As a result of the progressive implantation of the Industry 4.0 paradigm, many industries are experimenting a revolution that shipyards cannot ignore. Therefore, the application of the principles of Industry 4.0 to shipyards are leading to the creation of Shipyards 4.0. Due to this, Navantia, one of the 10 largest shipbuilders in the world, is updating its whole inner workings to keep up with the near-future challenges that a Shipyard 4.0 will have to face. Such challenges can be divided into three groups: the vertical integration of production systems, the horizontal integration of a new generation of value creation networks, and the re-engineering of the entire production chain, making changes that affect the entire life cycle of each piece of a ship. Pipes, which exist in a huge number and varied typology on a ship, are one of the key pieces, and its monitoring constitutes a prospective cyber-physical system. Their improved identification, traceability, and indoor location, from production and through their life, can enhance shipyard productivity and safety. In order to perform such tasks, this article first conducts a thorough analysis of the shipyard environment. From this analysis, the essential hardware and software technical requirements are determined. Next, the concept of smart pipe is presented and defined as an object able to transmit signals periodically that allows for providing enhanced services in a shipyard. In order to build a smart pipe system, different technologies are selected and evaluated, concluding that passive and active RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) are currently the most appropriate technologies to create it. Furthermore, some promising indoor positioning results obtained in a pipe workshop are presented, showing that multi-antenna algorithms and Kalman filtering can help to stabilize Received Signal Strength (RSS) and improve the overall accuracy of the system.
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