Heerema Innovation Center opened

6 November 2015, Zwijndrecht

Under the watchful eye of many invited guests, Caroline Heerema officially opened the Heerema Innovation Center. This center is located near the headquarters of Heerema Fabrication Group (HFG) in Zwijndrecht and symbolizes the course that HFG wants to sail: working even faster and more efficiently in order to be and remain the leading engineering and fabrication contractor for complex offshore structures, now and in the future.

Innovation is one of the three spearheads in HFG’s strategy: “Only by offering added value to our clients can we continue to be competitive and profitable,” says Koos-Jan van Brouwershaven, CEO of HFG. In addition, HFG wants to use innovation to bind young specialist employees to the company. “That will help us to safeguard our future.” The first project of the Heerema Innovation Center is the welding robot, which has been developed by Valk Welding together with HFG. “This robot does not replace our welders; it complements them. A welding robot will also be installed in our company training school where our welders will learn to work with it. 

Welders are almost always in short supply. The welding robot enables them to concentrate on the more challenging tasks, while the welding robot can be used for other work.” The first welding robot has two welding arms and operates very precisely. The colossal device weighs 50 tons, and unfortunately can’t really climb yet. That will be the next challenge for the Innovation Center where more welding robots will be developed. Van Brouwershaven sees many more opportunities for the Innovation Center. “Using the latest 3D and gaming technology, but also smart data processing, we can achieve a lot more.”

Gert-Jan van Noordt is in charge of the Center’s daily operation. He focusses primarily on the innovation of production. His colleague Cees Spaans, Head of Research & Development and Engineering at HFG, and his team concentrate on the innovation of products. In addition to welding, scaffolding, glued constructions and the use of paint will be investigated.

The modern Innovation Center was designed by the architects of BBA Architecten. In the Center, more than 1,000 m2 are dedicated to test rigs and training purposes. Everything that is new will be developed in the Innovation Center. In addition to innovation, the Center will play a role in sharing knowledge by establishing and maintaining links with institutes of technology and universities of applied sciences.