The application of computer integrated manufacturing (CIM) to one-of-a-kind heavy engineering industries is one of today's most challenging tasks for industry and information technology (IT) vendors. Because of the complexity of the shipbuilding process, as a typical representative of this kind of industry, available solutions are not yet satisfactory. Even the basic theory of current CIM systems does not fit many aspects of requirements for the shipbuilding industry. The application of CIM tools, which are based on ideas of line production and have a strict sequence for all tasks, has very often failed in the past, mainly because of a lack of flexibility. Therefore, basic work needs to be performed, starting with a detailed analysis of today's situation and leading to a careful development for the real requirements of tomorrow. This paper deals with the problems resulting from the exceptional nature of shipbuilding for the application of CIM elements. The approach chosen for modeling of the production process, illustrated by some examples from actual research and development (R + D) projects, is described. An evaluation of the benefit of structured shipyard modeling and a look at complementary R + D actions conclude the paper.

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