Cuijpers Services, the Dutch specialists in corrosion protection for steel structures, is reaping the rewards of remodelling its Elsloo workshop. Relocated access gates and four existing overhead cranes revamped have brought dramatically increased productivity. “A simple and straightforward idea with huge benefits,” confirmed Business Unit Manager Willy Stevens.
A simple idea bringing huge benefits
Protecting steel structures from corrosion used to be as uncomplicated as simply applying paint, but the industry has evolved considerably over the past few decades. Stevens concurs: “It’s become a very complex and diversified industry, especially when it comes to protecting steel in aggressive environments such as heavy industrial sites or in marine environments.”
“In general, we’re not talking about painting anymore, we’re talking about applying full-scope protective systems, which are mostly multi-layered and include specific fire-resistant coatings.”
Keeping pace with the changing landscape
Cuijpers Services offers comprehensive steel protection services employing a wide range of techniques, including industrial paintwork, wrapping, passive fire protection, thermal spray aluminium or zinc coating, and hot airless spraying. The services also include abrasive blasting techniques, including glass bead blasting, torbo blasting and dust-free blasting.
Stevens: “We’ve been investing a lot to keep pace with the changing landscape. Demand is evolving and the requirements are getting tougher, for example with the 2018 update of the ISO 12944 standard on protective spray systems.”
“We have to constantly update our systems and provide training for our workers. And we want to be as flexible as possible to meet customer expectations. That’s why we offer surface treatment services both back in our workshop and on site.”
A serious limitation
In line with these evolutions, and as a result of increased competition, operational efficiency has become a major preoccupation in recent years. “We need to cut costs where we can and make operations as smooth as possible,” says Stevens. “It’s a matter of being vigilant, identifying opportunities and making the right investment decisions.”
Which brings Stevens to last year’s reorganization of the Cuijpers workshop in Elsloo, which comprises two parallel rectangular spaces of about 100 by 20 metres.
“In the original setup, each of these areas had an access gate to the rear and was equipped with two single-hoist overhead cranes,” explains Stevens. “This arrangement had serious limitations because it meant that workpieces had to be placed along the length of the building. As a result, the whole area was impacted whenever we needed to move something. We were always losing precious time with that.”
Installation took one day for each crane, we never had to halt production
Increasing productivity with dual-hoist cranes
In response, the company decided to create access gates in the buildings’ sidewalls and to convert the cranes from single to dual hoist. “This allows us to place workpieces parallel to the cranes and avoid having to shut everything down whenever a piece is moved. It’s a simple and straightforward idea, but one with huge benefits in term of productivity.”
In addition to revamping the existing cranes, an additional single-hoist 5-tonnes crane was installed towards the front to accommodate the spraying installation. Other features of the revamped cranes, such as the frequency-controlled drives, also contributed to the increase in productivity. “They make it easier for objects to be precisely manipulated and, most importantly, there is less wear and increased reliability.”
Installation was a matter of coming well-prepared. “TCS simply lifted out the existing cranes, made the necessary adaptations and reinstalled them, an operation that took no more than a day for each crane. At least one crane was available throughout, we never once had to halt production.”
- 2 dual-hoist overhead cranes with a capacity of 5 tonnes per hoist and spanning 21.425 metres
- 2 dual-hoist overhead cranes with a capacity of 2.5 tonnes per hoist and spanning 21.425 metres
- 1 single-hoist overhead cranes with a capacity of 5 tonnes and spanning 21.425 metres
- All cranes equipped with RF control
- Drives and brakes made to endure a dusty environment