Ker Yacht Design uses state-of-the-art technology, techniques and processes throughout the research and design processes. Most of the research work is conducted in-house, however where a certain speciality skill or knowlege is required, we have a strong network of consultants who include our software suppliers.
We use software to both make the process faster and the results better. We habitually set up streamlined processes that allow us to carry out repetitive tasks automatically and through the time saved, we are able to focus our attendition on the creative aspects of the job where the real gains are to be found. These systems capture knowledge efficiently and allow designers to spend their time designing with powerful tools rather than spending their time entering/collecting data.
Since 2003 all Ker designs have been entirely modelled in the computer in 3D using NX, to ensure a high degree of accuracy of the surfaces which gives the boat builders a more precise model to work from. NX combines with solid assembly modelling, advanced surface modelling and computer aided engineering tools. NX is a fully parametric CAD system allowing components such as the hull to be replaced or modified whilst automatically adapting other affected parts such as internal structures. NX is a best-in-class tool chosen by other demanding users such as Red Bull F1, SpaceX and Mercedes Benz.
Ker Yacht Design use an FEA package – NX Nastran – that is fully integrated with our cad system – allowing the design team to assess the structural integrity of components or an entire vessel structure with a high degree of accuracy and as a routine part of our workflow. This process allows the structure and its loadpaths to be better understood and for excess material to be removed whilst ensuring that highly stressed areas of complex geometry are sufficiently reinforced, making the Ker designs stronger and lighter.
Ker Yacht design has been at the forefront of the use of CFD for yacht optimisation and since 2010 has extensively used Numeca's FINE/Marine CFD code for hull and appendage optimisation. Continuous improvement in techniques and validation over the years using experimental data means we can confidently rely on our CFD data to guide and validate improvements. Ker Yacht Design runs its own compute cluster and has used external super-computers when timescales have demanded it.
When embarking on a project in a new design space (for example a commission for a new class, a modified handicap rule, or a new size range), Ker Yacht Design can use a customised Automated Batch Processing System. This allows hundreds or even thousands of variations of a design to be produced and set up for CFD analysis.
To analyse the resulting data Ker Yacht Design makes use of neural network techniques. Neural network simulators are designed to emulate the way that biological “brains” work to assimilate and interpret large quantities and to “learn” patterns quicker than traditional iterative methods. In simple terms Ker Yacht Design can feed the Neural-Network a large number of design variations and results from the ABPS/CFD system and the network will “learn” the effect of each parameter (e.g. mast height or draft) on performance. The Networks output can then be used to predict the performance of a new combination of parameters without having to test the particular design in CFD, allowing rapid and extensive optimisation and/or the creation of very accurate VPP models of a design or set of designs.
Tank testing of yachts at large scale is now used mainly to validate CFD software and techniques, but our Ship hull optimisation customers typically use the Tank to confirm the final gains that have been predicted by CFD. To date the tank and CFD deltas between baseline and optimised hull forms have always agreed within one percent.