Expleo is currently working on a long-term project with a leading defence client on the development of a submarine platform, providing systems engineering capabilities in a number of key areas. Our work has so far resulted in improved robustness of the platform system design, and issues and inconsistencies being identified much earlier in the project lifecycle. This will ultimately result in significant time and cost savings for the programme.
The client was facing challenges arising from a lack of internal resources and experienced technical expertise due to industry-wide skill shortages.
The client also needed to be able to visualise and see a detailed overview of a complex network of systems and to provide traceability. But traditionally excess volumes of configuration details were stored within the client’s existing systems making it difficult to maintain and hard to find the technical information required. As part of the project, the client was also looking to embed more agile working practices and adopt digital tools to support its ongoing modernisation efforts.
Expleo is providing its systems engineering capabilities to the platform’s management systems such as its power, propulsion, environmental and operational systems.
Expleo is doing this by building a digital model that shows how the platform breaks down into a system of systems and how they all interact with each other. This enables them to have an overview of a very complex network of systems, captured in a digital manner to be able to drill down and interrogate the threads of information as and when required.
Expleo is using the model to produce optioneering reports to help guide the client in the design decision making process where the platform design still wasn’t set in stone. The model has been used to present trade-off studies to show the cost benefit analysis, and pros and cons of the various options to help the client decide on the best way forward.
One of the biggest challenges of a project of this nature is working with people on the ground who are used to documenting everything on paper and operating mechanical systems, and trying to move them towards a more digital approach.
As a result, there is also a change management element to the project, rethinking internal process and moving to an increased use of collaboration focused workshops.
- Single version of truth – The model encapsulates one view of the platform, providing a single version of truth that can be easily interrogated.
- Reduction in errors and reduction in risk – Through our work we have been able to highlight issues and inconsistencies early on in the platform build. The client has been able to make design changes 12 – 18 months earlier than it otherwise would have previously.
- Breaking down siloes – Agile management techniques and sprint cycles have improved visibility and communication by providing insight to known data and issues earlier allowing them time to fix issues without a significant impact to the project.
- Moving towards plug and play – Our work is essentially producing a digital logbook for the platform and is a significant step towards enabling a digital twin. The client will be able to backfit the learnings and outputs from developing this platform into existing fleets.