Accommodating ambition

With a history dating back to 1984, Oy Shippax has evolved and developed over the years to become one of Finland’s greatest assets in the field of interior ship building. During its 25-year reign the company has delivered numerous cabin areas and manufactured thousands of cabin and bathroom modules, utilising innovative building methods to produce custom designs. After the delivery of galley and catering facilities to the cruise vessel Birka Princess built at Valmet’s Vuosaari shipyard in 1986, the organisation can be regarded as the first turnkey supplier in the Finnish shipbuilding industry to take the first step towards the assembly yard strategy.

Its origins in the catering areas of ships soon developed in 1993 when its expertise was redirected to leading suite and passenger cabin accommodation. Today Oy Shippax Ltd is widely recognised as a reliable cabin manufacturer and producer of complex complete turnkey projects that include all aspects of implementation from design, materials and installation to commissioning and project management on site.

With a focus on the passenger market, having enjoyed collaboration and contracts with some of the premier cruise liners in Europe, Juha Lahtivuori highlights some of the company’s greatest differentiators in the industry: “Our core competence is our ability to stay ahead of competition and move away from areas where prices are getting too tight and competitive. We are constantly looking for ways to innovate our offering and move away from other companies in the market. At present we are launching our new product known as Fixcel technology that is set to revolutionise the way in which cabins are manufactured and produced.”

Fixcel is characterised by a combination of rigidity with very low nominal weight making it ideal for constructions that require both horizontal and vertical stability. The Fixcel production method, utilising triple seam rolling technology to join hot-galvanized steel profiles, forms a loadbearing and corrosion resistant steel sandwich structure. Floors, walls, intermediate flooring and roofing are all typical applications for this extremely solid material, which provides an even surface for external insulation and internal surface finishes. The Fixcel roof structures can be installed without supporting beams or trusses, even overwide-span buildings. Additional credentials include being 100 per cent recyclable and therefore extremely environmentally friendly, while Oy Shippax’s prefabrication processes enable the company to minimise quality fluctuations, costs and material loss, as well as ecological impacts.

“We started to develop the Fixcel production method five years ago and we have carried out numerous tests for fire, noise and rigidity,” Juha explains. “This kind of product has not been done before and we have gained ten different patents for this system. Its potential for being the most light yet rigid construction method on the market offers clients a substantial reduction in use of material.” Another main advantage comes from the fact that traditionally prefabricated cabin modules are constructed without the floor elements and all background work such as insulation and HVAC systems have to accomplished onboard. So even with pre-fabricated cabins there is still a great deal of work to do before and after they have been transported to the ship. With the Fixcel element involved, it is possible to do all needed background work and final interior in the factory and actually stack cabins on top of each other without the need for other steel constructions like conventional decks, bulkheads or side shells. Fixcel forms a kind of super lego-like system. As a completely recyclable solution, the Fixcel technology is starting to be used by Oy Shippax’s spin-off company, Neapo, for the manufacture of penthouses, pre-fabricated lifts and staircase towers and energy saving houses, which is made possible by its airtight element.

“We will push this new way of building into the market and Fixcel will be a key area of emphasis for us over the coming years. We believe it has inordinate potential though recognition may take some time and there is still a great deal of work that needs to be done with regards to further investigation and testing. We are also trying to identify prospective contracts with new or existing clients where this solution will be both appropriate and successful. We have gained numerous lucrative projects in the past few years including our biggest to date, on the Oasis of the Seas owned by STX Finland Oy Turku Shipyard, where we installed nearly 1500 cabins including corridors and all surrounding cabin areas – we hope to continue this trend for the future,” Juha concludes.

Recently launched new Fixcel technology

Recently completed a 1500 cabin project

One of the market leaders for interior ship installations