The future of advanced manufacturing in Defence will be informed by data-driven decision making, facilitated by narrative visualisation and immersive technologies.
Researchers from the University of South Australia (UniSA) have collaborated with BAE Systems Australia (BAE Systems) to deliver manufacturing data intelligence to the Hunter Class Frigate Program. The researchers, who work at UniSA’s Australian Research Centre for Interactive and Virtual Environments (IVE) have developed methods to visualise the complexities in shipbuilding and manufacturing, exposing hidden factors at play.
This innovation reveals how delays and other issues could occur, allowing managers to alert stakeholders and minimise the impact, with potential savings of $3 million annually.
“This technology creates specific models, and we can rank the material to prioritise the information we care about and then present it in a visual form,” UniSA’s Dr James Walsh says.
“The narrative combines text with images, video, scans, and voiceovers to present a snapshot, which filters out the most critical information."
BAE Systems is designing and building nine of the world’s most advanced anti-submarine warfare frigates for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), known as the Hunter Class.
Due to the scale of production, and the complex manufacturing environment, it is a challenge to ensure the most up-to-date and efficient ships are delivered as quickly and safely as possible.
Using UniSA’s narrative and data visualisation expertise, BAE Systems can visualise the current and future state of the shipbuild, the shipyard and the supply chain.
This visualisation allows stakeholders and decision-makers to see the story of the build as it evolves from start to finish, providing an overview of the current state of the build as well as external factors and uncertainties in the supply chain.
The project has also used Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR and VR) to overlay the data from each zone of construction and individual workstation to produce a 3D tabletop version of the actual build, which supports collaborative decision making.
“It’s a marriage of computer science, statistics, graphs, artificial intelligence, artistic design and storytelling,” Dr Walsh says.
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