Babcock International Group

Babcock International Group is a provider of critical and complex engineering services to customers across defence, emergency services and civil nuclear.

About Babcock International Group

For more than a century, Babcock, the aerospace and defence company, has been trusted to deliver bespoke, highly-skilled engineering services.

We help customers in the UK and around the world to improve the capability, reliability and availability of their most critical assets within the four market sectors of Marine, Land, Aviation, and Nuclear, underpinned by a deep understanding of technology integration, unique infrastructure, and specialist training.

Babcock and Made Smarter Technology Accelerator

Jon Hall, Chief Innovation & Technology Officer at Babcock International Group said:

“As a technology-led business and a leading, large scale manufacturing authority in the UK, we understand the importance of innovation. That’s why we’re collaborating with some of the best engineering and academic institutions to deliver ground-breaking technology solutions that will add real value to our customers, develop our people, and strengthen our partnerships. Working with Made Smarter Technology Accelerator, and Digital Catapult will help us achieve this.”

Challenges brought to you by Industry Challenge Owner – Babcock

  • Challenge 1: Warrior base overhaul
  • Challenge 2: Digital shipbuilding

Challenge 1: Warrior base overhaul

Challenge Background

Babcock provides critical, complex engineering services in the UK and internationally. It delivers vital services and manages complex assets on behalf of public bodies across three key markets; defence, emergency services and civil nuclear.

This challenge looks to assess, develop and deliver a joined-up system that provides a digital twin to feed into the Warrior Armoured Fighting Vehicles Overhaul. A key element of the overhaul is to ensure the integrity of the vehicle hull – the armoured shell of the vehicle. Once stripped down to its bare condition (all components removed, paint removed, etc.), this has to be fully measured using FaroArm technology and stringent non-destructive testing (NDT). Although software is available for the FaroArm and also for NDT, it is not currently possible to bring the measurements and assessments together on to the Babcock system. The solution should include 3D measurements and allow for NDT data to be collated and assessed as one digital twin feed, with the data available to assure hull integrity and suitability for overhaul.

For this challenge

The solution should include 3D measurements and NDT to be collated and assessed as one, with the data available to assure hull integrity and suitability for overhaul. The solution will demonstrate the effective build-up of information in layers and the visualisation of this information, while taking into account the issues of intellectual property rights, availability of original equipment manufacturer data and limited access to computer aided design (CAD) drawings. Babcock is looking to visualise and track information digitally so that this process improves capacity to recall and compare information and records, as well as traceability and time reduction.

Introducing Jetsoft – minimum viable product phase startup

JetSoft will be working with Babcock International Group on the Warrior base overhaul challenge: This solution uses existing equipment and combined data output to create an automatic 3D dataset, to ease the hull inspection process.

Jim Sibson, Head of Research and Partnerships for Babcock International Group added:

“Innovation is often borne out of collaboration and the Made Smarter Technology Accelerator isn’t just testament to what can be achieved when we work together, but that real innovation doesn’t need to take years to have an impact.

“Ensuring the continuation of investment in projects through programmes like Made Smarter along with ongoing support to the companies that are making them happen will be absolutely fundamental to the future success of this country. We’re really proud to support the programme and I personally am really excited to see what they’ll deliver.”

Read more on this solution.

Challenge 2: Digital shipbuilding

Challenge Background

Large scale modular construction projects (including shipbuilding) use state-of-the-art computer aided design (CAD) modelling and analysis during the design stages. However, this valuable information is often lost or does not get translated efficiently through to the equipment and personnel on the manufacturing shop floor. Babcock is looking to develop a process to enable specific 3D data from a ship design model to be fed to the point of use. The software and hardware should be developed to consider along with new methods of presenting complex design data on the shop floor and new ways of managing data access, version control and change management.

In addition, the dynamic environment in modular construction and shipbuilding makes it difficult to display this information at the point of use (for example inside a ship compartment that is being outfitted), where methods such as touch screen monitors or even handheld mobile devices are not particularly suitable.

For this challenge 

Babcock is looking to develop a process to enable specific 3D data from a ship design model to be fed to the point of use using appropriate software and hardware with to consider:

  • New ways of presenting complex design data on the shop floor:
    • The specific environment – practical to use for the range of activities to be completed and in an industrial environment, which may contain hazards (for example, trip hazards, sharp edges, obstructions)
    • Flow down into the supply chain – covering different equipment, and providing remote access
  • New ways of managing data access, version control and change management:
    • The “phased-release” nature of the design process – how this impacts revision control, change management, etc. of the released design data

Introducing CAE Tech – prototype phase startup

As part of the prototype phase of the programme, CAE Tech Ltd worked with Babcock International Group on the digital shipbuilding challenge: Using tech from the gaming and music sectors to support shipbuilding engineers to collaborate on design in real time.

Read more on this solution.