Strong demand for nozzles and other parts
Expansion in China and Poland
Damen Marine Components (DMC) has seen such strong demand for nozzles and other ship parts that it has embarked on a considerable production capacity expansion. The offshore industry particularly, is driving demand.
DMC develops high quality propeller nozzles with a wide range of profiles, delivering higher efficiency under various operating conditions. Currently, it is producing more than 700 nozzles a year.
Sales turnover climbed by around 20% in 2012, and this has led DMC to acquire a second production facility in Poland and it is looking at opportunities to have a much larger facility in China. Additionally, the company has ordered a second spinning machine, which will be installed into its new China plant.
Steef Staal, DMC’s Managing Director, says: “We had a fantastic year in 2012 and it is still looking positive for 2013, so it was vital to extend our production capacity. There has been much more demand for nozzles from the offshore industry but also for other parts. Increasingly clients are using Dynamic Positioning, which is leading to more demand. Existing customers, such as Rolls-Royce and Schottel have also seen significant growth.” Damen’s own activities, especially when it comes to tugs and workboats, are also leading to increasing demand for DMC products. “The offshore market is very strong and the same goes for the shortsea sector, which is now using slower speeds. Our nozzles have less resistance and save fuel,” he says.
In 2012 DMC expanded its production capacity in Poland with a new 3,000 m2 covered facility in Elblag, near Gdansk. This joins DMC’s existing 30,000 m2 site in Gdansk, of which 8,000 m² is a covered production hall. DMC has also invested in new pipe bending and welding equipment.
Closer to home, with the increase in production, DMC is also increasing staff members and its headquarters are undergoing a refurbishment to accommodate this.
The company is also undergoing an expansion in China, where its other main production facility is based in Suzhou. With the substantial growth and new products, it is necessary to have a much larger facility in China as well, he explains.
“Currently, the exact location of the new facility has not been decided upon, although it will probably be built near Shanghai.” Mr Staal is hopeful that the new production plant could be fully operational by the end of the year. The second spinning machine on order is set to be installed in China early next year.
New winch – no gearbox
Additionally DMC, which is based in Hardinxveld-Giessendam, the Netherlands, has introduced new products into its portfolio such as special towing winches. These have been developed in-house together with Maaskant Shipyards Stellendam, another Damen shipyard, which is well known for its expertise in fishing vessels and smaller vessels for research or support purposes.
The pioneering new winches are directly driven by a hydraulic motor on the main shaft rather than having a gearbox, making them very easy to steer and regulate.
Smooth, single-weld nozzles save fuel
In 2011, DMC developed a pioneering, environmentally friendly nozzle production method increasing production efficiency. The new spinning machine produces an improved end-product because there is only a single weld seam on the inner side of the nozzle. The new machinery was installed in Gdansk last year.
Now the single machine can produce nozzles with an inside diameter ranging from 1,000 mm to 4.5 m. “As the offshore industry demands more power the average nozzle diameter is growing. Now we have to be able to go to 4 metre-plus, whereas it was 2 metres a few years ago,” Mr Staal comments. Using a completely automated system, the machine can handle stainless steel, duplex, steel and special steel materials. The patented production method has been fully classed by all the leading classification societies.
Commenting on the future, he says: “Our quality is being recognised worldwide, and because we are producing in lower cost countries we can remain competitive but still retain top Damen quality. We have a very busy year coming up, with a healthy orderbook. And we are very much looking forward to our expansion in Poland and building a new facility in China.”