Celebrating National Engineering Month: Digital Innovation on the CSC Team

Meet Stephen Pope, Junior Engineer at Irving Shipbuilding

Stephen Pope is a Junior Engineer with Irving Shipbuilding on the team preparing for the build phase of the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) for the Royal Canadian Navy.

A graduate of the Memorial University of Newfoundland, Stephen is playing a lead role in the continuous improvement of a Digital Twin solution for the CSC. Stephen’s involvement and responsibility in the project has grown considerably since he began with ISI. We had the opportunity to speak with Stephen about his role.

Q: What is a Digital Twin?

A: As the name would imply, a “Digital Twin” is a complete digital representation of a physical product, powered by engineering data which remains synchronized across various systems and software. For the CSC, that product is the ship itself, and the tens of thousands of parts which are used to make it.

Q: What is the benefit of a Digital Twin for the CSC?

A: Our “Digital Twin” for CSC uses aspects of the concept which are most beneficial to the project and is built from a Product Lifecycle Management toolset –this holds all the information and data required to design, build, and maintain the ship over its lifetime.

Q: What learning took place in this process?

A: Canada had identified from an early stage that there was a need for a capability like the “Digital Twin”, so I worked with Canada to further define the requirements for such a technology. Part of that process involved researching existing industry capability and our current shipyard solutions for managing data.

Q: How have you helped to introduce the new capability of a Digital Twin to your team?

A: I worked with the JD Irving IT and the ISI Integrated Data Environment (IDE) Team to incrementally define, test, and incorporate this technology into our day-to-day lives on the CSC Project, as well as provide training to my co-workers to ensure that they are maximizing the potential of these tools to their full advantage.

Q: How is the Digital Twin solution related to the CSC Virtual Visualization Suite, launched last year in Ottawa, by BAE Systems?

A: Thanks to the Digital Twin, the information and models for the CSC that our partner, BAE Systems, generates from their office in Glasgow, Scotland are the same information and models that ISI employees are viewing and working with here in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The same goes for Canada, and other CSC Subcontractors. All stakeholders are working from the same source which helps to make the Virtual Visualization Suite possible.

Q: Engineers across Canada are recognizing opportunities for 'lifelong learning' this month; how are you learning to adapt to a highly virtual work environment?

A: The COVID-19 pandemic brought some unique challenges, regardless of age or profession. Fortunately, advances in technology which ISI has implemented from the beginning of the CSC project, such as the “Digital Twin”, and meeting platforms such as Microsoft Teams, have allowed our teams within ISI to remain highly efficient from the comfort and safety of our own homes if necessary.

In a time of global instability, work has been a welcomed source of stability, all made possible by the tools and resources we are employing on the CSC Project.


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