Special lifting system CABIN LIFT for the new global 1st class

Perfect material flow on board of the maritime megaliner

It will be the largest cruise megaliner ever built in Germany– and, thanks to the use of artificial intelligence (AI) on board, it will also be the most technologically advanced.

With 204,000 GT (gross tonnage) and an overall length of 342m, the new Global Class will reach gigantic proportions and will offer space for up to 5,000 passengers once it enters service at the end of 2020.

The new high-tech vessel will be built at two locations of the MV shipyards in Rostock and Wismar, which are among the most modern shipbuilding companies in Europe and which both have extensive shipbuilding expertise.

In addition to the concentrated use of the shipyard specialists, around 600 other external companies are directly or indirectly involved in the project.

One of them is ELBETEC GmbH & Co. KG, which supplied and installed the CABIN LIFT, a specially designed heavy-cargo lifting system for built-in cabins.

Lifting system from ELBETEC for vertical transfer of the cabins

In addition to the approximately 2,500 passenger cabins, around 500 further crew cabins were added to the ship. Production, delivery, installation and assembly of these prefabricated modules are carried out according to a precisely timed schedule and require the utmost attention and overview by a special design and construction department in Rostock.

Not only must every final assembly site be technically inspected and approved by the ship insurer in advance; the handling routes through the ship's shell must also be meticulously inspected for interfering contours. Each installed cabin theoretically complicates the handling of further components.

Through a special aperture in the side of the maritime giant, the modules are horizontally inserted into the hull. In addition, special undercarriages are used to facilitate the handling of the components, which weigh up to 3,000 kg. In the hull itself, the vertical transport to the next lower deck takes place at a meticulously selected position. Due to the dimensions and weights of the space cells, only a correspondingly large lifting technology can be considered as a solution here.

With the CABIN LIFT from ELBETEC, a lifting solution tailored precisely to the customer's needs, large components up to 6,500 mm long and 3,000 mm wide can be lifted with ease and complete safety.

Special requirements in the ship under construction

The hull construction of the Oceanliner consists of numerous prefabricated large sections which are welded together at the shipyard to form a so-called floating unit. Innumerable sheet metal formats, frames, profiles and connecting elements are thus combined to form a huge structure which, for non-experts, reveals a dense spatial structure in the inner shell, but not necessarily a ship. Due to the steel construction with partly uneven floor level, there are special requirements with regard to the mounting location of the lifting system. To compensate for these tolerances, the system has a special suspension system which levels the heavy platform 100% in every loading and movement condition. This was the only way to guarantee a safe and reliable lifting and lowering process for the system at all times.

Safety technology

Even more than with conventional variants of use, special, even stricter safety regulations apply on such unique construction sites, which are checked for compliance by the shipyard's own ship safety department.

The lifting system is a temporary aid which must ensure a continuous flow of material over several months. After the cabin installation process, it is removed by our special installation teams and prepared for the next use.

The use of the platform is closely integrated into the delivery cycle of the cabins. This continuous flow of goods between the decks cannot be interrupted by any means; the result would be chaos of unimagined dimensions. Any interruption of the conveying mode must therefore be avoided under all circumstances.

Despite the time pressure, accidents must not occur. Since some shipyard employees work close to the movement mechanics of the platform and deck, numerous hazards had to be taken into account and appropriate solutions had to be defined, designed and finally released.

As a result, the CABIN LIFT lifting system from ELBETEC is hermetically sealed on all sides, so that the risk of falling can be safely ruled out even in hectic moments. Crushing and shearing points are meticulously excluded, even if the technology is handled careless. The generous two-winged doors allow convenient loading and unloading of the platform in the decks without any risk. During the lifting process, special locks with electrical locking and monitoring secure access. The drives of the lifting device are equipped with special load sensors that would immediately signal an accidental overload and prevent the platform from moving off.

Technical coordination

The completely mounted lifting system with its generous platform and its extremely stable lifting columns does not only take up a lot of space at the place of installation, it also carries a load with a dead weight of approximately 9t, which had to be considered statically in advance.

The vertical loads and pressures that had to be applied were meticulously examined and compared with the underlying deck structure, which was originally designed for completely different load patterns. The flexible adaptation of the stable foot plates to reduce the surface pressures was ultimately one of the essential solutions.

In addition, all lifting columns were connected to the upper deck structure in order to eliminate additional horizontal forces caused by loading and unloading the platform. All these special fixing points had to be kept adjustable in order to ensure the greatest possible variability of the overall structure.

In this context, the development process of the CABIN LIFT was characterised by intensive cooperation between ELBETEC engineers and the construction specialists of the MV shipyards. On the basis of detailed 3D CAD data, a reliable technical solution could be created well in advance, which, despite its dimensions and mass, could be successfully integrated into the relatively small installation space.

Special mounting

The assembly of a sophisticated lifting system of this size is not a job for beginners, even on a normal industrial scale. In the belly of a giant maritime megaliner that is huge on the outside but built up from small parts on the inside, it becomes exclusively a matter for experienced specialists. Even the installation of the heavy individual components presents the crew with challenges. Necessary lifting operations require appropriate lifting equipment, which cannot be used due to the low ceiling heights. Special mobile chain hoists and winches, mounted on reversible supporting structures in the ceiling area, are the solution for such processes. Under the supervision of our experienced installation specialists, all components of the lifting system could be safely and professionally transported to the site and installed according to regulations.

The assembly process is of course also subject to increased safety requirements. Narrow spaces, noise, limited visibility and the risk of falls are only a few of the given hazards. Even under such circumstances, an installation crew must proceed in a concentrated and goal-oriented manner. In addition, the very long access routes to the ship require precise and comprehensive coordination of materials, tools, auxiliary materials and many other components. Every missing element causes loss of time and new challenges. However, in close coordination with the shipyard's own teams, the ELBETEC assembly crew successfully mastered the task.

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Please contact us: info@elbetec.com