Digital shipbuilding is all about connectivity – not just within the physical and digital shipyard, but also with our supply chain and Customer. An enduring sovereign industrial capability that supports Australia’s continuous naval shipbuilding strategy for future generations requires a connected ship design, a connected shipyard, a connected worker, a connected ship and a connected fleet.
This is a significant step-change to shipbuilding programs of the past, and will deliver a highly skilled workforce equipped to use Industry 4.0 technologies to support activities that will be undertaken at the Osborne Naval Shipyard – one of the most technologically advanced shipyards in the world.
Pilot Line Zero: Factory of the Future
Pilot Line Zero: Factory of the Future is a collaborative venture embedded within the Tonsley Innovation District, in Adelaide’s south, which allows us to solve real-world shipyard problems in a safe and intelligent environment.
In collaboration with Flinders University, we are partnering with a range of companies to test advanced manufacturing technologies for potential deployment in support of the Hunter Class Frigate Program.
Our collaboration with researchers, academics and small and medium enterprises is creating a first-of-its-kind digital environment that is supporting the development of new manufacturing techniques, technologies and methods to improve productivity, quality and safety outcomes at Osborne.
Developing and testing digital solutions in a controlled environment removes risk during the construction phase and ultimately leads to improved outcomes, efficiency and effective design and build of the Hunter class frigates.
The initiative represents a significant step forward for the Hunter supply chain to demonstrate and test – in a controlled environment – the technological value and progress that can be made over the life of the program.
Diploma of Digital Technologies
A prominent feature of our digital shipbuilding strategy is Australia's first digital shipbuilding course, the Diploma of Digital Technologies. The curriculum is the result of collaboration between BAE Systems, Flinders University, the Commonwealth Government and the Government of South Australia.
The Diploma equips employees with digital skills for modern shipbuilding, combining theoretical approaches to Industry 4.0 technology with hands-on skills, changing the course of their career and building advanced manufacturing capability in the process.
In 2020, 51 former shipbuilders from the Air Warfare Destroyer Program completed the course and successfully transitioned to the Hunter program, where they are now applying their newly-developed skills. A second cohort is completing the course in 2021.
Diploma of Digital Technologies first cohort
The first cohort of the Diploma of Digital Technologies
Upskilling in advanced technologies
First day on the Hunter Class Frigate Program after completing the Diploma
The Visualisation Suite
The state-of-the-art Visualisation Suite (or vis suite) at Osborne is a critical tool in the digital shipyard.
The state-of-the-art LCD wall at Osborne is the first of its kind in Australia, providing our design engineers an unprecedented opportunity to refine the Hunter class frigate specifications before construction begins – saving cost, schedule and rework.
Detailed perfectly to scale, the vis suite provides our employees – engineers, test and commissioning teams, product planners, safety teams and operations – the chance to digitally review interior and exterior specifications and then incorporate modifications before frigate construction begins.
The digital design of the Hunter class frigates gives us the opportunity to invest in the development of new technologies and solutions that will transform continuous naval shipbuilding, ensuring the Royal Australian Navy maintains its competitive edge.