Van Meer, a renowned propulsion specialist with offices in Tholen (the Netherlands) and Antwerp (Belgium), and Siemens Belgium are joining forces. From now on, Van Meer is an official Siemens Solution Partner. With this partnership, both technology companies want to provide support for the maritime sector throughout the entire drive life cycle (from new drives and retrofitting to maintenance and repairs) among other things. End customers will thus be able to benefit from a flexible, local service, backed by a global approach and cutting-edge product development. The Van Meer family enterprise started in 1991 as a conventional repair company for industrial drives. Soon the company developed into the leading expert in rotating equipment, drives and the field services that go along with it. Today, a team of more than 50 employees is at your disposal on two locations: Tholen in the Netherlands and Antwerp in Belgium. “Our goal is to 'unburden' our customers", explains manager Luc van Meer. “That's why we offer customer-specific solutions from a to z: from purchase and commissioning to maintenance and repair.” The ship as a factory Van Meer mainly supplies customers within the industry. It soon became clear, however, that the maritime sector needed a reliable partner for the construction of new drive systems and their retrofitting, as well as for service and maintenance solutions. Luc van Meer: “A ship is actually a factory in itself, and just like in the industrial sector, the drive is the beating heart of it all. Moreover, the electronic drive systems of all ships built between 1995 and 2000 will soon need retrofitting. As a result, we can support more and more customers from within the shipbuilding industry.” Local vs. global Van Meer's ability to offer tailor-made solutions in a clearly defined niche sector has caught Siemen's attention. “We are always looking for local partners who are experts in their field and are in touch with the market", explains Yves Vandorpe, Business Unit Manager at Siemens. “This offers end customers many advantages: they can count on a flexible, local partner with expertise on the one hand and the support of a global player in the field of drive technology on the other. Another advantage is the worldwide Siemens network, which means there is always someone in the vicinity with knowledge of the installations and components - wherever a ship is moored. Van Meer also has a large number of standard drives in stock. “This stock allows us to intervene quickly in the event of problems," says Luc van Meer. “We often even manage to install a 400kW drive within 24 hours.” Knowledge building The partnership with Siemens is also beneficial for Van Meer. Luc van Meer: “Within the world of drives everything is changing rapidly, and those who can't keep up with the latest technologies will be eliminated. That is why we continue to invest in employee training. As a Siemens Solution Partner you have access to an impressive knowledge database of e-learning, seminars and other training courses. You will be the first to be introduced to the latest products and drives, so you’re always one step ahead of the competition.” Moreover, the partner programme is characterised by a global approach, which enables Van Meer to considerably increase its potential. The focus on maximum quality, availability and a minimum time-to-market also matches the company’s ambitions perfectly. Six years ‘in the making’ It is no surprise that Siemens and Van Meer decided to join forces. The technology companies learned about each other six years ago when Van Meer won a contract with a major player in the chemical sector. “Over the years we were able to establish a healthy business relationship", Luc van Meer continues. “A close partnership requires time and commitment. Everything has to be strategically defined and you have to get to know each other's strengths. Customers today can sense that we are backed by a global company, which lowers the threshold for doing business.”
Siemens to supply the drives for Huisman installations over the coming five years. Last week Huisman concluded cooperation agreements with both Siemens and Van Meer. The technology partners will be trilaterally further developing their market position in the maritime and offshore sector. The contract was signed at the Huisman Innovation Tower (HIT) on Huisman’s wharf in Schiedam. In this 90-metre tall test drilling tower Huisman develops, tests and demonstrates equipment and systems for drilling towers. The HIT is also used for training operators. Safe and pioneering Huisman is known worldwide as a supplier of safe and pioneering heavy construction installations. The most important products are cranes, offshore and onshore drilling gear and pipe laying systems. All engineering and the writing of the software take place in-house. Huisman supplies the installations on a turn-key basis with its co-operative ties with technology suppliers and system integrators. Technology partnership Following the signing of the contract, Siemens again becomes the ‘preferred supplier’ of drives for the Huisman installations in consultation with the customer. The drives have become more compact and more efficient in recent years. Siemens supplies standard drive cabinets, and system integrator Van Meer will be building the specials based on Siemens modules. The tripartite cooperation is a win-win situation for all parties concerned and an example of the technology partnerships that Siemens works for. Robert Lahr, Business Unit Manager OEM at Siemens: “We can gain competitive power by joining forces with partners in the long term. We are happy that an innovative company such as Huisman is also involved.” Pim van Os, Controller Process Industries and Drives at Siemens: “Open communication and short lines are important to make this cooperation a success. Combining the technical knowledge of the parties involved is also essential to secure the best solution for the customers.” Icing on the cake For system integrator Van Meer, signing the contract was ‘the icing on the cake’. The company with establishments in Antwerp and Tholen has already been building various panels for Huisman in recent years, as well as the panels for the HIT drive system. “We are also committed to long-term cooperation with our partners,” explains CEO Rob van Meer. “As a family concern we are also always in search of the best solution. We are particularly pleased to concretise this in a contract with Huisman. We see it as a mark of trust and will be working on the further transparent exchange of knowledge.” New opportunities Huisman selected the cooperating partners based on their knowledge, quality, service, efficiency, price and method of cooperating. CEO Joop Roodenburg talks of refreshing cooperation in a challenging market. “The supply and the prices in the offshore sector are low. New opportunities are arising again as the oil price increases. We have invested heavily in innovative technology in recent years. Our drilling towers are automated, so people are no longer needed on the drilling floor. Our systems are particularly envied in the deep water market. The potential lies particularly in semi-submersibles, the half-sinkable platforms. If we can secure more orders, our partners will also benefit from this. We can forge ahead with greater cost-efficiency with Siemens and Van Meer as partners.” Successful pilot project Huisman, Siemens and Van Meer have already successfully tested their cooperation in recent months. Huisman has built four identical cranes each with a hoisting capacity of 2,200 tons for two ships from OOS International in Serooskerke. The drive system for the first crane has already been completed and is currently being fitted. The other three cranes are then set to follow.