A cruise ship is nothing less than a gigantic floating luxury hotel. It can have up to 3,000 cabins, each with their own toilet, sink and shower or bath. Tourists can pamper themselves in dozens of wellness centres and each deck has multiple heated indoor and outdoor swimming pools. On these ships, it is vital to have a foolproof system for water supply and drainage. This challenging feat is possible, thanks to Aliaxis products. As part of its renewed strategy, Aliaxis has concentrated all of its shipping activities and applications into a single Marine growth platform. One of the first regions to focus on Marine segment products is France.
Europe as a mecca for cruise ships
With a five-person team, our Marine department focuses primarily on the cruise ship market. “Europe is where the largest shipyards for cruise ships are located. In France, STX is one of the biggest players, in Italy there is Fincantieri, in Germany there is Meyer Werft and up in the North in Finland, Meyer Turku is a major cruise ship builder. Some 80% of all cruise ships are built in Europe. In other words, it’s a market with a lot of potential for Aliaxis,” says Guillaume Brunneval, Segment Manager Marine France.
As a specialist in plastic pipings, fittings and plumbing systems for water supply and drainage, Aliaxis has the ambition to become a major player in this segment. “More and more shipbuilders are switching from metal to plastics for the water pipes on their ships. PVC and PE are much lighter materials and they are less vulnerable to corrosion,” explains the Aliaxis sales team.
“In the Marine segment there is a demand for many applications. Wastewater needs to be properly removed and processed; toilets, showers and sinks in the different cabins need to be perfectly connected to the hot and cold water supply; enough drinking water needs to be available; swimming pools needs to be filled and their water filtered; and so much more. Through our various business units, we offer products and parts for all these applications.”
Integrated range for high-quality standards
The Aliaxis sales team continues: “Our goal is to offer an integrated product range that is always adapted to the customer’s needs, according to their requirements and working methods. For example, our local business units Nicoll, Girpi and FIP have already acquired considerable expertise in this segment. We have combined this experience and these products in a single Marine catalogue. This way, we can deliver total solutions of the highest quality, that meet all the specific requirements of the sector.”
One of the biggest challenges on cruise ships is the limited space available for installing all piping and water facilities. “The hull of a ship has certain dimensions within which shipbuilders have to work. Naturally, they try to make optimal use of that space to maximise its returns. Cabins are often developed and built in one-piece units that are then installed on the cruise ship in a modular fashion, like Tetris blocks. In the bathroom of an ordinary home, architects may create the necessary space for water pipes and drains. In a cruise ship cabin, we have to install everything in the smallest possible space, while still guaranteeing optimal functioning. Aliaxis has all the right expertise for the job. Over the years, our European business units have gained extensive know-how and developed a product range of the highest quality that can be specifically applied in these small spaces.”
First client STX Cabins
Shortly after its launch, the Marine team landed a first contract with STX Cabins, a department of STX, France’s largest cruise ship builder. “They produce complete cabins that can ultimately be installed as modules on the STX cruise ships. We are talking about five cruise ships with 1,250 cabins each, so that makes 6,000 units in total.”
In the meantime, Aliaxis has already completed the first deliveries for this client: one cruise ship has already been fully equipped and launched. “The project will certainly continue to run until 2022 or 2023. This confirms that our added value is paying off. STX Cabins specifically chose Aliaxis for a number of reasons: our capacity to create and deliver bespoke products and the proximity of our Nicoll business unit’s production facilities. But the most important feedback we received was that they chose Aliaxis because, through one single contact, they would have access to a complete product range and a total solution for their ships’ cabins. That provides proof that our comprehensive approach works.”
In the meantime, the Marine team is being further expanded in order to cover the entire European market. “In countries where we see high potential, such as Germany, Italy, Finland and France, our local segment managers will be active. Furthermore, we are developing our contacts with shipbuilders in Croatia, the Netherlands, Turkey and Greece. The contract with STX Cabins was a first important milestone. However, apart from the piping systems in cabins, Aliaxis can also provide the complete general water supply system for cruise ships, for their kitchens, swimming pools and wellness centres. Now it’s a question of landing our first contract on this scale,” concludes the Aliaxis sales team.