Bolidt has unveiled its Bolidt Innovation Center just outside Rotterdam that has been designed to stimulate innovation as the company promotes a collaborative approach to new, smart materials
Its latest developments include intelligent decking systems with sensors to gather safety data, LED-integrated materials to enhance the appearance and safety of cruise decks and sustainable sealants, plant oil resins and adhesives for its production process.
“Innovation and clever chemistry have run through the company’s DNA throughout its 55-year history,” says company chief executive Rientz Willem Bol.
The Bolidt Innovation Center is an open house for cruise ship designers, builders, materials and science experts.
The centre’s ultra-modern structure houses a multi-functional facility with a brain-storming space and high-tech laboratories devoted to developing new polymer-based materials for special purposes such as low- and high-temperature and high-impact applications.
A roof terrace shows off the company’s latest flooring and decking systems and is adorned with sustainable outdoor applications fabricated elsewhere on the Bolidt Campus. Meanwhile, a new high-tech logistics warehouse controls global deliveries.
Bolidt maritime division director Jacco van Overbeek says “The Bolidt Innovation Center is clearly designed to deliver the ‘wow’ factor to customers old and new, but it is also a very serious investment in making sure the company stays ahead in this highly competitive field. With materials technology development accelerating fast, Bolidt is also providing the facilities for its own team of highly specialised chemists and materials scientists to develop the products of tomorrow.”
Best known as a supplier of creative decking systems to the cruise industry, Bolidt’s new investment also comes at a time when more cruise ships are now on order and more capital is being invested in the sector than ever before.
According to Mr van Overbeek, Bolidt products have been installed on board some 350 new cruise vessels, together with a similar number of retrofits.
Customers include several cruise brands owned by the world’s two largest cruise groups, Carnival and Royal Caribbean, brands within the Genting Group, Hurtigruten, Mystic Cruises and Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection.
Recent advances include developing temperature-tolerant products suitable for exploration cruise vessels and a range of intelligent products designed not only with appearance, durability and cost in mind, but also key safety and efficiency components for today’s increasingly smart vessels. The latest innovations include a decking system that measures footfall over key areas of the ship, which is important for passenger management and safety.
Bespoke flooring with in-built LED lighting, designed both for style and practical purposes, is a relatively new product and can already be seen on some of the newest cruise deliveries. Glow-in-the-dark materials are also available for ships’ interior and exterior spaces.
On board the 4,000-passenger Meyer Werft-built sister ships Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Joy, products installed include a specially developed synthetic material used for the ships’ go-karting tracks. Bolideck Racetrack, based on established road-surfacing technology, is non-slip, resistant, durable and safe. Its surface adhesion composition varies between straights and corners to cater for the karts.
Part of the resin-based decking systems installed on board Norwegian Bliss includes 5,575 m2 of Bolideck Future Teak, a popular sustainable product widely used to replace maintenance-heavy teak decks on cruise vessels and yachts in retrofit projects. The Norwegian Cruise Line contract also includes flooring systems for the soon-to-be-delivered Norwegian Encore and five retrofit projects, bringing the total contract installation area to 46,000 m2.