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Alimak Hek Group, is a worldrenowned supplier of vertical access solutions for a number of industrial areas.
The company’s largest manufacturing facility – Alimak AB, located in Skellefteå, Sweden – produces an extensive range of construction hoists and industrial lifts. The Group has three other manufacturing sites across two further continents – one in Changshu China, one at Champion, located in Texas, and at Hek in the Netherlands. Employing 350 people, Alimak AB has a state-of-the-art production facility that offers vertical access technological solutions to customers in the oil and gas industry. Receiving ISO 9001 accreditation in both 1993 and 2003 has supported the quality of the Swedish division’s solutions.
Alimak Hek’s business area manager Nils Erik Häggström outlines the company’s position within the Group: “The Alimak Hek Group is a global organisation, with distributors and contributing partners in over 50 countries around the world. This is the basic structure of a significant player in this oil and gas industry. The offshore market is global in scale, and we have positioned our company’s organisation to reflect that. Consequently, we have subsidiaries and offices in many major countries to ensure our continued presence throughout the oil and gas industry. The support from the global Alimak Hek service and distribution network can also not be underestimated, and is a major contribution to our success.
During the 60-year history of the company, a substantial knowledge has been developed through the involvement in numerous elevator applications within the power and process industries, together with bridges, container cranes and mining. Nils Erik continues: “We pride ourselves on delivering high quality rigid equipment that is made and tested to be used in rough environments. During the first oil boom in the 1970s, we delivered Alimak lifts to rigs in the North Sea and from then on, the business has developed a great deal of experience in this area, meaning that nowadays our products are very well regarded within the industry.”
Alimak Hek became well known for the delivery of quality services, a factor that it continues within the market today, as Nils Erik explains: “Within the offshore sector, the business operates in two key areas: one focuses on engineering and design, and the second is the production and installation of equipment. If you go back 15 years, most of the submersible products were produced in the US or Europe, but nowadays this has changed dramatically.
“Currently, locations in Asia are major producers of submersible equipment,” he says. “There has certainly been a change in the culture of the offshore industry over the past few years. We work with some of the major companies in the oil and gas industry, and we have developed some highly respected contacts. Equally, we enjoy working closely with these clients in developing quality solutions.”
Nils Erik expands on the range of services Alimak Hek provides for customers, and how this is divided within the Group: “Alimak Hek has a standard range of solutions that it offers to customers within the oil and gas industry, and we aim at discussing with customers the potential uses of our equipment and services.Many of these solutions are appropriate for an array of applications within the industry, but we also develop bespoke processes and specialised products should they be requested. Within the Group, we are representing two brands Alimak and Champion and they are produced in Sweden, and in the United States.
“Within the oil and gas industry, Alimak Hek produces solutions mainly for oil rigs, and a large amount of the technology it manufactures has applications in this area,” Nils Erik states. “The other expertise that we can offer is the explosion-protected products we manufacture. This is an important development within the rapidly expanding offshore market, and is a service we will focus on delivering in the future. Within the energy sector, there are obviously tough demands in regards to products being explosion-protected. The strenuous requirements of products being created for the oil and gas markets will always need special focus from businesses such as ourselves, and we must ensure that all of our units have the strength to operate in potentially harsh environments. The products we manufacture must be stable and reliable in any working condition, and maintaining this is a constant effort.”
Making sure a technology is safe is one area of focus, and so is the well-being of employees in the field. Nils Erik elaborates on Alimak Hek’s approach: “In the installation of vertical access solutions, there is a constant, 100 per cent demand for safety. The basic experience of the Alimak Hek Group has demonstrated the importance of undertaking projects safely, on a worldwide scale. Indeed, the Group has been involved in massive industrial projects, such as the Troll and Snorre B offshore rigs, the new Aker H6e drilling rigs, the new PetroRig semisubmersible drilling rigs, as well as the Maersk Deepwater semi-submersibles LNG plant Ras Laffan in Qatar, Mugardos de Coruña and Huelva in Spain to name a few. So the emphasis on safety within the completion of this projects spreads to our operations within the oil and gas industry.”
Being part of a global corporation has had a positive effect on the company’s after-sales process, as Nils Erik points out: “Since the inception of the company, we have prided ourselves on the development and maintenance of our after-sales network. Having a worldwide distribution network means that we can respond quickly and provide services to our customers. Being involved in the offshore industry since the 1970s has provided us with copious experience in dealing with the various needs of clients, and we have developed a large range of units. In the US, we are completing a programme with customers to ascertain if certain installations need refurbishment or replacement, which demonstrates the comprehensive nature of our after-sales approach.”
Nils Erik concludes by outlining some of the challenges that arise in meeting the demands of a global oil and gas industry: “The major challenge that is facing the company is continuing to work as closely as it does with clients to produce a solution that is tailored to their needs. Equally, we will continue to develop the range of products and services we provide to customers, whilst also introducing innovative new techniques on a global scale.
“Alimak Hek as a Group works to ensure that all its businesses develop in conjunction with the market they are involved in, and we will hopefully maintain our position in market areas, while looking to move into other areas. We will also progress in this manner – constantly looking to develop solutions that meet the changing needs of our customers,” he concludes.
Industry Vertical access solutions