DISCOVER Magazine #7

150 years of Damen Marine Components

Published in category: Markets

Looking back at the long history of Damen Marine Components (DMC), which celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2015, DMC Managing Director Steef Staal describes decades of ‘adventures and successes’, thanks to Damen’s willingness to invest in innovative products and cutting edge equipment.

I think one reason DMC has been successful is that we have developed partnerships with our customers

And even though the plunge in oil prices has led to a slowdown in offshore activity Steef is confident DMC will see its further expansion plans realised. “There is no doubt these extremely low oil prices are having an impact on our regular clients, they are suffering and this is having a knock-on effect on our turnover.

“But we have a good team, able to develop new products and find new clients to enable us to remain profitable. We will certainly keep investing in new production methods for nozzles, winches and rudders allowing us to stay lean and mean.”

DMC has grown from a small shipyard established in Gorinchem in the Netherlands in 1865 to become the largest nozzle builder in the world today. Steef has been at the helm of the operation for a decade and been with the Damen Shipyards for some 40 years.

When he considers the achievements that have made him proud he says undoubtedly the fact that the company managed to set up a second plant in China last year, and that it has upgraded the whole facility in Gdansk, as well as opening a second production site in Poland, are the highlights. DMC Gdańsk now stands at 11,120 sq m and three years ago Gdańsk was joined by another 6,000 m2 facility in Elblag.

Steef stresses: “Additionally, we have increased turnover substantially, nearly six-fold.” Two recent milestones for the company were the 150th anniversary and then opening a second, large production facility in China. In November, around 1,000 customers, employees, suppliers and colleagues at DMC’s three main locations in Hardinxveld, Jiangyin and Gdańsk, celebrated via a live satellite link. And then on November 27, DMC’s new production plant in Jiangyin was opened by Bear Damen, who is the official ‘godfather of DMC’, Steef emphasises.

This new production plant, which is near Shanghai, was built from scratch. And at 11,000 sq m the facility is nearly double the existing site at Suzhou. Jiangyin has its own spinning machine, new cutting machine, state-of-the-art grinding and sanding robots and crucially, there is also extra land for expansion opportunities.

The next important step for the company is the addition of winches to the portfolio, as well as its well-known nozzles and rudders, stresses Steef. “This is a new area for us and we hope to develop new types, including towing, anchor, mooring, winches for dredgers, tugs… We see a lot of potential here.”

Over the next few years Steef expects to see even closer cooperation in the components business between the manufacturers, suppliers and shipyards. “I think one reason DMC has been successful is that we have developed partnerships with our customers, rather than having the usual customer/supplier relationship. And this will only intensify in the future.”

And currently even though the market has slowed, DMC still has expansion plans up its sleeve in Europe and China. “Perhaps we have to postpone them a little but all of our sites have expansion possibilities. So I am sure we will march on again. We want to extend our portfolio and will do our utmost to get it done.”


Niron Staal is a specialised steel construction and machining company, located in the port of Amsterdam thereby guaranteeing deepwater access. The company carries out a wide range of activities from large-scale, heavy construction work to smaller scale, precision machining at extremely low tolerances. Niron Staal has a dedicated facility for welding high-tensile steel materials and has vast experience in crafting structures and tools for offshore applications and crane components using S690-grade steel. Niron Staal is ISO 9001:2008 certified and works according to EN 3834.

Damen Schelde Gears (DSG) has more than 90 years’ experience in the design and production of main propulsion gears for naval and merchant marine applications. More than 335 vessels have been equipped with propulsion gears designed and engineered by the company. DSG specialises in the provision of support, consultancy and problem solving for all the technical and commercial aspects of gears and other rotating equipment. The company supplies spare parts, ranging from simple instrumentation components to complete gear wheels, bearing sets and shafts.

Damen Marine Components (DMC) designs and develops several types of winches to optimise vessel performance. Recently, DMC has developed a highly sophisticated towing winch in cooperation with Damen Shipyards Maaskant and Damen Shipyards Gorinchem. The company also builds hydraulically driven Render Recovery Winches. Damen ASD Tugs are often equipped with these winches. Several new types are also being developed, including towing, anchor and mooring winches for dredgers, tugs and other vessels.

Van der Velden Marine Systems has been a specialist in maritime manoeuvring and propulsion efficiency for more than 50 years and its rudders and steering gear are renowned for quality, safety and innovation. In the oceangoing market the company provides complete manoeuvring packages, including rudders, rudder trunks, streamline bodies, steering gear and nozzles. For inland shipping its systems and packages include rudders, steering gear, nozzles, propellers, control panels, hydrospoilers and the Van der Velden® FLEX Tunnel. And for yachts, it provides customised solutions for steering gear, rudders and propulsion optimisation.


Damen Schelde Marine Services (DSMS) specialises in the manufacture and supply of diesel engine parts, primarily for the merchant marine sector. A wide variety of spares are directly available from stock for worldwide delivery within 24 hours. Over the years, the company has developed a sophisticated software program, which enables DSMS to quote 24/7 through its network of offices and agencies. DSMS has documented 9,000 vessels in its comprehensive ERP system, together with their engine types, pneumatic systems, turbo chargers, compressors and purifiers.

For more than 75 years the name ‘Anchor & Chain Factory’ has been recognised in the market as representing quality and consistency in the manufacture of anchors, anchor chains and accessories. As well as anchors and chains, the Damen Anchor & Chain Factory has the capability to produce fully certified, custom-built towing chains. Advanced manufacturing facilities and a highly qualified workforce enable the company to carry out repairs and modifications safely and efficiently.

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