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Fast Data Transfer for fast Vessels

By Nils Sonnenberg

OpenPDM supports AUSTAL Shipyard’s PLM Integration - AUSTAL, Australia`s global shipbuilder and one of the world’s leading shipyards for naval and commercial high-speed vessels, is currently undertaking a modernization of their IT-landscape. After jointly developing AUSTAL’s PLM strategy and roadmap in 2020, AUSTAL and PROSTEP continue their collaboration and launched a new project in June 2021 to develop AUSTAL’s future digital enterprise platform based on PROSTEP’s OpenPDM.

In order to achieve seamless information flow between AUSTAL´s enterprise data management systems including PDM/PLM, ERP, DWH, and PPS, AUSTAL and PROSTEP jointly launched an integration project in June 2021. AUSTAL's digital transformation already includes the implementation of a new ERP system and has just started the improvement of existing PDM capabilities. Therefore, the call for traceable and robust connection of the various databases as part of AUSTAL’s digitalization activities was just a consequent next step to consider.

The Australian shipbuilding experts were looking for a suitable solution providing data federation across company borders, IT systems and domains while supporting transaction, security, and status monitoring according to their needs. The OpenPDM platform together with its marine & offshore specific spin-off OpenPDM SHIP addresses these requirements and provides built-in PLM semantics optimized for shipyard processes on top. For AUSTAL it is crucial to have a scalable and robust integration solution that can be operated and maintained by their own IT department. Therefore, they decided to start building their digital enterprise platform based on OpenPDM.

Following the principle “think big, start small, scale fast” the first step on the way to AUSTAL’s future digital enterprise platform is the implementation of use cases addressing data exchange between design and resource management. 

This approach has several advantages for AUSTAL. The new capabilities can be used productively right away, robustness of processes is ensured and by involving AUSTAL´s IT experts in an early stage, they will get trained to run, maintain and enhance the integration platform afterwards.

As an example, purchase parts currently stored in a legacy system will be transferred to the new ERP system. During the transfer from the legacy system into ERP, the purchase parts get augmented with meta-information from an inhouse developed data warehouse system. Successfully transferred to the ERP system, the enriched part data will be used by several downstream processes including material requisition and procurement or internal disposition as stock parts.

To specify the future development stages in according to the shipyard needs, PROSTEP will drive the implementation in close collaboration with AUSTAL during the whole project. After the successful integration of the PDM and ERP systems, the implementation of drawing transfer, product-structure transfer or operating cutting work orders are in scope. Further on, the integration of additional systems is envisaged. From enterprise planning to payroll systems various solutions are in focus to be integrated into AUSTAL´s new digital enterprise platform.

Andrew Malcolm, Chief Digital Officer (CDO) at AUSTAL said: “With OpenPDM we found the integration solution that meets our requirements today and enables us to scale as we go and adopt to future needs as they arise. In this way we are prepared for the challenges to come, enabling AUSTAL to successfully master the digital transformation.”

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