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Japanese Shipbuilding Industry Wants To Use Advanced Technology To Counter China And South Korea

In the current sluggish new shipbuilding market environment, in order to improve work efficiency and make up for the shortage of manpower, the Japanese shipbuilding industry hopes to increase productivity through digital technologies such as information technology (IT) and virtual reality (VR) systems, and better with China and South Korea. Shipbuilding competition.


       Government funding assistance to develop digital shipbuilding technology

       The appreciation of the yen and the slowdown in economic growth have dealt a heavy blow to the Japanese shipbuilding industry. After the new environmental protection regulations pushed up the new ship orders, the number of orders received by Japanese shipyards dropped sharply this year. Previously, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan introduced the concept of i-shipping to shipyards. The concept is to apply the Internet of Things and big data technology to ship operations and maintenance, and achieve the integration of design, construction, operation and maintenance through timely feedback of information, and comprehensively enhance the competitiveness of products.

       At the beginning of this year, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan launched a financial assistance project to provide the Japanese shipbuilding industry with 350 million yen (about 3.1 million U.S. dollars) in the fiscal year to promote the development of Internet technology and the Internet of Things in the shipbuilding industry. technology.

       The Japanese government hopes to use this project to improve the production efficiency of the Japanese shipbuilding industry by applying digital shipbuilding, bid farewell to the cost competition of the Chinese and Japanese shipbuilding industry, and strive to achieve the market share of 33% by 2025.

       Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism said that in order to achieve the target of 33% market share, the Japanese shipbuilding industry must further strengthen its high productivity level. According to Clarkson's data, at present, Japanese shipbuilding orders account for 23% of the global market.

       The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan plans to adopt this project with the goal of increasing the workload of a worker to 250 GT by 2025, an increase of 50% over 2014, thus again enhancing the competitiveness of Japanese shipbuilding companies.

       Currently, Japanese shipbuilding companies are developing technologies including 3D design-driven artificial intelligence automatic welding technology, laser technology for precision measurement, and application of integrated circuit tags and unmanned aircraft in production management.

       This trend toward automation can also help ship companies overcome the labor shortage and the aging of the workforce. However, the old design problems of some Japanese shipping companies may make them unsuitable for digital construction technology.

       Major shipyards develop VR and AR systems

       It is understood that Japan's Mitsui Shipbuilding is assisting the Japan Ship Technology Research Association to develop a system that analyzes workers' actions. Several cameras installed at the job site will use the color and intensity of the light to grasp what the workers are doing. These results will be combined with sensors generated in workers' smartphones and data generated by communication ranges, welding equipment and RFID tags on other devices to determine the dynamics and location of workers.

       These data analysis results will help shipyards reconfigure their operations and deploy fixtures and industrial equipment, reducing work time by up to 40%, depending on the shipyard. This system will be applied to the welding and polishing procedures when joining steel parts.

       The Japan Ship Technology Research Association will invest 45 million yen (about 448,000 US dollars) in research and development costs, and participate in this project is also the famous village shipbuilding and Sumitomo Heavy Industries. The Japan Ship Technology Research Association consists of 185 groups and companies.

       Tsuneishi Shipbuilding is using virtual reality simulation to upgrade the painting process. Using a large fluorescent screen, 3D glasses and a spray gun, the hull virtual reality picture of the screen projection is painted, and the job is analyzed to determine whether the painting is uniform, and the result and the improvement area are fed back to the worker.

       Tsuneishi Shipbuilding established evaluation criteria related to this new virtual reality system. Tsuneishi Shipbuilding plans to reduce the cost of painting medium-sized bulk carriers. The cost of painting each medium-sized bulk carrier is about 60 million to 70 million yen.

       Fujitsu and other companies are developing augmented reality (AR) systems to support tanker construction. By viewing the pipeline using the camera of a smartphone or tablet, workers can retrieve the location and procedures for the installation of the relevant pipeline, as well as other reporting data. A tanker consists of 7,000 to 20,000 lines, and the new system can reduce the confirmation time of each line from 10 minutes to about one minute, thus improving work efficiency.