IHC Lagersmit, part of IHC Merwede, has opened on 8 June last a new manufacturing plant in Alblasserdam, The Netherlands. The company has decided to invest in the latest high-tech production facility for rotating shaft seals in western Europe, despite in these economically difficult times. In addition, IHC Lagersmit has introduced two new innovative products that are geared to a sustainable future. “We are proud of how far we have come, but I want to emphasise that this is just the beginning”, said Willem Steenge, Managing Director of IHC Lagersmit.
The opening event was performed by Goof Hamers, CEO of IHC Merwede. In his speech Mr Hamers stressed, “It is not possible to underestimate the importance of innovation and investment, even in times of economic crisis. This strategy should enable the IHC Merwede group to consolidate its sales and emerge from the crisis even stronger than before.” With the new manufacturing site, set-up and processes, this Dutch company is securing its position as a competitive player on the international market.
The niche market for seals is currently subject to mergers, acquisitions and manufacturing transfers to other countries. Customers – including ship owners, water management firms and power plants – have strict requirements and although seals might be a relatively small component, they can be the Achilles’ heel of a ship’s propulsion unit or cooling water system. This in turn demands custom-made, top quality products, with short delivery times and of course fair prices. All these factors force manufacturers to apply specific solutions to their production processes.
However, the new production set-up goes much further than just high-tech machines. The process is based on demand pull planning and lean thinking. The latter is reflected in the production process: the number of actions required by either the operator or machine has been limited to a minimum to safeguard efficiency.
Product lines have been standardised as far as possible and product platforms have been specified. This makes it possible to supply a customised solution for each order, yet still guarantee short turnaround and delivery times.
The two new innovations presented by IHC Lagersmit at the opening event are the durable SUPREME Ventus® DP and the SUPREME TG® HP seals. The former guarantees zero oil emissions for thruster propulsions, while the latter is an environmentally friendly water-lubricated system for tidal turbines.
Company profile IHC Merwede
IHC Merwede is focussed on the continuous development of design and construction activities for the specialist maritime sector. It is the global market leader for efficient dredging and mining vessels and equipment – with vast experience accumulated over decades – and a reliable supplier of custom-built ships and supplies for offshore construction.
IHC Merwede has in-house expertise for engineering and manufacturing innovative vessels and advanced equipment, as well as providing life-cycle support. Its integrated systematic approach has helped to develop optimum product performance and long-term business partnerships.
The company’s broad customer base includes dredging operators, oil and gas corporations, offshore contractors and government authorities.
IHC Merwede has over 3,000 employees based at various locations in The Netherlands, China, Croatia, France, India, the Middle East, Nigeria, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Technological innovation will remain the company’s underlying strength through its continuous investment in research and development. Moreover, it helps to safeguard a sustainable environment.
Source: IHC, June 17, 2010