Goa Shipyard Limited Focuses on Incorporating AI in Shipbuilding

By Editor 25-Aug-2021

In keeping with the Government’s thrust towards adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into Defence Systems and processes, GSL has embarked upon a strategy for building a vibrant AI ecosystem with intelligent machines enabling high-level cognitive processes in its shipbuilding products and processes. “We have recognised the need to keep pace with Industry 4.0 requirements to keep our processes smarter and more efficient. Towards this, we have defined a roadmap for incorporating Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the Yard’s processes and procedures and accordingly are working with academia and industry,” said Cmde Bharat Bhushan Nagpal (Retd.), Chairman and Managing Director (M/s Goa Shipyard Ltd). In an interview with Aeromag, he talks about the latest updates of the shipyard and its future plans.

GSL is rigorously pursuing the prospects of supplying its range of products to friendly countries. Could you talk about the company’s export business and clients?

GSL has made significant inroads into global market with the export of vessels to Middle East, Africa and South East Asia and is presently recognized as the largest exporter of defence vessels in the Indian Subcontinent. The past exports include 11 Fast Interceptor Boats (FIB), two Fast Patrol Vessels (FPV) to Mauritius, two Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) to Sri Lanka, and Damage Control Simulator to Myanmar with all deliveries completed before contracted schedule.

In line with the stated strategic objective of Govt of India for enhancing defence exports, GSL is putting all out efforts for export of its products. A few of our projects are in advanced stages of finalisation. We are in dialogue with our DAs in Indian Missions to promote our products. We have also commenced export of soft skills in shipbuilding design to our neighbours.

GSLs in house designed Advanced OPV which have been supplied to the Indian Navy, Coast Guard and also exported in the past was showcased as the IOR OPV during the Aero India Show held in Feb this year. We see a good market for our standardised products like OPVs, FACs, FPVs and FIBs. Where we stand out is the fact that we deliver our products on time with no cost overruns.

What are the shipyard’s policy initiatives to boost foreign collaborations for nurturing R&D, widening client base and innovating new technologies?

In order to bring world-class technology to India and manufacture equipment/ systems here with significant indigenous content, GSL has collaborated with various leading OEMs in advanced countries. GSL has also entered into MoUs with various Industry and Academic Institutions such as Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), NBCC, L&T and IIT Goa to further boost its indigenisation and research efforts.

GSL has a well-established R&D centre, which has been recognized and registered as in-house R&D unit by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. The Yard’s capability to innovatively design seafaring platforms has been gainfully utilized over the years to produce most potent platforms. We have recognised the need to keep pace with Industry 4.0 requirements to keep our processes smarter and more efficient. Towards this, we have defined a roadmap for incorporating Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the Yard’s processes and procedures and accordingly are working with academia and industry.

In keeping with the Government’s thrust towards adoption of Artificial Intelligence into Defence Systems and processes, GSL has embarked upon a strategy for building a vibrant AI ecosystem with intelligent machines enabling high-level cognitive processes in its shipbuilding products and processes. The Yard continuously focuses on improving the productivity and efficiency with focus on technology intensive processes. As part of digital strategy, GSL in collaboration with an Industry partner has developed a Condition Monitoring System (CMS) using Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Main Engine On-Board for Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV). The system brings together best of engineering and data science expertise to solve the complex problem of engine health prediction.

How does GSL associate with MSME, startup and private companies to support the Indigenization drive launched by the government? What are the policies and programmes to support Atmanirbhar Bharat?

GSL provides a huge business platform in sync with preference to ‘Make in India’ drive to encourage domestic industry for participation in development of items locally. Yard has taken up a host of measures to encourage participation of MSMEs in its shipbuilding efforts. The National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC) has been included as approved vendor by GSL for participation in limited tenders floated by GSL.

In order to encourage procurement from MSEs as per Public procurement policy, Public Sector Undertakings are mandated to meet a target of 25% annual procurements from MSEs with a sub-target of 5% to be procured from MSEs owned by SC/ST entrepreneurs and minimum of 3% procurement from women-owned MSEs within the above mentioned 25% reservation. During FY 2020-21, GSL achieved 43.34% of the indigenous procurement from MSE sector, as against the revised mandatory target of 25%. GSL has also reserved 18 Shipbuilding Project items for exclusive procurement from MSEs over and above the list of 358 items as reserved by GoI as per MSME orders.

We have a robust Vendor Development program in place which looks into Regular conduct of vendor meets, active participation in vendor meet at Regional as well as National level, facilitating yard visit for vendors for interaction with stakeholders at GSL and understand requirement, imparting training on TReDS to MSEs, rebate in Class approval fee for MSEs owned by SC/ST entrepreneurs from Indian Register of Shipping and Handholding local suppliers.

GSL has proactively taken initiative for 10% Rebate in Class approval fee for MSEs owned by SC/ST entrepreneurs through Indian Register of Shipping. GSL has implemented waiver of Tender Fee and EMD to MSE vendors, Implemented waiver of submission of Security Deposit by MSEs holding   valid NSIC registration Certificate for supply of Goods.

The Indigenization efforts of GSL are yielding good results, as the indigenous content has been increased to over 70% on current 05 CG OPV project under construction.  One of the major import substitution equipment was the Gear Boxes for Coast Guard OPVs manufactured by M/s Walchandnagar Industries Ltd (WIL).

The on-going P1135.6 Frigates Project at GSL is also likely to have fairly large level of indigenous components, including major equipment, weapons and sensors, control and monitoring systems, etc. GSL has identified many of the major equipment for indigenization in the Frigate Project.

How do you look at the years ahead for GSL? What are the expansion plans and major goals to be achieved?

With the present upgraded capacity GSL can undertake concurrent construction of 14 steel hulled vessels at a time, 08 at Hull Fabrication stage and 06 at the outfitting stage. In addition, we can undertake concurrent construction of 05 FRP hull ships such as MCMVs. So now our focus is to expand the product portfolio and cater to the ever-increasing requirements of the Indian Navy and Coast Guard. A large number of projects are lined up for both Indian Navy and Coast Guard and GSL is confident of bagging few of these. In addition to the mid-sized vessels where we have domain expertise, we are developing expertise in niche segments such as Hovercrafts and Missile Vessels. We have ramped up our expertise and capabilities to execute these additional shipbuilding projects concurrent to the ongoing long-term project for Missile Frigates.

Taking into consideration the dynamic management, exceptional track record and outstanding performance of the yard, GSL has been entrusted with the construction of advanced missile Frigates with the most advanced weaponry and systems.

As a Defence Public sector Undertaking, Goa Shipyard Limited has over the years played a significant role in the specialised field of shipbuilding, contributing in no small measure towards meeting the requirements of Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard for sturdy and dependable vessels that would effectively safeguard the nation’s extensive territorial waters and shipping lanes. The momentum of growth and expansion garnered in the recent past is sure to continue with GSL building bigger and better ships in future for nation’s requirements.

The considerably big Order Books comprising the 2 Advance Missile Frigate Project, diversified product range, Ship refits along with few Export orders in the pipeline combined with excellent execution and planning skills developed over the years has placed GSL in a league of its own when compared to other Yards of the country. GSL is a yard that is profit-making debt-free, enjoys excellent Industrial Relations and has a diversified product portfolio. Our varied client base both within the country that includes Defence Forces, Inland Waterways, State Governments and international customers are extremely satisfied with our performance over the years.