Babcock International Group

Babcock International Group is a provider of critical and complex engineering services to customers across defence, emergency services and civil nuclear.

About Babcock International Group

For more than a century, Babcock, the aerospace and defence company, has been trusted to deliver bespoke, highly-skilled engineering services.

We help customers in the UK and around the world to improve the capability, reliability and availability of their most critical assets within the four market sectors of Marine, Land, Aviation, and Nuclear, underpinned by a deep understanding of technology integration, unique infrastructure, and specialist training.

Babcock and Made Smarter Technology Accelerator

Jon Hall, Chief Innovation & Technology Officer at Babcock International Group said: “As a technology-led business and a leading, large scale manufacturing authority in the UK, we understand the importance of innovation. That’s why we’re collaborating with some of the best engineering and academic institutions to deliver ground-breaking technology solutions that will add real value to our customers, develop our people, and strengthen our partnerships. Working with Made Smarter Technology Accelerator, and Digital Catapult will help us achieve this.”

Challenges brought to you by Industry Challenge Owner – Babcock

Babcock has two challenges for relevant startups. Applicants must choose only one challenge from the programme’s 14 challenges.

Read on to find out about our challenges

  • Challenge 1: Warrior base overhaul
  • Challenge 2: Digital shipbuilding

Challenge 1: Warrior base overhaul

Challenge Background

Babcock provides critical, complex engineering services in the UK and internationally. It delivers vital services and manages complex assets on behalf of public bodies across three key markets; defence, emergency services and civil nuclear.

For this challenge Babcock is looking to assess, develop and deliver a joined up system that provides a digital twin to feed into the Warrior Armoured Fighting Vehicles Overhaul.

A key element of the overhaul is to ensure the integrity of the vehicle hull. This is in effect the armoured shell of the vehicle, which once stripped down to its bare condition (all components removed, paint removed, etc.) has to be fully measured using FaroArm technology and stringent non-destructive testing (NDT).

  • The FaroArm is used for critical dimensional checks against original technical specification and to assure suitability of the hull for base overhaul and the future Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme.
  • NDT testing is used to determine any delamination of the alloy, which would result in a possible repair against a known or to be developed ‘repair scheme’ and again affect suitability for base overhaul.

Although software is available for the FaroArm and also for NDT, it is not currently possible to bring the measurements and assessments together on to the Babcock system (Picasso Blue). Therefore, all checks are recorded using standalone laptops, and then manually extracted and entered on to a spreadsheet.

This creates delay, does not allow for large data to be collected and analysed, and does not provide for accurate recording as the FaroArm has to be stepped along large runs of data with new datum points needed to be set for every step.

For this challenge and from applications

The solution should include 3D measurements and NDT to be collated and assessed as one, with the data available to assure hull integrity and suitability for overhaul. Applicants will be expected to demonstrate the effective build-up of information in layers and the visualisation of this information while taking into account the issues of intellectual property rights, availability of original equipment manufacturer data, and limited access to computer aided design (CAD) drawings.

Babcock is looking to visualise and track information digitally so that this process will no longer be conducted through a combination of standalone laptops and manual data. We are on the search for a solution that improves capacity to recall and compare information and records, as well as traceability and time reduction.

Challenge 2: Digital shipbuilding

Challenge Background

Large scale modular construction projects (including shipbuilding) use state-of-the-art computer aided design (CAD) modelling and analysis during the design stages. However, this valuable information is often lost or does not get translated efficiently through to the equipment and personnel on the manufacturing shop floor. This results in duplication of effort when transferring information between systems, or re-creating information.

Due to the large scale of ship modules, robotics and automation are generally limited to assisting in only the initial stages of build – processing raw material into stiffened plates. Assembly of units, blocks, final outfitting and inspection is conducted by skilled tradesmen typically working from traditional two-dimensional (2D) drawings, despite having access to these detailed 3D models.

The scale of the design model, and the timescale involved in the design process, means that information required for production is often “phase-released” by zone or area of the vessel/structure.

In addition, the dynamic environment in modular construction and shipbuilding makes it difficult to display this information at the point of use (for example inside a ship compartment that is being outfitted), where methods such as touch screen monitors, or even handheld mobile devices are not particularly suitable.

For this challenge and from applications

Babcock is looking to develop a process to enable specific 3D data from a ship design model to be fed to the point of use using appropriate software and hardware with consideration to:

  • New ways of presenting complex design data on the shop floor:
    • The specific environment – the hardware/medium should be safe and practical to use for the range of activities to be completed and in an industrial environment, which may contain hazards (for example, trip hazards, sharp edges, obstructions).
    • Flow down into the supply chain – covering different equipment, and providing remote access.
  • New ways of managing data access, version control and change management:
    • The “phased-release” nature of the design process – how this impacts revision control, change management, etc. of the released design data.

The 3D data from CAD models to the point of use will be fed so that (1) design plans can be released in phases and allow revision control, and (2) manufacturers will have the correct information available to hand.

The technology solution will be used to reduce cost, improve scheduling, and allow product improvement.