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Project Objectives

The IMPROVE project addresses Objective 2, “Advanced Design and Production Techniques”, of the Sustainable Surface Transport Priority as stated in the Sustainable Surface Transport Work Programme.

IMPROVE will concentrate on developing and promoting concepts for one-off, small series and mass customization production environments specific to European surface transport, based on the innovative use of advanced design and manufacturing. The objective will be to achieve improved product quality and performance based on cost effective and environmentally friendly production systems on a life-cycle basis. Target is to increase of 10 to 20% of the shipyard competitiveness. Research will seek to reduce manufacturing costs by 8-15%, production lead-times by 10-15% and found benefit of 5-10% on the maintenance cost related to structure (painting, corrosion, plate replacement induced by fatigue, …).

The main objective of the IMPROVE project is to design 3 different types of next generation vessels by integrating different aspects of ship structural design into one formal framework and applying it. The nature of shipbuilding in Europe is to build small series of very specialized ships (the opposite of the Korean and Chinese shipyards). Thus, the IMPROVE project will address ships which, with their complex structures and design criteria, are at the top of the list for customisation. The IMPROVE consortium has identified the next generation of Large ROPAX ship, Product/chemical carrier and LNG gas carrier as the vessels the most suitable for European yards to focus their energies on. These products are:

(1)   A new generation of LNG gas carrier to enhance the competitiveness of European shipyard like CAT-ALSTOM,
(2)   An innovation concept of large ROPAX for a European ship-owner like GRIMALDI, and finally
(3)   A chemical production carrier/tankers, which are of the first interest for European shipyard as Szczecin New Shipyard (SSN), as this type of tankers is a “niche” for such shipyards.

The operators who buy these ships generally plan to operate them for the majority of the ships life, this means that the maintenance characteristics of the design are very important. For this reason, IMPROVE aims to design for a reduction in operation costs (particularly relating to painting and corrosion). Designing ship structure in such a way as to reduce the problems, for instance, of structural fatigue can help in this cause. Additionally, designing for minimal operational costs can help in increase the structural reliability and reduction of failures thus increasing safety.

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