In a large workshop in Zhangzhou City, a 15-minute ferryboat ride from Xiamen City, employees of Huisman China are working on a world record construction. The heaviest full revolving offshore crane in the world shows what Huisman China is capable of. Club China took a tour on the premises with Huisman’s General Technical Manager Niels Oldenburger and learned that the company is ready for a new period of growth.
Huisman is a worldwide operating company with extensive experience in the design and manufacturing of heavy construction equipment. The company, founded in 1929, mainly manufactures heavy lift cranes, pipelay and drilling equipment but is also active in the renewables and leisure industry. “Innovation is the core of Huisman: we are internationally known for our innovative ideas and designs that provide our customers with a competitive edge. We build all our products from concept to installation and offer life time support as well”, Niels explains.
Many of the products that Huisman designs, engineers and builds in China, fall in the categories of big, huge or gigantic. Take the two tub cranes that Huisman China is building for Heerema Offshore Services, for example. Its dimensions are awe-inspiring. When finished, the heaviest full revolving offshore crane will lift 10.000 metric tons at 48 meters radius, is towering 87 meters above the deck to the highest position of the Backstay and has a boom of 152 meters length. Lifting a weight of 10.000 metric tons is equivalent to 7143 times a VW Golf Mark 7, or 12,5-kilometer car traffic jam on a three-lane highway. Every part of this giant crane is designed and engineered by Huisman’s in-house global engineering department. That includes the crane’s huge segmented roller bearing with a diameter of 30 meter, capable of revolving the crane over 360 degrees in just two minutes…
Design, engineer, build
Niels Oldenburger claims that this crane tells a lot about Huisman. “This is what we are capable of as a global organization. We design, engineer and build virtually any tool that companies in the oil and gas, renewables and leisure industries in the world may need to complete their jobs.”
Huisman has its head office in Schiedam (The Netherlands) and subsidiaries in places like Sviadnov (Czech Republic), Perth (Australia), Bergen (Norway), Houston (US), Navegantes (Brazil) and Singapore. The company expanded its operations to Fujian Province (Xiamen area) in China in 2007. “Here, our 150 engineers and technicians facilitate customers in the whole Asian region and beyond. In ten years, Huisman China became an important part of the enterprise’s overall production capacity.”
Strong local presence
Huisman China offers a full range of engineering disciplines, from mechanical, electrical, hydraulical to control systems. With its strong local presence, Huisman guarantees short response times to local facility support. And though the global oil and gas industry has gone through tough times, following the drop of the oil price, there is no sign of crisis at Huisman China. “We were able to maintain our production at almost full capacity. Being located at China’s southeast coast places us right in the axis of today’s offshore ship building. A fair share of our customersare located in South Korea and China’s port cities in the north, to Singapore in the south. Fortunately, there is still a lot going on in the Asia and Pacific waters.”
When Niels Oldenburger takes us on a tour of the premises, it becomes clear that Huisman China has the production facilities to support its strategy of providing all critical production activities steps in-house, e.g. cutting, rolling, welding, machining, painting. This strategy is to guarantee tracebility, quality, and reduce lead times. Out of a total of 17 production halls, the largest workshop is 205m long, 54m wide and 62m high. It boasts an internal lifting capacity of 2,000mt, allowing the crew to assemble complete products efficiently inside. With huge modular trailers, employees can transport the largest products towards Huisman’s 380m long quayside facilities with deep-water access. Here, Huisman installs its products onto customer’s ships with the Skyhook, a 2,400mt travelling – Huisman-designed and built – quayside crane.
While greeting a group of employees who just finished their shift and are heading home, Niels Oldenburger proudly adds that the welders are trained in Huisman China’s own Welding School. “Most of them are permanently employed by Huisman. We want our people to work according to the highest international standards. It is easy to find low-wage contract workers in China, but we need to have full control over the all-important product quality, with professional workers that are well-trained in our in-house facilities.”
This is how Huisman China prepares itself for a future of growth. In fact, Huisman China has formidable expansion plans for its Zhangzhou/Xiamen location, ready to be executed when the global oil and gas market shows signs of recovery. “We’re ready to build new manufacturing capacity on our site, including a brand new workshop with an unequalled height of no less than 100 meters…”