The Marine and Offshore industry has a vital role to play for a sustainable future

May 26, 2015

- an interview with Alain Houard, Dassault Systèmes

Covering over 70% of the world’s surface, the oceans represent a huge potential for the Marine and Offshore industry. Recently, we had the great opportunity to meet and talk with Alain Houard, Vice President in charge of the Marine & Offshore industry at Dassault Systèmes. We asked him to share his thoughts on the challenges and opportunities the industry is currently facing, as well as how Marine and Offshore companies can leverage the 3DEXPERIENCE® platform to support their future innovations.


"As the world’s population grows, so does demand for food, water and natural resources. The sea provides a largely untapped and promising resource. With a wide range of activities spanning shipbuilding, fishing, global transport, marine mining and offshore energy production, the Marine and Offshore industry is uniquely positioned to play a vital role in today’s and tomorrow’s global economy,” says Alain. “The shipping business transports 90% of the world’s goods but the sea has value well beyond shipping,” he states. “Around the globe, marine and offshore interests are rising to the challenge to help realize the sea’s potential with safer ships and technologies that are cleaner, greener and more efficient in delivering the world’s cargo, exploring the ocean floor, and harvesting the sea’s bounty. The Marine and Offshore industry is also addressing the world’s need for new sources of energy, from safer offshore drilling technologies to innovative new processes of energy production, for example energy from waves,” he explains.

Shifting from giant shipyards to advanced engineering

In the Nordic and European countries, the Marine and Offshore industry has been transforming from giant shipyards to more specialized engineering operating globally. “A lot of the opportunities in the Marine and Offshore industry went to Asian countries due to the fact that the cost of labor initially played a big role in getting hold of a contract. First it was cheaper to produce big ships in Japan, then it became cheaper to produce ships in Korea, then in China and in Vietnam,” Alain explains.

Seeing contracts transferring to Asia, European shipbuilding companies needed to adapt and find new ways of competing. “Companies in Nordics turned to more complex ships and developed innovative technologies for example in the area of design automation and welding automation where Norway currently is a strong leader,” Alain says.

Integrated solutions based on a powerful business platform

“Companies in the Marine and Offshore industry face many challenges such as meeting delivery deadlines on a fixed budget, complying with environmental and safety regulations, as well as achieving productivity gains in design and manufacturing etc.,” says Alain. “Leveraging its expertise across many industries, Dassault Systèmes aims to accompany the maritime sector as it evolves and assist forward thinking naval architects, designers, shipyards and suppliers to successfully tackle these challenges and transform their practices to create unique value and experiences for their end customers. With solutions specifically designed for the Marine & Offshore industry based on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, imagining and delivering winning and sustainable innovations more efficiently while controlling costs and schedules is easier and more accessible,” he says.

“Our vision has developed as a result of partnerships with key clients who are major players in their field”, Alain explains. “We are focusing on targeted areas to meet the many challenges ahead”.

Industry Solution Experiences to support future innovations

"We introduced 'On Time To Sea', an Industry Solution Experience based on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, which provides an integrated program management environment to plan and manage complex marine and offshore projects with an interactive 360° approach. Shipyards can engage in collaborative planning, monitor project status and performance across their extended ecosystem including suppliers and ensure secured traceability of requirements throughout the project. By streamlining the flow of information for efficient program management and collaboration, On Time To Sea helps them meet their number one priority: timely and on-budget delivery,” says Alain.

“Thanks to a key client in Germany, we also created the ‘Designed For Sea’ Industry Solution Experience. This Industry Solution Experience is a proven solution for innovative design. It helps the different stakeholders – naval architects, discipline engineers, designers, shipyards and their suppliers – to define, simulate, analyze and validate a ship or platform design while adhering to owners’ requirements, industry regulations and classification standards. Multidiscipline engineering teams can evaluate and validate design options in real time through advanced 3D simulation and analysis early in the process to ensure high quality. It helps them create optimal design from a combination of style, innovation and cutting edge technologies It can lead to better quality and productivity and contribute to costs reduction in an environment that is becoming increasingly competitive every day,” says Alain.

PLM for marine and offshore

“We are also currently introducing a cloud based solution called ‘Express For Sea’. The design and production of marine and offshore projects increasingly involves a large number of engineering services and supplier companies. There is strong competition among suppliers to provide the best services and products to the builders. In order for services and supplier companies to win contracts, they must be able to quickly react to builders requirements and provide high quality and innovative solutions in a timely manner. It is essential for them to develop and deliver their components as efficiently as possible. In addition, as they deal with multiple shipyards, these companies must be agile in their operations and highly effective in their collaboration with each customer. ‘Express For Sea’ enables Marine suppliers to take advantage of the latest cloud technology to access their data anytime, anywhere while eliminating the need for additional IT infrastructure and administration,” says Alain. “Total Cost of Ownership is improved by reducing requirements for computing and storage, as well as facility and resources costs, and enabling rapid sizing as well as capability deployment. It allows Marine Suppliers to focus on creating the right products for their customers, rather than focusing on the IT infrastructure and resources used to create them,” he adds.

Next generation of Marine and Offshore solutions

“The next generation of Marine & Offshore solutions will continue to address customers’ needs. Our ambition is to become leaders in the sector by winning new clients, providing pertinent answers to industrial problems faced by this sector and by giving the businesses using our platform the opportunity to drive innovation and deliver compelling experiences for their customers. We also want to continue to let the dreamers and innovators in the naval world test their ideas out by supporting new, unique experiences. To stay on the leading edge, we are also expanding our horizons and working with new audiences around the world such as classification societies or engaging with universities in different disciplines,” says Alain.

How can TechniaTranscat help Marine and Offshore customers?

“I see the partnership with Technia [TechniaTranscat] as extremely important due to Technia’s [TechniaTranscat's] historical presence in the Nordics and due to their skills in different industries. Together we can deliver the best Industry Solution Experiences for the Marine and Offshore market,” concludes Alain Houard.

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