Gibbs & Cox, Inc. is a recognized leader in the development of Design Control processes for design projects. Gibbs & Cox, Inc. defines design control as a systematic approach by a team of designers to concurrently layout, define and evaluate all physical elements of a product within a controlled environment. Benefits of design control are optimized arrangements of equipment and systems, elimination of physical interferences, reduced installation costs by reducing rework during ship construction, allowing more prefabrication work to be done in the shop and cost effective integration of design deliverables.
There are several requisite activities that constitute an effective design control program. One of these is interference checking. Interference checking is the identification and subsequent elimination of physical interferences within a design project. This process takes into consideration the volume of each item within a defined boundary including each system, system component, piece of structure, equipment, fixture and all the access spaces required to either operate or maintain the items within the space. Gibbs & Cox, Inc. has evolved the interference checking tools and process from a purely manual quality check involving composite Mylar drawings overlaid on light tables to an automated process using computer based interference checking programs in the evaluation of 3D CAD model geometry. The 3D CAD interference checking is supplemented by tools such as visualization software where the models are rendered in solid surfaces and the design control checkers conduct a virtual walk-through of the project to check everything from hard and soft interferences, human engineering factors, and overall functionality of the layout. This aspect has become extremely important for the ship constructors, and the engineers who can use the visualization tool to get a feel for how the finished product will look. Many improvements have resulted from these reviews and a lot of time and money has been saved by having a good interference checking program implemented for a design project. Gibbs & Cox, Inc. has also developed techniques for conducting interference checking using 2D AutoCAD design. The method essentially uses an electronic overlay system with the addition of some unique attributes that allow the checker to evaluate the spatial relationship of all the components within a space. Gibbs & Cox, Inc. has a method to perform design control for virtually every method used to develop design.
Design Control is a scalable quality assurance process and can be tailored to the project size and the requirements of a contract. Gibbs & Cox, Inc. has added new elements to the design control process for our programs as they are required. Some of these elements are penetration control tracking and checking, priority routing and advanced scope change package development. Gibbs & Cox, Inc. has also helped other companies set up design control groups which have resulted in significant quality improvements of design products and schedule performance.
Summary of some of the elements of a comprehensive Design Control process
- Lay out optimized equipment arrangements
- Identify priority routes for initial system lay out.
- Maintain a controlled design baseline for all groups to work from.
- Help scheduler with the design logic necessary to develop coordinated schedules
- Conduct interference checking of all detail design products.
- Control interface points between zones and conduct penetration control checking
- Check design for human engineering factors such as access, operation and safety.
- Check design products for contract or ship specification adherence.
- Coordinate design reviews with engineers and designers to get approval of the design.
- Document the design history as it develops.
3D CAD design control review illustrating the accessibility of a valve hand wheel.