Digital transformation and 3D technology will need to be embraced by the defence industry as it looks to advance Australia’s submarine capabilities and broader defence platforms, industry experts have said.
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French software firm and 3D specialist Dassault Systèmes, which is establishing a regional centre specialising in virtual technology as well as a virtual shipyard in South Australia, hosted the 3DExperience Forum in Adelaide on Tuesday, which saw guest speakers from the defence, space and mining industries.
ASC chief technology officer Gavin Hamilton said the sovereign shipbuilder embraced digital innovation in the '90s by adopting Dassault's ENOVIA application and is still a leading force in innovation within the defence industry.
"We recognised in the 1990s that we had to move to 3D at some stage," Hamilton explained.
The submarine builder and maintainer has since upgraded its Dassault Systèmes ENOVIA application to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, making it the first Australian company to upgrade to the ‘virtual shipyard’ system.
The next generation 3DEXPERIENCE R2016x platform is a virtual design, functional mock up, collaboration, product lifecycle management (PLM) and data intelligence package that integrates complex systems and infrastructure, and provides end users with accurate, advanced and up-to-date information to make informed decisions.
ASC first selected ENOVIA in 1996 to manage all product-related data for its Collins Class submarine maintenance activity. Since that time, ASC has successfully migrated data from diverse obsolete IT applications to the ENOVIA system, increasing efficiency and innovation.
Speaking at the 3DExperience Forum, Hamilton said the sovereign shipbuilder is now preparing for the future of shipbuilding, which is rapidly moving towards a digitalised future.
"We are exploring what we can and can't do, whether it's photorealistic virtual reality training at the training school, or whether it's virtual design models and also 3D printing. It is a key element for us today as we move forward," he said.
The 3DEXPERIENCE Platform is used across 12 industries, including major US defence manufacturers Boeing, General Dynamics-Bath Iron Works and Germany’s Meyer Werft, one of the world’s leading cruise ship builders.
Dassault Systèmes is already working with eight South Australian SMEs – APC Technology, ACE/Broens SA, B&R Enclosures, LogiCamms, Mincham Aviation, Ottoway Engineering, REDARC Electronics and Sudel Industries – in developing their digital capabilities and will partner with a further eight businesses this year.
The digital capabilities are used worldwide to test construction, manage the entire life cycle of projects and link companies to Dassault Systèmes supply chains to enable the SA companies to compete for major defence work. Dassault Systèmes has worked with major defence firms including MBDA, Safran, TEXTRON and Australia's Future Submarine designer Naval Group.