News & Events

Feedback from Joint Dissemination Event 30-31 May 2023 in Rotterdam

This major dissemination event, jointly organised by the sister projects FIBRE4YARDS, Mari4_YARD and RESURGAM on the 30th and 31st of May 2023 in Rotterdam, offered two days of full immersion into the Industry 4.0 technologies developed within the three projects and with the support of the European Commission to strengthen the competitiveness of European shipyards.

Support from the European Commission

The opening speeches by Gabriel Mialocq (CINEA – European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency) and Christophe Tytgat (SEA Europe) underlined the importance of the sector for the European Union (EU). Both shared their views on new challenges that Europe is facing in the marine sector and on development opportunities for European shipyards.

Gabriel Mialocq provided some significant numbers and a direction for the shipbuilding, repair and retrofitting sector in Europe:

  • Horizon 2020: in total 417 projects on Transport Research and Innovation.
  • Waterborne funded 60 projects, a total of 980 beneficiaries, 382 million EUR, 19% of which on shipbuilding.
  • Horizon Europe until now: 31 projects, 440 beneficiaries.
  • At the strategic level, waterborne was recognised by the EC as an area crucial for competitiveness and decarbonisation and thus an increased budget has been allocated for these projects.

The objective is to preserve competitiveness and reinforce shipbuilding sector. Greening/climate change and digitalisation are drivers of Horizon Europe. Shipyards are often essential partners in high TRL projects to implement innovative solutions, either retrofit or new built.

"The European maritime industry is facing both a competitive (price differences between 30-40% on average) and resilience challenge (dependence on few niche markets makes the sector vulnerable and less resilient)" said Christophe Tytgat. "What we really need, on top of R&D support, is to create a true global-level playing field, reinforce Europe’s maritime industrial capacity and supply chain and promote Europe’s technological sovereignty". FIBRE4YARDS, Mari4YARD and RESURGAM propose solutions that address these needs.

Presentation of the FIBRE4YARDS technologies

FIBRE4YARDS coordinator Xavier Martinez from the Barcelona-based research institute CIMNE - International Centre for Numerical Methods in Engineering during his presentation.

As an introduction to the technologies developed under FIBRE4YARDS, project coordinator Xavier Martinez presented the project objectives:

  • Introduce smart and secure engineering, manufacturing and data-sharing concepts in ship production;
  • Embed advanced and highly automated FRP production technologies in the Shipyard 4.0 while applying these technologies in ship production, maintenance and dismantling;
  • Develop and validate new digitalised engineering and analysis simulation solutions to support modular ship design and construction in the Shipyard 4.0 concept;
  • Facilitate industrial deployment of the FRP Shipyard 4.0 by providing guidelines for design, production, certification and staff training;
  • Develop business plans and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) strategies for shipyards.

"Current manufacturing methods are semi-artisanal and lead to waste of raw materials and low quality control. FIBRE4YARDS proposes new and very different technologies (out-of-die UV pultrusion, hot stamping of TP-FRP, adaptive moulds and ATP and 3D printing). What they have in common is that they focus on the idea of modular shipbuilding and higher productivity (lower costs and high manufacturing capacity), better quality control of vessels (certified product) and greener vessels (reduction of ship weight)", this is how Iván Sáenz (Irurena Group) summarised the FIBRE4YARDS presentations from Rúben Pereira (INEGI driving science & innovation), Tahira Ahmed (Curve Works) and Joep Grapperhaus (10XL).

Iván Sáenz (Irurena Group).

Tahira Ahmed (Curve Works).

Daniel di Capua (CIMNE).

Central question:Will new technologies be enough to boost the shipyard industry?

The direct exchange between industry experts, researchers and end-users at this Joint Dissemination Event was further stimulated by the interesting viewpoints of the keynote speakers Elena Carrasco (Navantia SA) and Hugues Moreau (Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore) on the digital transformation that is taking the maritime industry to "another dimension".

Hugues Moreau (Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore).

"The 3D Classification project uses a web-based collaborative platform to make the design approval and classification process easier and smoother" said Hugues Moreau, Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore.

The central question of the discussion was: Will the new technologies be enough to boost the shipyard industry? The answer from the three project consortia was unanimous: “It is not only the new technologies but also the new ways to work together”, emphasised Arnold de Bruijn (NMT – Netherlands Maritime Technology, partner in the Mari4_YARD project) that hosted the event at RDM Innovation Dock. The keywords for a successful strategy for the European Shipbuilding Industry are:

  • Sustainability: “We all have to be environmental engineers, on top of everything, if we want to develop sustainable solutions” (Xavier Martinez, coordinator of FIBRE4YARDS).
  • Cost effectiveness: “FIBRE4YARDS aims at technologies with a high TRL, thus business models can be developed during the project implementation. The biggest problem is the market acceptance rather than the cost itself.” SaraVarão Fernandes, coordinator of RESURGAM, stated: “Changing the mindsets is the most difficult part, more than cost-effectiveness and competitiveness”.
  • Reskilling and focus on human-machine interaction: “Navantia is currently preparing a reskilling and training program to adapt to the Industry 4.0 environment. Our operators are participating in the definition and development of the human-machine interfaces.”, was Elena Carrasco’s reply to questions referring to the skills and training that shop-floor workers need to have.

The FIBRE4YARDS partnership would like to thank all attendees, presenters, keynote speakers, representatives from the European Commission, sister projects and especially NMT as the hosting organisation for making this Joint Dissemination Event a success.

Please note that all the presentations from the event are available here.