Problem and Solution
The maritime sector has a long tradition of designing boats. Even now, boat design is often based on experience, assumptions and know-how. The boat architect is often seen as an artist, an inventor, and, finally, an engineer. Feedback from captains and boat-owners is usually anecdotal, without real data as the foundation for engineering decisions. Boats have sensors, but, usually, the resulting data are neither collected nor transmitted to the boat manufacturer.
Simulation, in this sector, is still seen as difficult and available only for the design of racing boats or for large boat manufactures. With limited data to define the scenario, the setup of a simulation is often difficult requiring the development of an appropriate simulation model. Furthermore, the computational power required for such simulations is often beyond the capabilities of the SMEs who design and produce boats. For designers, the process of gathering feedback from simulations is still considered too long and expensive to be really helpful within the design process. The next step in boat design requires an integrated approach where both data from usage, data from prototypes tests and from simulations are used to design hulls and structures.
Hydrolift is a boat designer and Holonix is an Italian SME which supports industry by enabling innovation. This Case Study addresses the simulation of flow around a boat hull under different sea conditions and of the behaviour of structures such as the captain's chair. This will be done by analysing both real sea and customer usage data. This Case Study will evaluate for Hydrolift the use of Cloud-based-HPC to speed up fluid and structural simulations in the design of boats and provide a boat-design service. This service from Holonix will give boat manufacturers a competitive advantage through shorter development times and improved boat design.
How did I4MS help?
The I4MS initiative, and in particular the Fortissimo Project, has enabled the right mix of domain expertise (Inventas, Sintef and Biba), ISV (Holonix) and end users (Hydrolift and Inventas) to have access to cloud-based, HPC resources (located at CINECA). The participants were able to evaluate the benefits of pay-per-use HPC resources for the generation of high-quality simulations of boats.
I4MS has helped the boat designers Hydrolift and Inventas by creating the opportunity to use HPC in the design of a boat bringing together computing resources, domain expertise and appropriate simulation software. This combination enables Holonix to provide a Cloud-based boat-design service to small-boat designers and producers.
A company such as Hydrolift, which is an SME operating in the boat-building sector, will typically design one boat per year. Such a company will save between 100 and 200 k€ in design costs per annum through the use of HPC, because fewer prototypes and less testing are required. For a typical turnover of 8M € this represents an overall saving of around 2%. Additionally, there will be a further saving of around 10k€ per year due to a shortening of the design cycle by 30% A company such as Inventas designs between 3 and 10 boats per year representing a substantial potential saving in the region of 45K€ per year via a pay-per-use service. This service will enable Inventas and Hydrolift to develop faster and more fuel-efficient boats better addressing market demand.
Through the use of HPC-based simulation a medium sized shipyard with a turnover of 15-20M€ and producing 300 small boats will see a saving of 3 to 5K € per boat representing an overall annual saving of 900K€, around 4% of turnover.
Due to improved brand perception through its improved design process, a company such as Hydrolift anticipates an increase in sales of around 2.5% corresponding 200K€ out of a turnover of around 8M€.
Finally, it should be noted that the costs of the necessary computing resources for advanced boat design to a company such as Hydrolift would be around 130K€ per annum for an in-house solution, but only 30K€ for a Cloud-based solution. This is a new market for provider of compute resources with an estimated annual revenue for CINECA of about 100K€.