Monday, 25 August, 2008

Exclusive interview with Robert Hexter, Sener Area Manager & Akshay Jain, CEO, Vedam Design & Technical Consultancy Pvt. Ltd

Q) Tell us how Sener came into being.

Robert Hexter: I worked in a family company – a Spanish company, which started off in 1956 as a ship designing company creating ship designs for its own internal use. At that time computers started to become commercially employed. So the company began to employ computers for ship designing. So we developed an original system for designing of ships at that time.

Q) Tell us about your latest venture in India?

Robert Hexter: In India we have formed a partnership with Vedam Design & Technical Consultancy Pvt Ltd. They use FORAN and help us in local support which is very necessary in the Indian ship building industry.

Q) To what extent is FORAN in use in India?

Akshay Jain: It is being used by ABG Shipyard, Surat and by the National Ship Design & Research Centre, Visakhapatnam. Vedam being a marine design company it gives us a very good advantage because we are able to give strong support to this industry in India. Hence local support becomes very important for such ventures. We are a core design company and we understand each and every aspect of FORAN and know how advantageously it can be used by shipyards. We can design every kind of vessel without limitation for offshore, marine, coastal, inland waterways, navies, etc.

Q) Tell us about the advantages and strengths of FORAN?

Robert Hexter FORAN is a software which has different modules. It can do ship designing encompassing every aspect including structures, machinery, electrical, etc. So this software covers initial designs, stability, hull modelling, etc. An important feature of FORAN is that the kind of output which can be generated proves very helpful for the production plan. This is because for ship building to grow production has to be mechanised. The output which is generated from FORAN can very easily be used to improvise and reduce the man hours in the production phase. Besides, FORAN is important because it works in a single data base.

Q) What are the outstanding features of FORAN that make it more powerful than other systems?

Robert Hexter: The basic idea of FORAN system is that you design the whole ship and try using the computer in a 3D model first. So before you send any information you are sure that information is correct before commencing production and this avoids a lot of problems of re-working, etc. This helps to increase productivity in ship yards by designing the 3D product model of the ship before undertaking its construction.

Q) Now what is it that you have on offer?

Akshay Jain: We are already designing ships with FORAN and have both Indian and foreign customers. For shipyards we can also give them the software and if they want we can help design for them, assist them by providing training and assist in the installation.

Q) Why do you consider FORAN more powerful than other systems?

Robert Hexter: Sener as I mentioned are ship designers. So we know what we are talking about and we can help the customers in all aspects. We have the latest technology possible. Five years ago we reprogrammed the whole system to make it completely new taking into account all the possibilities, future technological improvements and all the anticipated possibilities in the changes in the software and hardware. We have 60 people working constantly developing and introducing the advances necessary to meet the demands of the ship building industry. We also get most of the ideas coming from our customers. As you know it is very important to have your customer feedback. There is a constant update and interaction between the designer of the ship and the designer of the software. A large percentage of the developments are by naval architects who have in-depth experience working in shipyards.

Q) How do you view the Indian market conditions?

Akshay Jain: It is very big market coming up here and has a great potential. This we assume especially after interacting with various shipyards and different technical people and we find that everyone is very positive on FORAN. They have been comparing FORAN with what is there in the market and find that our user-friendly software has many features that don’t exists in other software.

Q) What is the situation with regard to Indian shipyards and how do they design?

Robert Hexter: Some do part of their designing and some get it out sourced. Every shipyard has their design set-up. Some do some of their project designing in their outfit and get the rest done outside. So it all depends on the schedules they have, the deliveries they have, etc.

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