In shipbuilding, outfitting is the process of installing non-structural components, like equipment, pipes, cables, ducts, etc., which can run through several structural compartments. Pre-outfitting is defined as outfitting activities that take place before hull erection, thus during panel, section and block assembly. The outfitting process is characterized by interferences between yard and many subcontractors, disturbances by unexpected delays, and technological constraints concerning the installation of main propulsion machinery. Scheduling of this process is therefore quite complex and a difficult topic to research. According to extensive literature study, there have been some relevant paper published more than twenty years ago,,,although since then the topic has not received much attention..
Traditionally, the initial outfitting process planning is generated largely manually by experts with the help of computer software, like Microsoft Project and Primavera. These tools allow some limited plan checking and evaluation. As soon as special simulation tools, for example based on eM-Plant or, Arena, are fully developed, plans can be tested, analyzed and optimized in a more accurate way. Even though the digitalization of downstream work is being developed, the initial plan depends greatly on experts. They have to be trained and then gain their expertise from practice. It generally takes over five years for someone to acquire sufficient expertise in a particular area. Furthermore, the knowledge the experts gained by their years of experience may be lost, due to retirement and personnel quitting the company. Hence, it is indispensable to make such tacit knowledge explicit through models. It means that in order to optimize the facilities, maximize the production efficiency and minimize the building time, it is necessary to develop a system to automatically generate plans for outfitting processes, which can also support the simulation models afterwards for verification purposes.
The research discussed in this paper looks into the possibilities to automatically generate an outfitting sequence and planning, based on two approaches. The first approach is an analytical approach, where the focus lies on the most convenient installation sequence on a system or compartment level. This sequence considers all relations between activities within one system and with activities of other systems, and relations within one compartment and its adjacent compartments. Then a mathematical approach is discussed. Physical constraints between the pipes, ducts, cable trays, etc. are introduced and represented. A model is made to generate an installation sequence of these components in one compartment.