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Passenger Ship Technology

Innovation key for cruise and ferry flooring

Fri 13 Apr 2018 by Rebecca Moore

Innovation key for cruise and ferry flooring
Bolidt has launched decking embedded with LED lighting

Flooring manufacturers have developed and launched innovative solutions for cruise ships and ferries. Rebecca Moore unveils recent major developments 

Cruise and ferry flooring manufacturers are investing heavily in innovation.

This is certainly the case for Bolidt. Bolidt head of maritime division, Jacco van Overbeek highlighted the innovation and effort the company is putting into research and development in an interview with PST. The Dutch flooring company launched decking that incorporates LED lighting at Seatrade Cruise Global in March this year.

He explained “The LED lighting can be programmed in any shape or form, in different colours, multi-colours or can include changing colours.”

The lighting system is 15 mm thick. “It is a very durable lighting system that doesn’t wear quickly so it lasts as long as the decks themselves. When we renew the decks we can do the lighting at the same time,” said Mr van Overbeek.

All that is needed during installation is a wire to connect the connections box, which can be installed in a wall and connected with a plug. 

Bolidt has used LED floor lighting on helicopter decks on mega yachts, but never on a cruise ship before.

“It can be used as a design feature, both inside and out,” said Mr van Overbeek. “The reaction from the industry has been amazing.”

Bolidt is working on another innovative concept – deck sensor flooring. This is still a work in progress and is not expected to be ready for market for 18 months to two years. The concept involves a reaction within the deck to step-on movement. The person stepping on the deck will set off a sound which can be used to alert crew if someone is entering a zone they are forbidden to enter, if children are playing in areas they shouldn’t or if water is leaking in a technical area.

And Mr van Overbeek said the solution could go even further and be included in the big data drive. “If linked to a computer, data analysis could be carried out,” he explained. An example of where this could help is if there is a fire on board. The system could alert crew to people not yet at drill stations.

Bolidt is aiming to use deck sensor flooring on cruise ships and ferries.  

Bolidt is developing the technology itself. Mr van Overbeek said this was a “big secret” but was able to say that a liquid would be used as a sensor rather than an electronic contact. Explaining the benefits, he said “There is no risk of failure as there are no moving parts to it, as with an electric system.”

As well as sounding an alarm, light could also be used as an alert to crew. The sensor can be used with Future Teak and Select Soft decking.

“We are really enthusiastic about it and really believe in this product,” Mr van Overbeek said.

Elsewhere, new and innovative solutions are also important for UK-headquartered Forbo Flooring Systems. Technical representative for Forbo’s flooring solution Coral, Dick van Bergen said “First impressions are crucial, which is why effective entrance flooring that stops dirt and moisture being tracked on board is fundamental to modern day cruise and ferry design.”

Forbo Flooring Systems already has such an entrance system, Coral T32 FR, within its marine product portfolio. However, it was decided during 2017 that this collection needed updating to be more in line with both current and future demands.

Therefore, the company has launched its new IMO-certified textile entrance system Coral Marine FR, which absorbs moisture and removes dry soiling in entrance and circulation areas. 

Mr van Bergen said “By removing wet and dry soiling from the soles of shoes and wheel treads, an effective entrance system reduces premature wear and tear to interior floor coverings, minimises cleaning and maintenance costs and protects passengers by reducing slip hazards.”

The product stops up to 95% of dirt and moisture from being tracked on board. It is constructed out of a wool and polyamide mix and is available in eight colours.

It meets all the fire safety standards set by IMO. “Yarn and backing systems have been developed to meet the stringent smoke toxicity and low flame spread standards required,” said Mr van Bergen.

Quantifying structure-borne noise

Last year, Sikafloor Marine announced its collaboration with an acoustics specialist to quantify the reduction of structure-borne noise in its acoustic flooring solutions.

The company explained that the control of unwanted noise on ships is an ongoing issue for owners, builders and designers. Flooring and wall panelling with insulation and resilient layering are the most commonly used systems, although there are myriad options available. It highlighted that noise sources such as propulsion systems and generators act as sources of vibrational energy that can manifest throughout the vessel as structure-borne noise.

There is no ISO standard for measuring structure-borne sound and damping properties for marine floors and bulkheads so Sikafloor Marine has been working with leading acoustics specialist Delta Acoustics of Denmark to measure the damping properties of its structure-borne systems.

“In order to minimise this transfer of energy throughout the vessel and so reduce nuisance noise, passive damping systems are most commonly used whereby the vibrations are diverted into special materials or structural components that dissipate the energy,” said Tony Jenkins, key account manager for Sika Marine in the UK. “Damping systems do not isolate vessel structures from the vibration source but instead reduce the magnitude of the vibration within the structure. Thanks to our collaboration with Delta Acoustics, we are now able to measure this reduction of magnitude and provide this information to the acoustic experts involved in the design of vessels.”

Marine carpet supplier Dansk Wilton has also launched a new product. Based on its Colortec technology, the company has created the new carpet quality, DW Twist by combining hard-twisted yarn and normal velvet yarn. Dansk Wilton said the mix of yarns creates a shimmering texture and a 3D-type effect.  

New contracts

Dansk Wilton has supplied all the carpet designs for the public areas on MSC Meraviglia and MSC Seaside and deliveries for MSC Seaview are well under way. The greatest part of the design work has been done in close collaboration with Italian design and technical consultancy Studio De Jorio, which wanted a series of large, striking graphic patterns in several areas. Dansk Wilton commented that “the stringent and simple graphics made extra demands on the design and technical execution to ensure that the carpets fitted precisely together”.

Dansk Wilton delivered custom-designed Axminster carpets to all public areas.

Elsewhere, Bolidt has highlighted its strong relationship with Norwegian Cruise Line as it announced that it has seven ship projects currently with the company. Work in hand includes the newbuildings Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Encore, and refits for Norwegian Star, Norwegian Sun, Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Jewel and Pride of America.

The 323 m long, 4,000-passenger capacity Norwegian Bliss is nearing completion at Meyer Werft in Papenburg, with service entry set for July.

Norwegian Bliss will sail with 6,700 m2 of Bolideck Select Hard, which will mainly be used as an underlay surface on steel balconies throughout the vessel. Also used extensively is Bolideck Select Soft, a synthetic system that has high anti-skid properties and is easy to clean. Around 8,900 m2 of Bolideck Select Soft has been used in various areas on board.

Approximately 5,575 m2 of Bolideck Future Teak has been installed to cover most of the cabin balconies and some public spaces. Several balconies on board Norwegian Bliss have also been fitted with Bolideck Future Teak as part of Bolidt’s Smart Balcony system – a concept using composite interlinked planks, which are easier and quicker to install and repair than poured materials.


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