Designing the CNB 76: A Luxury Yacht for the 21st Century

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Nicolas Claris has spent more than 30 years in and around boats. He’s been a skipper, a designer, and a construction yard manager. But he is best known for his yacht photography. His award-winning portfolio includes pictures for dozens of international clients, each hoping he’ll make their boats look worthy of a magazine cover.

“With my photography, I try to share what moves me most about a well-made vessel,” says Claris. “The elegance, the balance, the symmetry….”

One long-time favorite of Claris’ lens are the CNB yachts, manufactured by a builder in Bordeaux, France. Claris says he’s been shooting CNB yachts since 2000, and they’re some of the most beautiful he’s seen.

We think so too. And we’re proud to say that CNB creates these inspiring crafts using PTC Creo.

The Mission

CNB’s mission is to design and build boats that are fast, beautiful, seaworthy, comfortable, and safe. For more than 25 years, the company has been producing yachts and superyachts, catamarans, and passenger transport ships—from initial design to launch.

The company’s latest model, the CNB 76, is its largest production yacht to date. At seventy-six feet stern to bow, the CNB 76 can take her crew and guests across the seven seas in complete, customized luxury with total peace of mind.

Creativity

2013 CNB 76 Yacht
2013 CNB 76 Yacht

“We are building the CNB 76 out of composites, with a perfectly streamlined hull shape and overall design truly worthy of the 21st century,” says Sébastien Lucas, senior engineer on the project.

The yacht is designed entirely in 3D, which leads to unprecedented precision. For example, its mass is optimized and managed to the kilogram, even for elements weighing several tons. Parts measuring more than 25 meters are assembled with exactness down to one millimeter.

The company also pays great attention to the yacht’s interior space. “The roof includes windows all around, giving a panoramic view,” says Lucas. “While rectangular port holes stream light into the interior, making for an open, harmonious, and comfortable environment.”

Teamwork

The many designers, engineers, and skilled workers that create the new yacht use various PTC Creo apps. “With PTC Creo,” says Lucas “the team can work concurrently on the overall yacht including the hull, interiors, piping and electrical systems, the massive 25m-long hull and molds, technical documentation, manufacturing instructions, and marketing literature.”

Dorian Brennan, who is responsible for cabling and piping systems, adds, “With PTC Creo and the schematics capabilities, I can explore a range of solutions for the systems directly within the precise 3D representation of the yacht. There are no boundaries on creativity with PTC Creo, and it really helps me turn an idea into a practical solution.”

Efficiency

Full 3D Model Enables Client Collaboration
Full 3D Model Enables Client Collaboration

PTC Creo helps the CNB team complete most of its design work early, and with confidence that all design data is always up-to-date. That way the client can provide early approval and commit to the project. At the same time, engineering can make sure the yacht is built within budget. Plus, manufacturing can start work with high-quality and accurate data, ensuring cycle times and costs are kept down.

During development, clients can continue to offer feedback easily. “We can explore alternative designs, and select the best one to move forward with,” says Lucas. Clients, but also skippers and subcontractors view and understand the designs in 3D, without needing to take a trip to the shipyard with every change. The access to the digital mock-up provides a much better representation than a picture of the boat. That’s because clients can view even hidden parts. “And we’re absolutely sure we’re building the boat the client wants.”

When you realize that the whole new series of yachts or superyachts are created with no physical prototypes, you further understand the importance of the digital mock-up. Going far beyond the realm of engineering, the digital mock-up now serves the whole company, at a global level.

Productivity

CNB 76 fully modeled in PTC Creo
CNB 76 fully modeled in PTC Creo

The move to PTC Creo was relatively recent. Brennan says the transition was smooth, and the new software has made design a lot easier and more unified. “It’s increased my productivity dramatically,” he says. “PTC Creo saves a lot of time in our daily tasks.”

The benefits of PTC Creo design software are even more pronounced when combined with product lifecycle management (PLM). For example, on a previous model , the CNB 77, the development of the first generation required 12,000 hours. Thanks to 3D data reuse, the latest generations took 4,300 to 5,200 hours.

PTC Windchill for PLM makes collaboration easy between other departments, for example, purchasing, provisioning, and industrialization, easy. PLM and CAD tools together enabled CNB to reorganize and restructure the company’s processes.

In the past, the engineering department at CNB spent 40% of its time restructuring the digital mock-up to keep it up-to-date with the commercial view. That’s no longer necessary. Plus, file preview features speed up working with and sharing a model.

Last but not least, the multi-CAD capability provided by PTC Creo is vital for CNB. As a part of Groupe Beneteau, CNB can now work seamlessly with CAD files created with different CAD software.

Results

Facing tough, global competition on price and style, CNB now delivers more products in the shortest time ever. “The combination of PTC Creo and PTC Windchill is undoubtedly the best product development platform available,” says Paul Rampini, industrial director at CNB.

Rampini oversaw the design and development of the new yacht and says that PTC solutions have revolutionized how the company works. “We’ve grown rapidly over the past 10 years, and PTC’s solutions have supported that growth. Today, we’re designing award-winning yachts in the shortest time possible, while still adding major new innovations.” He’s got the data to prove it:

  • The CNB 76 went from initial idea to production in 24 months.
  • On the previous model, the CNB 77, the development time has been cut by more than six months compared to the previous generation of CNB 77.

But let’s go back to our photographer. As a former builder, Nicolas Claris understands the value of improved productivity and efficiency. Still, he says what makes a boat stand out most is the way it looks. And that’s where the CNB yacht sails above the rest.

“The CNB 76 is one of the most beautiful and elegant yachts I’ve ever seen.”

Check out CNB and their latest yacht, find out more about Nicolas Claris, and see how great products come to life with PTC Creo.