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Keys to success
The Sunseeker brand encompasses boats ranging from 40 feet to a stunning 155 feet in length. The design team is typically developing four new or refreshed models each year, and has been using NX™ software and Teamcenter® software from product lifecycle management (PLM) specialist Siemens PLM Software for more than a decade.
Sunseeker has more than 40 licenses of NX and Teamcenter, provided through Siemens PLM Software partner Prion Cutting Edge. “We have worked with the specialists at Cutting Edge Solutions for years, and their technical expertise is second-to-none,” says Luke Stride, design office manager and principal design engineer. “They are always professional and exceptionally helpful. In particular we are very happy with the software training they provide, as we are able to learn using our own designs.”
According to Foster, ease of use is a key benefit of NX. “It is intuitive – a new user can run at full speed within three months,” Foster says. “It’s easy to picture something in your head and model it straight using NX. It’s great for early visuals and even very complicated freeform, double-curvature surfaces, which would normally have to be done in specialist naval architecture software. We can interrogate data with NX, so we can cut out two significant stages in the design process, because there is no need to transfer information to another software and back again.”
“A boat is a very, very complicated product, but I can find no limitation with NX,” says Foster. “There is nothing I cannot do using NX and we are noticing that naval architecture software is being developed to integrate with it. Every release of NX provides a new arena in which it is quicker or easier to do something.”
The implementation of NX and Teamcenter gave Sunseeker the opportunity to begin standardizing components, and sharing these is now the norm. “A boat might have 4,000 to 5,000 components on it, and as we make a range of models it is important to have families of parts,” explains Stride. “We share assemblies and subassemblies, particularly when they are functional systems that are not on view. It is extremely easy to locate parts with Teamcenter for re-use or resizing.”
Teamcenter holds all the data for each component; for example, it stores information on weight and keeps an accurate record as each boat is built. Every part fitted and every piece of waste removed is weighed. The build yard has a limit of 350 tons, so it is imperative to know when to pause, transfer a boat outside and hoist it into water. As Sunseeker’s database of intellectual property, Teamcenter is only accessible to those with a logon and relevant permissions, and it manages all workflows, including the process of senior manager sign-off.