Digital Tools

The Digital Revolution & US Shipbuilding

The competitive landscape in shipbuilding has changed dramatically, as ‘Industry 4.0’ capabilities driven by the digital revolution have given the edge to those that scout and adopt solutions that deliver on the promise of increasing efficiency while cutting costs. Juan Prieto discusses the CADMATIC suite of solutions for North American shipyards seeking to capture the competitive edge.

By Eric Haun and Greg Trauthwein

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Digital technologies are evolving at breakneck speed, unlocking tremendous efficiency gains for shipbuilders. Juan Prieto, Americas regional manager at software company CADMATIC, said there are many opportunities for shipbuilders, especially in the United States, to adopt these solutions.

“Here in the U.S., the [shipbuilding] digital revolution, or Industry 4.0, is still in very early stages, but we can see that more and more people are talking about it,” Prieto said, noting that CADMATIC opened a North American office about two years ago. “We are going slowly toward this digital revolution. There's still a long way to go here, but that's also the same in Europe and in Asia. I wouldn't say that we are too far behind.”


CADMATIC has been serving the shipbuilding sector since the early 1980s, beginning with products to incorporate 3D technology to improve design, visualization, distribution and total cost efficiency. The firm has grown significantly since then, and its product offering has too. Today CADMATIC markets a full suite of digital and intelligent 3D-based design, engineering and information management software solutions for the marine industry.

“We provide solutions all the way from the basic design to production, and also later to operations,” Prieto said. “We provide all solutions that shipyards need to be able to build their ships efficiently with lower costs.”

We provide all solutions that shipyards need to be able to build their ships efficiently with lower costs Juan Prieto, Americas Regional Manager, CADMATIC

Prieto said a common problem today is that shipbuilding cycle processes—all the way from design to production—are often conducted in silos that rarely communicate to each other.

Under its “information management” umbrella, CADMATIC offers an innovative software suite specifically designed to help address this issue.

“CADMATIC’s eShare is a platform where the shipyard can connect all of their systems into one 3D model,” Prieto said. “You can check ERP [enterprise resource planning] problems or information, MRP [material requirements planning], the 3D model itself, either coming from CADMATIC or competitors, AutoCAD drawings, Excel; they all connect to eShare.”

CADMATIC’s eShare offering allows information to be integrated and published from diverse business systems and fragmented documentation in a single, easy-to-use web portal accessible by all stakeholders. Credit: CADMATIC

eShare seamlessly links project data, including the 3D model, external databases or management systems, and makes all readily available to project stakeholders in a shared web portal. The solution essentially ensures that whatever its source, whether design applications or the production and operation of a vessel, the collected data is transparent and accessible, meaning greater project efficiency. In addition, information produced during all phases of a project lifecycle can be used as building blocks for the vessel’s digital twin.

The ultimate goal is to bridge the communications gap so that shipyards can build more efficiently and reduce costs, Prieto explained. “That goes all the way from the communications, from the design to the production, and also later to the operations of the shipowner so they can incorporate the changes that they have from the operations back to their design.”

January 2024