Chris Lloyd at Spelsberg els UK explores a case study where a luxury cruise ship is relying on fully assembled enclosure solutions to meet deadlines

Construction of one of the largest passenger ships in the world started in September 2013 in France and should be completed by mid-2016.  The design and construction is being carried out by a major European ship builders at its facilities in France and will take up to 10 million man hours during the three years of its construction. Such an enormous vessel requires a huge amount of infrastructure, all of which must meet the demanding marine specifications.

Once completed the luxury passenger ship is expected to weigh almost a quarter of a million tonnes and will have cost over $1,000 million to build. It will be over 300m in length and boast a displacement figure which is more commonly seen amongst military aircraft carriers.

Owing to its impressive size it will carry over 6,000 passengers and 1,200 crew members, and will require 2,700 cabins and 28 suites as well as enough restaurants, night clubs, swimming pools and theme parks to keep all the guests fed and entertained.

The ship builder has developed a modular design for the cabins which are being built separately and then installed on the vessel according to the build plan.  This saves on overall construction time as, with such a huge number of cabins being built, it is better for this process to be completed off site.  Each cabin can be individually specified, if necessary, and each one can be built to the same exacting standards required for marine operation. 

The design of each cabin requires an electrical distribution combined with an enclosure, which can be easily modified and installed to meet individual requirements.  All the enclosures will be required to have an IP65 rating as a minimum, with those being used in areas other than the accommodation specified to IP66. With many enclosures requiring customisation, it is essential that the IP ratings are maintained once the enclosures have been machined and installed.

Away from the cabins, the electrical distribution will also be required across the rest of the vessel for lighting and small power.  In many cases the distribution on one deck will be repeated on the next. To make the installation work as efficiently as possible, the proposal is to use enclosures which have been pre-fabricated to include terminals and glands. 

In this way, the time consuming exercise of building the enclosures can be completed prior to arrival at the shipyard and thereby reducing the amount of time required to install the electrical systems.

With such a large number of enclosures required, around 4,000 just for the cabins, combined with the customisation and pre-wiring requirements, the ship builder has sought the specialist supplier, Spelsberg UK, to provide a complete range of products that can be delivered to suit the build schedule.  As the UK’s largest supplier of non-metallic enclosures ex stock, Spelsberg also offers complete customisation on nearly all of its products as well as in-house installation.

In all, there will be approximately 4,000 enclosures destined for the cabins alone, where they will be built into the fabric of each cabin before it is transported to the shipyard to be assembled together on the passenger decks. 

Chris Lloyd is General Manager of Spelsberg els UK