Finland: Shippax Develops New Sandwich-Structure System for Accommodation Cabins


Shippax Ltd is a forward-looking Finnish SME that has boldly begun to develop new innovations for the shipbuilding industry. The revolutionary sandwich-structure construction system for accommodation cabins is based on the steel Fixcel panels developed by Shippax.

Concerns about the future of Finnish shipyards have been expressed in public even by a representative of the Ministry of Employment and Economy. At the end of January in Turku, director Anssi Paasivirta said the following: “I urge you shipbuilders to prepare yourself for the possibility that in the future cruise liners will no longer be built in Finland.”

Shippax CEO Tapio Kordelin views the future differently.

We began to develop the multi-storey honeycomb structures on the basis of our own patent. Now, the development has reached its final stage, and prototypes and pilot projects are just around the corner.

We have studied, together with our numerous collaborators, how the Fixcel method can be applied to the hull of a cruise ship: strengths, shaking, acceleration and vibration have been measured and tested. Fire resistance tests have been performed in co-operation with the Technical Research Centre of Finland, sound measurements have been conducted at the Tampere University of Technology and diverse ship testing has taken place with STX.

Strength calculations have been carried out in co-operation with Foreship. The Fixcel technique is well-suited for the purposes of shipbuilding and offshore applications. On land, the method is utilised by Neapo Ltd, a spin-off company established in 2007, which has built a daycare centre in Hämeenlinna and is about to start a project in Vantaa involving the construction of three multi-storey houses. In addition, an office building is about to be constructed in Turku, built by Shippax on behalf of Neapo. The homepage of Fimecc Ltd has video material demonstrating the technique.

The hull and hotel block of the cruise ship are built separately In the Fixcel method, the cabins are hoisted to the cruise ship in macromodules comprising 6–12 cabins, forming the frame of the hotel block. The cabins come complete with floors and ready-made with balconies and wet room tiling. The structure is very rigid and the modules can be delivered completely finished from the factory to the shipyard over long distances. The maintenance rooms required for different systems are prefabricated, the tubing is vertical and couplings need to be made only on the interfaces of the modules.

The levels of quality and appearance are raised to new heights because the modules are constructed completely indoors. For the first time, it is stucturally possible to produce a glass façade even for a whole cabin. Fixcel structures aim at considerable savings The weight of the hotel areas is expected to decrease by approximately 10 % from what they weigh now, and, despite this, there will be an increase of 10 % in cabin capacity in the volume available. An extra cabin deck can be built into a typical large cruise ship without increasing its overall height. Alternatively, the ship’s displacement can be reduced and its centre of mass moved lower.

Depending on the type of the ship, the total cost of hotel areas will decrease by 10–20 %, and the construction time of the ship will shorten by 2–3 months. 60–70 % less labour will be needed for onboard construction in the cabin areas. In addition, knowing that transporting a ton by sea requires one ton of fuel per year, lighter structures will also cut emissions and operating costs.


Source: shippax, May 26, 2011;