family-owned company, expects digitalization to improve transparency in production and reduce throughput times says Dr. Bernhard Urban, Head of Development & Innovation: "The joint research project with PROSTEP and WZL provides the basis for increased digitalization in our manufacturing and assembly processes. We hope that the development program will help us drive the broad-based digitalization processes at our company forward in a targeted manner and thus do justice to the leadership claim regarding performance and quality formulated by the founder of our company, Friedrich Lürssen."

As part of the project, PROSTEP is working together with the WZL's manufacturing experts, who will be responsible for developing the production technology logic, to develop the demonstrator for a digital twin. It maps the planning data from the target process (product structure, work orders, assembly sequences, scheduling, etc.) in an end-to-end data model and compares it in real time with the actual data from production and assembly. 

The first step involves detecting disruptions in the process flow, e.g. caused by a missing or unfinished component, at an early stage based on a unique component ID and assessing their impact on the schedule. But it is also intended that the digital twin perform control tasks and help avoid or minimize delays by simulating alternative production and assembly sequences.

The project, which has an overall budget of 3.2 million euros, will runs until 2022 and is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). The Lürssen shipyard group, which specializes in building yachts and naval vessels, is the project coordinator.

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