PROSTEP tool for proactive production control in shipbuilding

By Carsten Zerbst

The production planning and control of complex ships such as frigates or cruise ships poses great challenges for shipyards. As part of the ProProS project, a new planning methodology based on a digital twin was developed to better support shipyards. The project, funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection, was successfully completed at the end of May.

Maritime systems such as cruise ships or frigates have several million components and thus far exceed the dimensions of other industrial products. This presents the shipyards with particular challenges in terms of production planning and control. The Fr. Lürssen shipyard, the WZL of the RWTH Aachen and PROSTEP AG have carried out the ProProS research project. This project was about the development of an innovative methodology for the production planning and control of large individual products. The methodology should enable efficient use of the available resources and make it possible to estimate the effects of disruptions as early as possible. It is based on a digital twin that maps the ship along with the manufacturing activities.

The software demonstrator created as part of the research project can handle the very large structures and activity plans in shipbuilding. By taking over real-time data from production, the production planners can identify disruptions promptly and carry out re-planning based on the current status.

This gives them a tool to increase efficiency in the production process and reduce throughput times. You can even use the software to make predictions about future activity. The solution enables detailed, highly efficient production control for the construction of complex one-offs without increasing the manual effort for production planning.

The project itself was divided into four phases. After an initial requirements survey, in which the technical challenges and framework conditions were named, we derived a data and process model that was transferred to the demonstrator in the third phase. In the final project phase, the resulting solution was finally validated. The project partners implemented all phases in close coordination but with changing responsibilities – depending on the strengths of the partners.

With the consortium of the Fr. Lürssen Werft, the WZL and PROSTEP, three project partners have come together who ideally complement each other in their expertise. The Fr. Lürssen shipyard is a world-renowned manufacturer of mega yachts, naval and special ships. She works continuously on the further development of her design and production processes as well as on the development of innovative products and has been involved in numerous research projects in recent years. In the ProProS project, as an experienced industrial partner, she helped to create a realistic solution.

The scientists at the WZL deal with the design and layout of structures and processes in production. In numerous research and consulting projects, they support their industrial partners in the consistent implementation of a sustainable production strategy and an efficient value-added structure. The laboratory also has experience in the context of fault management and real-time production planning, which it was able to bring to the ProProS research project, which made a decisive contribution to the successful conclusion.

PROSTEP AG took on the role of expert for PLM and digital transformation in the research project and contributed its expertise to both the conceptual design and the actual implementation of the software solution. Since the Hamburg experts from PROSTEP are also familiar with the shipbuilding context, they were able to use their experience and methods from past implementation and consulting projects to carry out the research project successfully.

If you would like to learn more about ProProS or our solutions, please do not hesitate to contact us.


CALL / TEXT: +1 248 247 1007


EMEA, Asia-Pacific

CALL: +49 6151 9287-0


Join the 20,000+ people learning about PLM solutions and digital transformation.


PROSTEP is the world's leading product life cycle integration and migration specialist for the discrete manufacturing industry.

For inquiries please send us a message or email us at