Configuration Based Design, Standardization and Modularization in Offshore Vessel Design
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- Institutt for marin teknikk 
Recent low oil prices have caused a downturn of activities in several maritime industries, resulting in increased competition and pushing companies to simultaneously increase their position in the market and reduce cost levels to gain a competitive edge. For many companies, it is problematic to maintain a sufficient level of profit, even avoiding bankruptcy, during a downturn of such magnitude as the oil price drop in 2014. Short-term solution includes laying off employees who are deemed excessive. However, this is presumably not a sustainable solution for companies with long term goals. In a tough and competitive market, other solutions are required. The solution space is represented by the solutions which in return increases value robustness, that is, the ability of a system to continue to deliver stakeholder value in the face of changing contexts and needs (Ross and Rhodes, 2008).Utilizing proven concepts and solutions from other industries towards ships and maritime systems can prove to be efficient, and is the solution chosen for further research. The overall goal of this thesis is to investigate the potential benefits, drawbacks and challenges with a configuration based design (CBD) strategy, including standardization and modularization. In addition, the following questions are to be answered: (1) What are the key challenges to why CBD is not a standard in ship design, as it is in industries such as the automotive and computer industry? (2) Why should the ship customer be allowed heavy influence the design and engineering decisions? (3) In the context of the topics covered in this thesis, what is expected from the future of ship design?A case study is constructed as a tool to help achieve the goal of the thesis. It combines the three distinct areas of research in a single, practical case. The case will use a platform supply vessel (PSV) as the study object. The result of the case is a ship configurator, that is, an intuitive interface, through which a designer can configure a ship, based on a set of given customer requirements. Simultaneously, a 3D-model is developed, and is after configuration, exported to AutoCAD for development of a general arrangement.The main findings show that of the three distinct areas, standardization is assessed to be the area with most associated benefits, and examples include shorter design and production lead time and lower cost per unit. Further, modularization is the area with most challenges yet to be overcome, such as mapping of complex system interactions, definition of modules and mapping between form and performance. Lastly, relevant benefits of CBD include rapid response during tendering, designer friendly and a flexible design process, but requires a solid foundation of design and engineering in standardization and/or modularization.Thus, it can be concluded that the chosen solution may act as a value robust solution. However, there are various obstacles along the path towards this solution, which science is yet to overcome.