Waterborne Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda


State of the art


The main lines of technical development and the technical gaps are as follows.


  • A large gap can be observed between the state of production technologies in leading yards and smaller companies. While the description of the state-of-technology is primarily referring to leading yards, the situation in smaller yards is described where appropriate. Technology Readiness Levels achieved are usually given as ranges representing the different state of application across the industry. The analysis has underlined the need of technology transfer and technology adaptation to smaller companies to maximize the impact of research. This should be reflected in a Research and Innovation Agenda (D 3.2);
  • Continuous research and development along strategic lines, rather than isolated projects, is important to achieve a sustainable improve in competitiveness. RDI on production technologies on European, national and private level have contributed significantly to achieve and maintain the leading position of EU shipyards in high value-added niche markets. Success Stories (D 3.4) will demonstrate this in more detail.
  • In an international comparison Europe is leading research and application of maritime production technologies relevant for its products. The efficient cooperation of research entities and industry in projects and implementation makes the European maritime research area (EMRA) unique. However, competing players in the global market tend to invest more in research infrastructure, “basic” maritime research to take up key enabling technologies and international rule development.


Main technology trends in strategic fields:


The following technology areas are of key importance for the competitiveness of the maritime industry and represent focus areas of research and development:

  • Design for life cycle methodologies and tools have been developed and applied. This includes tools and processes for improved retrofitting as well as dedicated decision support and assessment tools. A more consistent use of operational data using the potentials of big data management and industry 4.0 as well as more sophisticated and integrated life cycle simulation tools are technology gaps to be overcome in the next decade.
  • Simulation tools and numerical modelling for investment and resource planning, robot programming and process modelling have been developed and are used by leading actors along the value chain. Those tools need to be further improved for new manufacturing processes and materials and integrated. Logistics and supply chain management are one of the major advantages of leading European yards versus their competitors.
  • Automation of pre-assembly processes primarily of metallic structures has reached an impressive level in leading shipyards with a clear European lead in the use of low distortion welding processes. The level of mechanization and automation in block and final assembly, in outfitting, repair and retrofitting, in smaller shipyards and in the production of offshore structures bears a significant potential.
  • The use of innovative materials and material combinations has made significant progress during the last years, but due to lacking long-term experience, lacking standardization and high cost and insufficient work sharing along the supply chain is not common practice yet. Nonetheless, the use of advanced material combinations, lightweight and adaptive structures, innovative coatings is a major contribution for greener shipping and competitiveness of shipyards and ship operators