Modularization of Aquaculture Service Vessels - An Approach for the Implementation of Operational Flexibility
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- Institutt for marin teknikk 
The expansion of the aquaculture industry towards more exposed locations leads to uncertainties regarding the requirements for future aquaculture service vessels. These uncertainties are fueled by, among others, the lack of knowledge about how the future aquaculture facilities will end up looking, which capabilities the service vessels will require in order to support the new facilities, and what types of missions the facilities will require support for. This leads to uncertainties when investing in new vessels. A change in operating context, and related changes in the stakeholders requirements to the vessel, in terms of operational capabilities, may render a vessel unable to compete in the market if it is not able to adapt to the new demands and needs. The combination of uncertain operating contexts and high investment costs translates to risk. Flexibility is an attribute which can enable the vessel to handle and accommodate uncertainty. Flexibility can enable a vessel to change its capabilities in accordance with the stakeholders requirements throughout the different operating contexts the vessel can operate in throughout its lifecycle. This ability can allow a vessel to avoid downside risks and exploit upside opportunities, thus increasing its expected value. This thesis investigates how modularization can be used to implement operational flexibility in aquaculture service vessels. Modularization enables different system and equipment packages to be installed on the vessel platform. A system and equipment package is here a set of mission related systems and equipment that can be installed and combined with the vessel platform. The installation of one, or multiple, packages provides the vessel with a system and equipment configuration which gives it a set of operational capabilities that enables it to perform in accordance with the requirements of multiple mission types. This flexibility can potentially enable the vessel to perform missions at both sheltered and exposed locations. The thesis presents a framework for the design of a vessel platform and a set of system and equipment packages that can provide the basis for a flexible vessel design. It further presents a method for identifying systems and equipment that can be assembled into larger physical modules. The framework utilizes MS Frøy Fighter as the basis for the vessel platform. From a functional breakdown of service vessels, with basis in all the missions that they can perform at sheltered and exposed locations, the functions and mission related systems and equipment required to perform the different missions are identified. These systems and equipment are assessed in a qualitative manner, where the assessment later is used as input in the framework. The input further provides a set of constraints, which limits the positions that the systems and equipment can have on the platform. This contributes to reduce the design space. The House of Quality is used for the mapping of the interactions and relationships between the systems and equipment, with basis in the functions and missions that they are utilized in. A design structure matrix (DSM)-mapping captures relationships, interactions and dependencies in the vessel architecture. The DSM-mapping further identifies which systems and equipment that are compatible on the same platform. From the DSM-mapping, systems and equipment that potentially can be a permanent part of the vessel platform, or mission specific packages, are identified. It further identifies restrictions with regard to which packages that can be combined on the platform, based on compatibility. The systems and equipment are then assessed based on a set of design and decision criteria that are used to make a decision on which of the systems and equipment that it will be beneficial to assign to the vessel platform, and which systems and equipment that it will be beneficial to have as a part of the different system and equipment packages. The platform and the packages identified in this assessment, becomes the basis for the flexible vessel design. The framework further presents the change matrix as an approach which enables the presentation and illustration of the flexibility of the vessel design, as well as the agility and feasibility of transitioning between the system and equipment configurations that the vessel can accommodate. The thesis presents a case study that demonstrates how the framework can be utilized to identify and develop a vessel platform, and a set of packages, which can allow the vessel to perform 16 selected missions. The case study further presents how the change matrix can be utilized to describe the transitions between the present system and equipment configurations. This thesis utilizes an approach that, to the author s knowledge, has not been used in the design of aquaculture service vessels previously. The framework proposed provides a structured and potential promising approach for the identification of flexible service vessel designs. With the planned developments in the aquaculture industry, the potential important role that service vessels will play in this development, and the uncertainties affiliated with the process; the work performed in this thesis is considered to provide valuable input. The thesis further provides a collection of qualitative information regarding the missions performed by service vessels in the aquaculture industry, and the systems and equipment they can require to have in order to perform them. This can provide the starting point for further work within the subject.