Empowering Change. Empowering Tech.
"In SPx we have an excellent integrated solution in use and the data architecture is simple. All the information is now in one data system which controls fully our part and block production. The project was successful, our goals have been reached and the system has paid itself back."
Integrated software to control part fabrication and block assembly
STX France / Saint-Nazaire
The City of London in Ontario, Canada, operates five wastewater treatment plants (Adelaide, Greenway, Oxford, Petersburg, and Vauxhall). The average daily water flow through all the wastewater treatment plants is approximately 270,000 cubic meters per day. The water flow to the plants comes from gravity sewers or force mains from thirty-six pumping stations. The wastewater treatment plants are located along the Thames River and use settling tanks to remove solids, use bacteria to consume organic material and convert ammonia to nitrates, use chemicals to remove phosphorous, and use ultra-violet light to disinfect.
STX Europe is an international shipbuilding group that aims to be the leading builder of cruise and offshore vessels. The group has a strong position in terms of developing state-of-the-art concepts, technology, processes, and products for customers around the world. STX Europe AS comprises 15 shipyards in Finland, France, Norway, Romania, Brazil, and Vietnam. STX Europe has approx. 16.000 employees. STX Europe’s principal shareholder is the international STX Business Group. Belonging to STX Europe, STX France SA has two shipyards in France, located in Saint-Nazaire and Lorient.
STX France Saint-Nazaire is one of the most well-known shipyards in Europe (formerly known as Chantiers de l’Atlantique), and it has a long tradition in shipbuilding. It has an advanced production system and its main data systems are AVEVA Marine (Tribon) ship design system and the AVEVA MARS ERP system. The yard has also comprehensive software capability and it has developed its own project management system and other in-house software applications. STX France Saint-Nazaire is one of the largest shipyards in Europe and its annual consumption of steel materials is more than 100.000 tons. The biggest projects include cruise ships 320–340 meters in length (hull contains up to 400.000 parts and30.000 assemblies).
NESTIX SHIP is an integrated software solution to control part fabrication and block assembly
CHALLENGES of STX France Saint-Nazaire at the beginning of the NESTIX project
STX France Saint-Nazaire wanted to improve its efficiency in hull production and to increase clearly its block production capacity with the same production system. At the same time, there was a goal to take principles of LEAN production into use in the yard. In the following, several of these developments are presented.
Many data systems were in use in the hull production
The systems were still not able to control satisfactorily the complex part production process and its relation to assembly, ship design, materials, capacity, and logistics.
Support of ship design to production needed improvement
The quality of the ship design required improvement to avoid unnecessary work in the work preparation in the production. Over 10 % of the parts and assemblies were changing during the production process and the changes were challenging to manage in the part fabrication and block production.
Production planning required Development
Scheduling of the block production with the software tools available was not easy due to the complex ship hull structure and complicated production flow.
Material stock control
Day to day material management, planning of the future, and efficient material utilization was challenging due to the limited control and high material stock levels.
Logistics inside shipyard
Tens of thousands of prefabricated parts and assemblies should find their way to the right assemblies and workshops just on time without missing parts. When an assembly started it was not always clear, if all the parts and sub-assemblies were ready or where they were located.
Precise traceability of the production and material was settled as an important goal, as the status of the production, assemblies, and parts with their locations were not known in real-time by any of the data systems.
What kind of solution STX France Saint-Nazaire was looking for?
STX France Saint-Nazaire wanted to have one production-oriented data system, which is able to control the whole part fabrication and block production area. The system should be integrated with the block production-related data systems in the shipyard and its subcontractors. The new system should respond to the challenges STX France Saint-Nazaire was facing in the production.
The project was done in good cooperation between STX France and NESTIX
STX France representatives visited Finland at the shipyards of STX Finland in Turku and Rauma to familiarize themselves with the NESTIX SHIP software in real production use. The NESTIX software project in STX France Saint-Nazaire was initiated soon after the visit.
The project started with a detailed definition of the customer needs, existing production machinery, and systems. In the beginning, NESTIX delivered a test system in order to make it possible for the customer to get a good picture of the software functionalities and to train the key users of the system. After this, the customer’s development needs for the software were identified and realized in very good cooperation between STX France and NESTIX. Finally, after the training, the system was taken into daily production use in October 2009.
Results of the project
Nowadays the NESTIX software is controlling the functions of production from the ship design to completed blocks in STX France Saint-Nazaire. NESTIX is an important part of the shipyard’s LEAN production concept.
“In SPx we have an excellent integrated solution in use and the data architecture is simple. All the information is now in one data system which controls fully our part and block production. The project was successful, our goals have been reached and the system has paid itself back”, according to Mr. Yann Crepeau, IT Manager of the Manufacturing Department, STX France Saint-Nazaire.
In the shipyards of STX Europe, the NESTIX systems are in use at the moment in Finland (3 shipyards), France and Brazil.
How have users accepted the system?
The operators in the workshops and users in the office have accepted the system and are widely satisfied with the functions in it.
“It has been very nice to work with NESTIX as a software vendor and development partner”, says Mr. Yann Crepeau.
“The best-added value of NESTIX is, that we always know exactly on the spot what the status of our production is. If we have any disturbances in production: material delivery is late, problems in the workshop, or need to stop/start a workshop, it is very easy to make the right decisions with the help of NESTIX software.
The work queue planning and scheduling in NESTIX are very useful. Whenever the global block sequence is changed, we have to reschedule our production. With NESTIX it takes only 3 hours for one person to reschedule all the workshops in the shipyard. Earlier it was a full-time job for three people.”
IT Manager, Manufacturing Department,
STX France Saint-Nazaire
“We have more than 10 workshops to manage in STX Saint-Nazaire. Our goal was to share information in one integrated data solution to synchronize material stock, purchase, logistics, planning, cutting, and assembly workshops. Therefore it was necessary for us to reach for the best possible decision and NESTIX , as our choice, has helped us to improve our products in all these areas and to be LEAN.”
Manufacturing Vice President and Site Director,
STX France Saint-Nazaire
RESULTS of the NESTIX project in STX France Saint-Nazaire
Integrated control of whole block production
One data system, NESTIX SHIP, is covering the needs of the part fabrication and block assembly. The production is balanced and synchronized in all the workshops and work phases. The amount of data systems in the hull production has been reduced by 80 %, which is a great benefit in many ways. NESTIX is successfully integrated with AVEVA MARS ERP and project management systems which have their duties out of the part and block production.
Ship design integrated into production
Design interface according to the rules between the ship design and NESTIX has been taken into use thus making it possible for the designer to detect errors in the design information and correct them before transferring into the production. This means improved control in the ship design content reducing the amount of work in the work preparation by 70 %. NESTIX includes the change management features to control the design changes in all the workshops and work phases, which in return reduces work and costly mistakes considerably.
Advanced material management
Advanced material forecasting, reservation, and purchase management in NESTIX have reduced the size of material stock, but the most important factor is that the material is now really in control. Materials are managed both in individual (raw material and remnants) and article levels. Detailed control of the information (orders, geometries, materials, remnants, and production machinery) and integrated nesting of parts have also improved the material utilization.
Improved planning and logistics features
NESTIX estimates the production workload accurately because real geometric information is used to estimate the processing time. Planning and scheduling the machine work queues and applying LEAN pull-based production to get material, parts, and assemblies into the workshop to start the work is now in use. The logistics inside both the shipyard and with subcontractors has improved clearly when the material, parts, and assemblies guided with “home calls” in NESTIX are always available in the next work phase. Only a few parts are lost in production nowadays.
Production follow up in real-time
As a result of the project, the “real-time” production status has been achieved by following up all the important part production and assembly work phases in one system – NESTIX. It has improved the control and traceability of the whole production process considerably. The production history is now traced in every working place, every part can be traced into material individual (charge number) and the location of parts and assemblies on pallets are known in the shipyard area.
NESTIX is controlling all the dependences in the part fabrication and block assembly and is supporting the principles of LEAN production. The efficiency of many workshops has increased. It means a better utilization ratio of machines, improved throughput, and even 40 % more blocks.