A computer-automated design tool for intelligent virtual prototyping of offshore cranes
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In close collaboration with the maritime industry, virtual prototyping with maritime application has been an important research topic for Aalesund University College for some years. In this paper, we describe the development of a computer-automated design tool for intelligent virtual prototyping of offshore cranes. Our work is part of a research project funded by the Research Council of Norway and takes place in close cooperation with two partners from the maritime industry. A literature review of virtual prototyping, computer-automated design, and modelling and simulation of offshore cranes sets the stage for the description of a design tool whose main components consist of a computational model, a simulator, and a genetic algorithm. We show how domain-specific constraints can be accounted for in conjunction with an automated optimisation procedure of design parameters to yield crane specifications that closely match the desired design criteria. Limitations of slewing rings and hydraulic cylinders are of particular importance in offshore crane design and are used as an example of the multitude of design calculations that form the computational model. Being work in progress, we report on completed parts and the work that remains.