There is no doubt that Industry 4.0 has driven dramatic changes in the manufacture of products, machinery, and equipment. The impact of Industry 4.0 can clearly be seen in many aspects of discrete A&D manufacturing, such as the creation and assembly of items by components used to manufacture highly complex military platforms such as aircraft.

Shipbuilding, however, takes this complexity to a whole new level by combining the disciplines of manufacturing, construction, and project management. It now has 3D printing, artificial intelligence, and AR/VR, not to mention digital twins, machine learning, and high-performance computing — all proven technologies and key players in an increasingly digitised sector. The stage is set for the arrival of “Maritime 4.0”.


The rationale and motivation for the adoption of Maritime 4.0 is clearly explained by the Australian Industrial Transformation Institute: “In line with all other forms of manufacturing, Industry 4.0 offers a vision for transformation of the shipbuilding industry though the establishment of ‘Digital Shipyards’ and adoption of a ‘Shipyard 4.0’ agenda. It is important to acknowledge just how transformative such a vision is and how challenging it will be to realise. The motivations and drivers must be powerful and the benefits extensive. The ideal of Digital Shipbuilding and importantly, sustainment, is propelled by the prospect of significant improvements in productivity, efficiency, reliability, quality and safety over the lifecycle of vessels.”

Market projections support this growth trajectory. ResearchAndMarkets data sees the digital shipbuilding sector poised for explosive growth — from $591 million in 2019 to $2.7 billion by 2027, with an impressive 21.1% compound annual growth rate.


According to a recent study in the Procedia Manufacturing industry journal published as part of the International Conference on Industry 4.0 and Smart Manufacturing, Maritime 4.0 allows:

• The automated integration of real data into decision making

• The adoption and implementation of connected technologies for design, production, and operation

 • Reduction of vessel environmental impact, related to production, operation, disposal emissions, (including  emissions, underwater noise, and material utilisation)

• Affordable and sustainable operation

• Reduction of risk, increasing safety and security

It is essential that shipbuilders themselves prioritise digital advancements. The digital oversight of maritime and naval assets begins not at sea, but right at the beginning of a ship’s lifecycle — in the design process and at the manufacturing stage.

This is an excerpt from APDR. To read the full story, click here.

APDR Newsletter

For Editorial Inquiries Contact:
Editor Kym Bergmann at

For Advertising Inquiries Contact:
Director of Sales Graham Joss at

Previous articleThales selected by NATO to deploy NCOP operational situational awareness system
Next articleRheinmetall secures major contracts from NATO customer


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here