As cruise ship and other passenger vessel operators look toward the eventual resumption of voyages following the coronavirus health crisis, synthetic applications specialist Bolidt is launching an antibacterial flooring system intended to improve limit the spread of multiresistant bacteria.
Originally designed for use in land-based applications such as hospitals and kitchens, the pioneering technology is not only bactericidal but also hygienic and easy to clean, according to the Netherlands-based developer.
Jacco van Overbeek, director of Bolidt’s Maritime Division, says the solution is being considered for cruise vessels.
“Our antimicrobial floor cover has consistently demonstrated its value on land in the healthcare sector,” he says. “We had never considered it for marine applications simply because it didn’t seem necessary. Now the pandemic has heightened awareness on cruise ship hygiene, and we have a product ready to go that could be of great help to cruise lines.”
The material is applied as a coating to the Bolideck 525 decking used for indoor spaces on passenger ships. Van Overbeek says the system is durable, low maintenance and highly adaptable, and it can be designed to incorporate safety messaging, which may take the form of static or dynamic signs, such as social-distancing markers or lights indicating the direction in which guests should queue during embarkation. When combined with the hygienic cover, it can minimize the transmission of viruses in addition to bacteria.
Cruise operators and interior designers have already expressed interest in the antibacterial decking, with Georg Piantino – senior architect at YSA Design, a Bolidt partner – proposing its application as part of a ‘Hybrid Flooring’ concept. Conceived during discussions between YSA and Bolidt, the hybrid floor comprises a layer of carpet fitted on top of the Bolideck 525 system with antimicrobial coating. In the event of a future outbreak, the carpet would be stripped away to reveal the safety markers underneath, also activating the solution’s hygienic and bactericidal properties.
“Certain spaces on board a cruise vessel require plush carpeting to create that luxurious feel, but passenger ships will have to be flexible when they set sail again,” Piantino says. “With the hygiene of Bolidt’s antimicrobial technology, social distance signage and the elegance of a fine carpet, Hybrid Flooring is the perfect example of how vessels can adapt to changing requirements. It will allow a luxury suite to be transformed into a medical area, for instance, in a short space of time and with minimal disruption.”
“We are committed to supporting operators through these challenging times,” Van Overbeek says. “At our recently opened Innovation Center, we are researching flooring that helps to reduce viral spread not just through safety messaging but thanks to its truly virucidal characteristics.”