DuFLEX Composite Panels Saved Time and Weight

Posted on July 27, 2018

In terms of quality and innovation the new flagship of the shipping company Luzern (SGV) MS 2017 sets a new milestone in Swiss shipping. 

March 21st 2017

In autumn 2013, the Board of Directors of the SGV decided on construction of the new, large passenger ship with space for 1,000 passengers.

The well-known yachting design office Judel / Vrolijk & Co from Bremerhaven were commissioned to do the design,  and the planning and construction is being carried out  by Shiptec AG, one of the largest shipyards in Switzerland.

A new sundeck floor was specified for the upper section of the vessel and vdL Composites GmbH were approached to supply a composite alternative to provide strength, stiffness and durability.  DuFLEX Composite Panels were specified as the best option for the large 275m2 area.

DuFLEX – Optimised Kit Technology –  109 Custom DuFLEX panels ranging from 1.3m to 2.4m in length were manufactured at the vdL Composites facility in Wesel, Germany. The panels were cored with 60mm Divinycell H80 and reinforced with multiple layers of multiaxial E-fibreglass,  laminated with a custom-blend, high performance epoxy resin.  Divinycell H80 is widely used, and has a proven track record,  in the marine industry for  leisure, military and commercial applications. Combined with epoxy laminates, the DuFLEX H80 panels provide excellent mechanical properties at low weight, a consistent high quality finish, excellent chemical resistance, low water absorption and good thermal/acoustic insulation.

The panel edges were machined with the DuFLEX Z-Joint and CNC-routed from electronic design files, enabling the panels to be joined and the full-sized parts to be released.  The panels were delivered, along with the proprietary DuFLEX Z-Press, to Shiptec to be joined and fitted on site.  The Z-Press was set-up on the deck of the vessel, and vdL staff were present to assist with joining and to offer technical support during the process.

On installation, the full-sized parts fitted perfectly into the specified areas eliminating the need for time- consuming trimming and fitting. The large sections were lifted into position with a vacuum lifter and Pro-Set Epoxy adhesive was used to fill and bond non-scarffed edges. Multiaxial E-fibreglass tapes were applied to complete the structural requirements on those joins.

A driving factor in the choice of materials for this project was the installation time-frame. DuFLEX offered the perfect solution to meet a tight deadline for project completion.
The first contact was made to vdL on February 2 2016, with the first delivery on March 11.  The first panels were joined on March 21 and 3 days later, one third of the deck was joined and mounted on the steel frame. 166 parts were installed to complete the 275m2 deck. Compared to conventional methods of hand-lamination, this saved hours in labour, wastage and tooling costs.

MS 2017’s maiden voyage is scheduled for May 2017. The ship will be officially named at this time and will be scheduled for trips on the Lucerne-Flüelen-Luzern and Lake Lucerne.