The cabin factory at Piikkiö has a stark appearance, as it is almost in its original form. Standing outside, it would be difficult to guess that this is the leading cabin factory of the world. Inside, in the office, there is chaos. The chaos has been caused by relocation that was due within a few days after our visit.
However, the purpose of the visit was not to have an office inspection, but instead, to look at how the Megastar’s module cabins were being made.
“They’re ready! All 143 cabins, 48 of which are for the passengers, and the rest for accommodating the crew.
In addition, some of the Megastar’s cabins, such as the captain’s and the chief engineer’s cabins, will be built on the ship, at the shipyard. Their bathrooms have already been finished too,” said Hannu Grönroos, the project manager at Piikkiö Works.
Manufacturing ship cabins requires complicated mathematics and various testing processes to be completed during the product development stage. For safety reasons, it is not possible to use larger moveable furniture pieces on ships, so all items of furniture have been securely attached to the wall or to the floor. Making cabin modules at a factory is a significant advantage.
“There are always optimal conditions at the factory, which makes the production process more efficient, and even the quality higher. Another big advantage is the management of materials, because there are more than 100 different parts in a cabin. This count does not include small supplies such as screws or hose clamps. Our goal is to become an assembly factory, i.e. for all materials to reach us ready to be installed.”
The manufacturing process of the cabins starts by cutting, bending and perforating PVC-coated panels.
These metal panels will become wall or ceiling elements of the cabins, when reinforcements and insulation materials have been added to them.
Excluding the floor, it takes about 17 work stages to completely assemble the cabins. The WC and shower facilities are also ready to use, as long as the water -, sewage – and electrical connections have been made.
“The finished cabin modules will be protected with plastic, and transported to the storage section to wait for the transportation to the shipyard. Even though the cabins look fairly ready, their installation and completion on the ship requires about 30–40 work hours. One large work stage is the coating and carpeting of the floors,” said Hannu.
The main colour of Piikiö Works’ storage yard is white. In the yard, there are hundreds of cabin modules wrapped in white plastic, which have been made for ships manufactured by Meyer. The majority of the Megastar’s cabins are already at the Turku shipyard. It is possible to get inside a cabin by crawling up from underneath it. The cabin we crawled into bears the number 1049, an outer cabin for four people. Although the transport brackets have been attached to the cabins, it is already possible to get a good understanding about the future look of the cabin. The design office Aprocos Interior Design, who was in charge of the architecture of the cabins, has done excellent work, as has Piikkiö Works!
Grönroos praises collaboration with Tallink, particularly with Peeter Kangro who is responsible for the building of new ships.
“We share a long history, and Peeter is a real professional in his field. With Tallink, we are also able to use the feedback and experience from working on previous ships.
The goal is always to make every ship better than the previous one.“
The chaos in the office and the relocation has been caused by an investment of approx. 17 million Euros, made by Meyer who owns the factory. The office building will be demolished, and it will be replaced by a new assembly hall, where it will be possible to start serial production using the conveyor belt method, like in the automotive industry.
“The investment decision made us feel really good. Our work had been noticed. Our facilities have become outdated. Nevertheless, we’ve been able to deliver high-quality cabins on schedule. We’ll definitely need an update for the factory, and improving the production facilities,” Hannu Grönroos chuckled.
At the new factory, the cabins will be able to remain indoors, to wait for their transportation to the shipyard. In other words, the amount of plastic packaging will reduce considerably.