According to a recent article in the Hampshire Chronicle, a new lightweight composite cabin developed in Hampshire, UK, could revolutionize the way passenger vessels are built. The collaboration to build the cabin, funded by the UK Government’s ‘Innovate UK’ and Defence Science and technology Lab (DSTL), combined the collective expertise of Carnival UK, Gurit (UK) Limited, PE Composites Limited, University of Southampton.

The prototype is half the weight of a typical steel cabin. The panels used in the new cabins are made from a composite with a non-combustible core, which means it complies with fire regulations. Designer Tom Royle developed the composite panel by adapting an existing material from PE Composites. Reducing weight also makes the ship faster and/or more fuel efficient and stable.

“Reducing topside weight is becoming an increasing problem for naval architects as the trend for larger capacity ships continues,” said Royle “This could open up opportunities for more cabins to be added to ships, without the added weight. I believe we have finally created something which is the future for anyone working with the building or maintenance of ships.”

Southampton, UK-based shipping fitting company Trimline assembled the prototype cabins, which were unveiled last week. Trimline assembled the cabin structure and then fitted out the interior – the bed and all the furniture are also constructed of composite to keep weight down.

“We are planning to officially launch at SMM Hamburg in September where the cabin will be on display. There is still some work to do on certification but all the tests done to date are looking very promising and then hopefully we can go into production,” said a spokesman for the company.