The shipping industry's AI is here

Using machine learning in a brand-new platform for ship classification.

Classification of ships, ensuring compliance with safety and quality standards during construction and operation, has taken a big step in a digital direction. DNV GL controls and approves the entire process, from the smallest screw and weld to the complete ship with all its systems. This can sometimes be difficult and time-consuming work.

Now the world's leading ship classification society has developed a digital collaboration platform between itself and its customers. It includes advanced algorithms and machine learning, which incorporates drawings and documents from ringbinders into the same system. The journey of giving ship owners, shipyards and inspectors one and the same tool is in progress, and the future opportunities are exciting.

Utilizing data like Watson

Gro Elisabeth Paulsrud is the director of the development of the platform, pointing out that it is already in use worldwide. She explains how the service, among other things, makes it possible to view real-time project status, comment on technical challenges, and submit and receive documents digitally.

"What the medical industry is doing with Watson, we can do for the shipping industry with digital classification. We are working on machine learning, automation and robotization," she says.

Stein Arild Holsvik is project manager and Senior Surveyor at DNV GL's station in Ålesund. He explains that everything boils down to a desire to work smarter.

"We move in a direction where we are more transparent, where the customer not only gets access throughout the process, but can also comment on it. We reuse the hidden knowledge we have in the system and utilize all its data in a new and better way. Ultimately, it is about working smarter,” says Holsvik.

Paulsrud says that this platform is one of several major projects where DNV GL is driving a digital conversion in the industry.

"This is about taking existing data and using them, both to be more transparent to the customers and for the benefit of their own learning and development. That's what digitization is – exploiting data to get better,” she says.

“That's what digitization is – exploiting data to get better.” 
– Gro Elisabeth Paulsrud, Program Director, Great Class Newbuilding 

Unique knowledge from all over the world

Gunn Kim previously worked as project manager for newbuilding classification of ships and offshore units at local DNV GL offices at Korean yards. Over the past two years, he has worked as project manager in the Great Class Newbuilding Program (GCNB) and is very pleased with his stay in Norway.

"I thought it was incredibly exciting to get an offer to be part of this program. I looked forward to contributing to DNV GL's digital shift, and both my family and I have had a great stay in Norway," he says.

With his unique knowledge of how things are done elsewhere in the world, he has played an important role in the development of the program. Working closely with a multitude of customers and employees is one of the hallmarks of working in DNV GL, and this makes it possible to learn a lot.

“I have been allowed to teach DNV GL in Norway how things work in Korea, just as Stein Arild teaches us how things work here. This mutual learning makes us all better at understanding our global customers,” he says.

Both Kim and Holsvik believe that the platform has improved the entire classification process at DNV GL. Much of this is due to closer and more effective cooperation with the customers.

“We remove manual steps, which makes us more consistent. This automation gives us easier access to existing knowledge, thus giving even more value to the customer," says Holsvik.

"We are also working on a principle called ‘data only once’. This means that we often need to enter information in the system just once. What we already know should be transferred to the application, and should not be re-entered," says Kim.

DNV GL is working internationally to create the best systems, and Kim's experiences from Korea are invaluable.

Everything on one tablet

The new platform collects all information in one place, and the future goal is that it should also be available on a tablet. This is especially useful when Kim and Holsvik visit the yards.

“This is still quite new, but we already have a pilot with a tablet as an inspection tool. Eventually, huge binders with old drawings and documents will be inserted here. Then we do not have to worry that drawings will disappear or be damaged," says Kim.

"This system will also enable us to get closer cooperation with the yard, giving them direct status on the tasks we perform, shortcomings we detect, and the like. We can communicate and agree on comments directly, rather than through a long and tedious process with Excel lists, meetings and emails," says Holsvik.

”All parties save time”

Kleven Verft is one of the pilots of the digital platform, getting digitized with DNV GL on the team.

"As a shipyard, we are constantly looking for smarter ways to work, and such a database ensures a common platform where the yard, with all its subcontractors, and the classification society can exchange and share information. The database ensures that the information exchanged is transparent, consistent and traceable for all parties in a project, and that all parties save time," says Arve Drønnen, Senior Engineer at Kleven Verft AS.

The maritime industry is a diversified industry, and Paulsrud sees a clear variation in customer needs.

“On the one hand, you have those who still use paper drawings of the ship, while yards like Kleven have a desire to really work in new ways. So, it is very important that we have had participants from several places of the world in the program, so that we understand every need,” she says.

"Digitization is not just that something goes from paper to digital," Kim adds.

"The information is already there; it is knowing how to make the best use of it that determines how to handle today's digitization. This is reflected in the platform, where you can rely on its information in order to make the right decisions.”

Stein-Arild Holsvik
Stein Arild Holsvik is project manager and Senior Surveyor at DNV GL's station in Ålesund. He explains that everything boils down to a desire to work smarter. (Magnus Dorati)
Gro Paulsrud
Director of the Classification of Newbuilding, Gro Elisabeth Paulsrud. (Damir Cvetojevic)
Gunn Kim
Gunn Kim moved from Korea to Norway to work as a project manager at Great Class Newbuilding. After almost two years, he is now going home to continue his work from Korea.

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