The employees of VSE are called 'an extension of their company' by some customers. Woltman is such a client. Woltman supplies foundation machines. Pile-drivers, drilling- and drainage machines with related equipment, always custom made. On a regular basis they ask VSE employees to control or to service their machines. To their full satisfaction, so we have heard from the Woltman operatives. But what does that mean for VSE? What does it take to unburden a client like this? We asked Roy van Rijswijk.
“When I came to work at VSE Woltman was already a regular customer. Together with a colleague I first learned all the ins and outs of what was going on in this company. Then I took over the complete care of this client and now I am their primary contact." Van Rijswijk outlines the role divisions between Woltman and VSE. "The people on the Woltman team know very well what they want. Before we start the engineering phase, the design has already been devised for as much as 90%. We then work it out on paper and see if it will function as we thought it would.”
“They really appreciate us as an independant external party. Our knowledge and the full width of it is to their service, like it is for all our clients of course. Because of the connection we have with Woltman, we have a fairly autonomous role in the implementation. We come up actively and unsolicited with possibilities for improvements. That independence, including our supplier independency, is the strength of our cooperation. We can always advice on the best possible solution, regardless of brands. For Woltman we have developed software for different processing units, which means that we can work modularly and keep making further improvements and developments.”
Actually, Van Rijswijk considers himself on call for Woltman day and night. "That's part of the relationship you build up ." If something is up and they call me, I will be there right away. I know them to only call on me if they really need me." A recent project that was a great challenge is the 90 DR drilling rig. We replaced almost all relay technology by a PLC. In addition, we built in flexibility. Woltman build all their machines custom-made. We have included all the common options in the basic version. This way, any machine can - even after delivery - be equipped with all possible options, the controller is prepared for this.”
This modular way of working offers many benefits, as we learn. "In the drawings we build everything in bite-sized chunks. We engineer everything we encounter and they can, if desired, easily be to added to a controller. If a new option is occurring more often, it is added to the basic version. There is always one basic version and it does not matter on which machine it is built. This saves version control and is very easy to update and exchange. All controllers are now prepared for cameras, and have features like a scraper, grease lubrication and an air handling system for the cabin. It is much simpler and cheaper to incorporate features into the standard. If a customer changes his mind, and wants a certain option after all, this is very easy to execute."
New options and features are also worked out together. "Just the other day, a vibrating block had to be added to a machine. That was an entirely new option. When that happens, technical manager Gerard de Jong from Woltman comes to me and we will sit together to talk through the desired functionality. Gerard has a good idea about what is needed and together we look at how we go about it in the smartest and most efficient way. In this case we have sent the outputs to hydraulic valves, no matter what the valves are attached to. The functions had to be made interchangeable. That asked for an extra piece of switching technique so now there is a choice between drilling and vibrating. A new option that we are developing at the moment is printing. For that option we are developing a similar switching technique."
In Schoonhoven everything is constructed prefab. "This way we only need a short installation time at the Woltman site. We have to build up a very complex control system in a very small space. Then it is nice that the preliminary work is already done." Van Rijswijk is not the only VSE employee who is at home at Woltman. "With each job and type of work, we look at who is best suited to the job at that time." And because there are several people who know their way around Woltman, we can also easily scale up their capacity. At the end of 2016, a few large contracts had to be delivered in an extremely short timeframe. Then we are gearing up without problems."
For a refurbishing on location, Woltman and VSE also join forces. "The other day we accomplished a complete overhaul of a machine in Singapore, in a port area. This means you have to design the product in a way that the biggest part of the installation can be prepared at VSE. This saves an enormous amount of installation time on site. On the spot we have replaced everything from the cabling of the diesel engine to the control cabinets and the controls. We delivered in time and had a very satisfied customer as a result. The technique on that machine is now completely up-to-date and it can operate problem-free for years."
En ook voor een refurbishing op locatie gaan Woltman en VSE samen op. “Laatst hadden we een complete revisie van een machine in Singapore, in een havengebied. Dan moet je zorgen dat je het ontwerp zo bedenkt, dat de installatie voor het grootste deel voorbereid kan worden bij VSE, dit scheelt enorm in de installatietijd ter plaatse. Ter plaatse hebben we alles vervangen vanaf de bekabeling van de dieselmotor tot de schakelkasten en de bediening. Met een zeer tevreden klant als resultaat omdat we binnen de tijd de oplevering konden verzorgen. Die machine is nu op de laatste stand van de techniek gebracht en kan vervolgens weer jaren vooruit.”