MPE Interiors has agreed an alliance with Birmingham-based KPM Marine, which currently designs and manufactures flatpack, track-based accommodation systems for refit or new-build smaller working vessels including wind farm boats.
Cliff Grainger, MPE Interiors director, welcomed the partnership and said his company’s 30-year track record in maritime fit-out workmade it an ideal partner. KPM Marine wants to focus on manufacturing so needed an expert fit-out partner. Also importantly, MPE Interiors’ experience with larger vessels, including ferries, offers further potential growth opportunities for KPM Marine.
Mr Grainger said: “We’re delighted with this agreement. It means when customers make enquiries with KPM Marine about accommodation products, we will be recommended for installation because of our experience and expertise.
“KPM’s modular accommodation products are constantly being developed to meet the latest customer requirements for efficient, well-designed and flexible maritime accommodation. Fit-out work can be carried out wherever the customers request, shipyards or afloat, and there are target customers across the UK and Europe.
Mr Grainger added: “The modular system, called 2 Cubed, is currently used on mainly smaller, fast working vessels. The furniture is reconfigurable so boats can be quickly adapted for various uses. This meets the growing demand for the refit of smaller boats including some that are just a few years old. Many operators want to use boats for different uses than originally planned.
“We also see potential in adapting the modular systems for a greater variety and size of vessels, including passenger ferries and naval support ships where reconfiguration is frequently needed.”
KPM Marine’s principles reflect commercial airline design where interiors can be stripped out and changed within hours. It also manufactures a lightweight ceiling, wall and flooring system called Ex Cubed. Applications include survey and dive vessels, sleeper units, workshops, medical centres, ‘floatel’ living quarters, container and port accommodation.
Jules Morgan, KPM Marine’s design and technical director, said: “Manufacturing modular systems in our factory is much more efficient than fabricating on a vessel. Using standard components results in leaner manufacturing and volume discounts, which we pass on to customers.
“Ship builders, refitters and end-users also benefit from predictable fitting times, building and labour costs. This avoids costly confusion or indecision, saving them management time and further expense.”
Mr Morgan said other benefits include better sound insulation and increased passenger comfort, which gives charter vessels a competitive advantage over other vessels, and maximises the flexibility of each vessel.
Products are delivered from KPM Marine’s factory to vessels using just-in-time supply practices. This avoids or reduces supply chain delays, further saving clients’ time, stock and working capital requirements. The manufacturing system also cuts procurement overheads and activity, and lowers fleet operating, maintenance, refit and classification administration costs.
All the products meet the latest safety and crash standards.
PICTURES: Top, an illustration of the modular accommodation and, below, MPE Interiors’ Cliff Grainger.