The ship structure keeps the water on the outside.  This includes everything from foundations to distribute the weight of large equipment up to designing the entire ship hull. 

But what makes for a good ship structure.  Generally, this involves three things:

  1. Minimize structural weight. Less weight equals less fuel consumption.
  2. Control engineering costs. DMS employs a range of automation techniques to reduce the labor costs.  We match our tools to the level of optimization needed.
  3. Keep sensible structure. The design needs to be easy to produce and limit the range of materials a shipyard needs to buy. 

Engineering Workflow - Phased Structure

DMS typically structures our work into four phases of design.  Each phase requires more effort (and budget) but produces greater detail and extracts greater performance from the design.  This converts into flexibility for you.  You decide how far to take the design.  Only pay for the effort you need.

Phase 1:  Mission Study

The mission study is where we achieve the greatest business benefit.  Many people believe that the key to business success is to produce the highest quality ship.  But the real success derives the correct operating conditions for the ship to prosper in your business model.  In the marathon to develop a ship design, the starting point is crucially important.

During the mission study, DMS interrogates your business goals and adjusts them based on limits of current technology and physics.  We then investigate variations to produce a set of concrete engineering objectives that achieve your goals.  End result:  more efficient engineering due to clear objectives, and a profitable ship because we started from a point of success.

Phase 2:  Concept Design

The concept design is the rough design for a working solution to the mission requirements.  Ship design requires an iterative process:  start with an educated guess and then refine that guess.  The concept design focuses on speed over accuracy.  This allows multiple iterations and refinements.  We focus on the major details and use simplified analysis. 

  • Weight and powering requirements are the main concern
  • Create a basic arrangement for the ship
  • Ensure adequate vessel stability
  • Design aesthetics are a primary focus. Make the ship look good.

The final output from a concept design is not ready for production.  It still requires a contract design (Phase 3) to ensure accurate engineering.  But the concept design greatly reduces project risks.  It ensures a feasible solution exists before we invest extensive engineering to prove that solution.

Phase 3:  Contract Design

The contract design produces the final product in full description.  We have checked all major details and eliminated all major risks.  But the contract design does not provide step by step instructions for how to build the design.  It only shows the finished product.

  • Equipment: we specify the requirements but do not research exact vendors and models to achieve those requirements.
  • Structures: we show the finished structure, but don’t show welding details, assembly steps, fabrication jigs, etc.
  • Naval architecture: we check all major hydrodynamics, but do not correct for final ship weight after construction.
  • Drawings: we show the finished product, but do not include every detailed assembly for that product.
  • Project management: We create a technical specification, but do not interface with shipyards for competing bids, change order management, etc.

A shipyard can take a contract design and use their own in-house design team to create the final construction design (phase 4).

Phase 4:  Construction Design

The construction design provides detailed step by step instructions for how to build the design.  DMS can supply construction drawings directly to fabricators with no additional engineering or design required. 

  • Equipment: we specify the exact make and model of equipment to purchase, with specific quantities.
  • Structures: We show welding details, step-by-step assemblies, exact material orders, etc.
  • Naval architecture: We perform final testing on the ship to calculate exact weight and center of gravity.
  • Drawings: Anticipate dozens of drawings, showing each stage of fabrication.  Final design includes as-built drawings, showing all modifications during construction.
  • Project management: We review shipyard bids, manage production schedules, coordinate with various vendors, regulatory approvals.

After construction design, there is nothing left to do but physically build the ship or perform the modifications.