Ship design process

Ship design process

Deltamarin’s services cover all phases and disciplines of a ship design process. Each project is always tailored according to our Client’s needs and preferences. Deltamarin has also developed digital design tools that provide new possibilities for managing and optimizing the ship life cycle performance.

A short description of Deltamarin’s ship design services and different ship design process phases is provided in the following chapters.

Feasibility project

The purpose of the feasibility project is to develop the first vessel design for the ship owner in order to be able to check the required investment and the feasibility of the intended vessel concept. The starting point for the feasibility project is usually the client’s business plan or basic description of the intended vessel and the service.

At this stage, the ship design concept will be developed so that vessel’s main dimensions, layout, main space reservations, flows and preliminary hull form are defined and that we have enough data to evaluate technical and commercial feasibility of the vessel concept. Preliminary newbuilding cost estimate will be provided based on Deltamarin’s cost statistics along with operational cost parameters of the vessel.

Today, it is increasingly important to understand how the decision about ship main particulars and used fuel impact on the GHG performance of the vessel. Variations of the concept with alternative fuels and prime movers are therefore often included in the scope of the feasibility stage.

Deltamarin has carried out hundreds of feasibility projects for different types of vessels. Today, our digital toolkit allows quick and reliable iteration of various alternatives. Deltamarin also utilizes a 3D presentation of the arrangement already at this stage, allowing easy and quick alterations and later development of the ship design concept.

At the end of the feasibility phase, the customer can further discuss with other parties involved and decide whether to move further with the development of the project.

Outline project

With a prototype vessel, it is essential that the project is well defined before approaching yards. The purpose of the outline project is the development of the concept and design materials to a level that is suitable for shipyard tendering purposes. With an Owner’s outline project, all yards are starting with the same basis and comparable proposals are received.

The focus of the outline stage is hence to add details and specifications to the concept describing the design to a level that it can be reliably priced by the shipyards. General arrangement of the vessel will be further developed in accordance with the results of the feasibility project and the latest rules and requirements. Ship structures and hull form will be developed and ship lightweight, loading conditions and stability will be calculated. Propulsion and machinery configuration for the will be selected and incorporated into the ship design process.

Our digital design toolkit allows optimization of the vessel based on the actual operation profile and weather data from the intended operation area. Simulation model for the vessel machinery and systems can be used to set targets for performance indicators and for example to evaluate pay-back times for various energy saving devices.

At this phase, the preliminary selected Classification Society working also as a representative of National Authority is often called in. This does not, however, mean that this class society would be the final choice.

All the major suppliers are approached to receive both commercial and technical proposals, especially concerning any prototype arrangements and systems potentially incorporated in the ship design process.

Deltamarin can support the Owner in developing the list of yards to be contacted and participate in the shipyard prequalification visits as seen necessary.

At the end of the outline project, the first tender package, normally including inquiry letter, General Arrangement and Outline Specification, Makers’ List and Lightweight Summary, is delivered to the selected shipyards.

Contract project

The purpose of the contract project is to develop the ship design and materials for the shipbuilding contract. The project often includes technical assistance and consultation during the evaluation of different yard proposals and to develop the specifications and other design material further.

The contract project starts with a review of the proposals received from the bidding yards. Deviations from the outline specification in each received proposal will be listed and their impacts assessed, and a summary will be prepared. After this, a short listing of the most interesting proposals is carried out and feedback given to the shortlisted yards. Technical clarification meetings will be arranged where the client, yard and Deltamarin discuss all different aspects of the yard proposal and especially the items deviating from the outline specification.

In parallel to the yard discussions, the most critical features of the ship design process and further optimized to meet the set targets for functional efficiency, weight and fuel consumption. The concept is further developed using our advanced CFD simulation tools for hull form development, possible model tests, FEM simulations for optimising the structures and our other specific simulation tools such as assuring maximum energy efficiency of the vessel. At this stage, also our VR tools provide great value by ensuring the quality and experience of interior compartments of a passenger vessel. All this development assists the client in detailed discussions with the yards.

After the Owner has made its preliminary selection of the building yard, discussions with this yard will continue. Deltamarin also often participates in technical and commercial contract negotiations and other consultation on ship specific topics. The main aim of this phase is to achieve a confirmed extensive technical specification and create supporting documents that will lead to a ship contract.

Once the technical details are agreed, Deltamarin will prepare the final contractual documentation to be confirmed and signed. This then works as the final technical specification and supporting documentation for the shipbuilding contract.

Basic design

The purpose of basic design is to develop the project in order to achieve approvals from the classification society, flag state, other related authorities. At the same time, the project will be technically defined to allow the procurement of the main equipment. The basic ship design process cannot be completed without the selection of manufacturers for the main systems, as makers’ data is required for the ship design.

Final optimization of the vessel performance is carried out during the basic design stage. Deltamarin’s strong team of hydrodynamic experts are highly experienced in optimising hull forms for the actual operating conditions of ships. By careful optimisation with state-of-the-art tools, we can minimize needed propulsion power while maintaining good manoeuvring and seakeeping characteristics. With hundreds of model-tested vessels as a reference and the cutting-edge RANS CFD solver STAR-CCM+ as a tool, we optimise vessels to the highest efficiency level. In addition to CFD simulations, we carry out 10-15 model test series a year at different European model basins. Successful execution requires experience and knowledge of developing the hull form, and the model tests need to be carried out to verify that the optimisation targets have been achieved.

Our simulation tools also allow development of comprehensive energy flow simulation for the vessel machinery and auxiliary as well as hotel systems. This information is highly useful to evaluate proposals from different equipment makers, as well as performance of alternative ship design approaches for the systems. The system also gives a verifiable performance baseline for the vessel which can be further linked to ship’s energy management system during the vessel operation.

Basic design is typically ordered by the yard but can be carried out on behalf of the owner as well, even before signing the shipbuilding contract. Deltamarin has been involved in several cases where the full basic design has been executed before the shipbuilding contract. In these cases, the vessels have been first-of-a-kind with unique ship design features and preparing the full basic design ahead of the shipbuilding contract was done to reduce the risk. Using this approach means that the owner may have to make the classification agreement as well as select the main equipment makers, subject to the shipbuilding contract.

At Deltamarin, we typically carry out 6-8 basic design projects a year. Our extensive engineering capacity, references, combined with high quality end products gives us a good starting point for any kind of basic design task. Deltamarin basic design package can include all required design disciplines i.e. general part, hull, outfitting, machinery, interior, HVAC as well as electric and automation engineering. The engineering package can be complemented with procurement support, building strategy support, production planning support and assistance in yard capability development services.

The basic design is finished once all approvals have been received.

Detail design

To ensure an uniform basis for detail engineering and interface agreement between the yard, owner, different suppliers and Deltamarin as designer, pre-coordination design is carried out. This coordination phase is important as the last check concerning system redundancy and availability. This phase may also be called integration design.

Space reservations will be checked and necessary definitions for the location of various main items will be accomplished. The ship-wide routing of piping, ducting and cabling will be made to prevent any discontinuity in the ship design at areas of interface.

The basic design diagrams for piping, the main cable trays and ventilation ducts will be brought on top of the space arrangements and layouts, taking into consideration the structural arrangement as well.

Detail design and engineering are carried out in accordance with the selected building method. Normally hull, machinery and piping are taken care of by the yard, and the rest by the area and system suppliers. However, this depends on the selected shipyard. Detail/production design is typically carried out by the yard alone and/or together with the designers.

In China, the practice is different as, in detail design, only the final vendor data is implemented, and the production design is carried out by the yards with their own 3D programmes.

Services during construction and commissioning

During the construction, Deltamarin can provide supervision services for the project as well as work in close cooperation with the yard to ensure successful project execution.

Newbuilding supervision is typically subdivided into three phases:

  • Yard and supplier meetings
  • Document control/approval/special studies
  • Supervision

Depending on the owner’s involvement and preference, Deltamarin can take responsibility of all three phases if needed.

Document approval is handled mainly through our main office, where we have required specialists available concerning, for example, safety, noise and vibration, structural finite element method (FEM) analysis, naval architectural calculations, weight, etc. Yard meetings are handled by the supervisors and/or by required specialists. Supervisors are mainly our own experienced people. Local capacity can be used when necessary. We have partners in different countries and locations, which enables us to respond locally.

Training should be started as early as the model testing phase concerning, for example, manoeuvrability, crabbing and harbour approach, and continued with system simulations, etc. while the basic design proceeds.

System redundancy and availability should be simulated during the ship design phase and not be left for the commissioning phase only.

Services for sailing vessels

For sailing vessels, Deltamarin offers a wide range of services to maintain your fleet in excellent condition, or even to upgrade it to the next level. For conversions, we offer ship design services for the complete project from feasibility studies to full EPCM packages. All this based on our long track record and knowledge of latest technologies.

Our products and services during operation include the following:

  • One-stop shop for conversions: studies, design, management and execution
  • Energy efficiency audits and improvement studies, read more here
  • Energy efficiency training, read more here
  • Updating of stability documentation
  • Updating of technical documentation
  • Technical documentation lifetime management and storage services
  • Safety audits and studies
  • Dynamic Positioning (DP) class upgrades
  • Environmental studies

For more information, please contact

Esa Jokioinen Deltamarin
Esa Jokioinen
Director, Sales & Marketing
Tel. +358 2 4336 344
Mobile +358 40 834 8112