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Naval Architect As Entrepreneur
Nowadays many naval architects are leaving well paying jobs to start their own entrepreneurial ventures. In this article, I will explore the minimum requirements a naval architect needs to start his own entrepreneurial venture.
Various opportunities for a naval architect as an entrepreneur
i) Start their own shipyard / ship repair yard
ii) Start your own design firm
iii). Start Naval Architectural Consulting
Starting your own shipyard / repair yard will be out of reach for most wannabe entrepreneurs due to the huge amount of capital involved. I will not discuss this matter further.
Start your own design firm
Naval Architect is a designer by profession. Design is his bread and butter and hence setting up a design firm will not be all that difficult for a wannabe entrepreneur. Let us see one by one, the minimum requirements for setting up a firm. I will not go into the business plan and cash flow required to set up a design firm as there are many books/articles on the net.
i) knowledge base: Thorough knowledge of Naval Architecture inside-out touching all aspects of Naval Architecture. This includes (but may not cover everything) line planning, hydrostatics, stability, preliminary weight and volume design, weight estimation, volume estimation, resistance, propulsion, ship structure, sea protection and maneuvering. This knowledge base can be your own, and if you feel you want to increase your knowledge base, then you can hire naval architects to do the work for you. If you are a one-man army, your costs for maintaining a knowledge base will be limited to the books and journals you subscribe to, to keep yourself updated. If you are hiring naval architects, you should also factor in their costs. However if you say as an entrepreneur, then I am confident that your knowledge base will be enough to set you up, in the early stages. Later, once your business takes off, you can increase your workforce.
ii) Office for recruitment: You must have an office space to set up your naval architectural firm. The office has 1-2 rooms, covering a floor area of approximately 1000-1200 sqft. The costs will depend on the area you choose to rent your office.
iii). software; In the early days, all naval architecture calculations were done manually or, at most, using slide rules and logarithmic tables. However, things have changed with the advent of computers. Nowadays sophisticated softwares are there to fulfill every aspect of naval architecture calculations. These softwares start from concept design and develop to full design at workshop level stage. However these proprietary software are very expensive as they are not mass produced to cater to millions of users. A license can cost up to a million dollars. This would make it out of reach for most budding naval architects. However, if one has the resources, go for it. Some of the proprietary software used in ship design field are TRIBON, AUTOKON and SHIPCONSTRUCTOR.
However these days, with the advent of open source software and freeware, one can get almost all the functions of proprietary software in these OSS and free software, though not all in one.
For drafting the line plan, one can go for AUTOCAD. A single license, costs anywhere between 1000-1500 US$. However, these days there are excellent freeware drafting software, which one can use. I recommend FREESHIP, an excellent software with all the drafting and graphic functionality of a proprietary software.
For hydrostatic calculations and detailed stability calculations, one can go for MS EXCEL or open office spreadsheet. With the help of these spreadsheets calculations can also be made for hydrostatics, stability, resistance (based on various empirical formulas) and propulsion calculations.
I will talk about other free open source software in the next article. I would like to summarize the essence of my argument here.
Softwares for establishing a ship design consultancy firm are now available as open source software. If one has to do some calculations which are not completed by these softwares, one can always go for spreadsheet applications using Open Office or other similar open source products.
iv). Other overheads: Includes office furniture, stationary, etc.
Starting your own consulting firm
A naval architect is a jack of all trades. His areas of expertise include mechanical engineering, architecture, interior designing, chemical engineering, corrosion, welding technology, software writing skills, project management, hydrodynamics, ocean and offshore structures, among others.
He can offer consultation on various topics.
i) Preliminary concept design including preliminary estimates of sizing, hydrostatics and stability, resistance and propulsion, weight.
ii) Propeller-engine matching
iii). Boat/Ferry Design
iv). Propeller design
v). Structural Calculations / Buckling Calculations
vi). Computational Fluid Dynamics
vii). Finite element analysis
viii). offshore structures
ix). Submarine Cable and Pipe Design
x). Calculate resistance
xi). Count the moves
xiii). Seakeeping calculations
xiii). Welding and corrosion related consultancy
xiv). Many others cannot be detailed
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