HighTech Finland › New Materials & Processes › All articles in this section   ›  New-generation modular construction that looks good too

Forest Industry Applications
Manufacturing & Systems
Materials
Measurement & Testing
Transport & Logistics
All articles in this section

 

New-generation modular construction that looks good too

Originally developed for use in shipbuilding, NEAPO’s advanced FIXCEL® steel core panel technology offers exceptional rigidity combined with very low nominal weight and many other benefits for modular construction on land. Visually and architecturally, the results can be very attractive.

FIXCEL® is a patented load-bearing structure developed specifically for modular construction in structures that call for both horizontal and vertical rigidity combined with a low nominal weight, such as floors, walls, intermediate flooring, and roofing.

Production is based on triple-seam rolling to join hot-galvanized steel profiles and form load-bearing, corrosion-resistant structures that are ideal for low-energy buildings. NEAPO’s prefabrication process minimises quality fluctuations, costs, wastage, and environmental impact. Fire and earthquake resistance are also of a very high standard.

The fact that the material used is 100%-recyclable makes FIXCEL® a very environmentally friendly solution. Third-party calculations indicate that the life cycle energy consumption of FIXCEL® material is around 40% less than that of typical construction materials, while CO2 emissions are some 60% lower.

Record-breaking erection times

FIXCEL® structures are custom-designed for each application and have been used to produce completely prefabricated elevator shafts, additional top floors for existing buildings, modular multi-storey buildings, and floating buildings, for example. By pre-installing cars and machinery, elevator shafts can be erected on site in just a day, with lifts operational within a few days – which must be something of a world record.

In addition to the ease of installation FIXCEL® technology offers these types of applications, it also helps improve the energy efficiency of existing structures.

Thanks to their load-bearing capabilities, FIXCEL® modules can be used to build entire buildings, with external and internal surfaces, fixtures and fittings, plumbing and electrical wiring, and lighting all finished and installed at the plant prior to delivery to the site – guaranteeing a high quality of finish and very fast erection times and excellent flexibility.

FIXCEL® technology minimises quality fluctuations, costs, material loss, and environmental impact, and delivers in the good looks department too.
FIXCEL® modules were recently used to build a nearly 2,000 m2 day care centre. Modules measured 23 metres long, close to 5 metres high, and 5-7 metres wide – and were delivered ready for use, inside and out. This was the first building of this size anywhere to have been constructed entirely of steel modules, and was erected in a little over a month. NEAPO will deliver a factory-finished, 30-metre three-storey building in one piece in summer 2011.

‘Plug and play’ good looks

The flexibility of FIXCEL® technology does not restrict the choice of materials used for exterior or interior surfaces, and the unique stiffness and load-bearing capacity of structures opens up new architectural opportunities. Everything is very energy-efficient too, with air leakage at passive energy house levels and a carbon footprint (CO2 emissions) under half that of a similar building made of concrete.

> Olli Vuola
(Published in HighTech Finland 2011)