As the producer and supplier of the D-glide family of maintenance free, composite plain bearings that can be used in a plethora of on and offshore applications, DRIE-D is a specialist in bearings and brake linings, and is active throughout Europe, the US, Asia and Australia.
Based in the Netherlands, the company’s 30 expert staff work with the highest quality raw materials, turning them into engineered products with a long life span and suitability for the harshest environments. With the workshop used mostly for the final preparation of products such as assembly work, DRIE-D puts the utmost importance on providing the best technical solutions, for example the company has the ability to vary the selection of a friction material for a specific brake system in order to increase its service intervals and performance.
Erik Dorst, technical director of DRIE-D outlines the company’s background: “Founded in 1998 by two individuals for the supply of bearing and brake lining products, we imported materials from different sources around the world and gave sound technical advice and engineering support to end users in the offshore industry. Our main clients include offshore operators, shipping companies and those working in the dredging industry. From its inception the business has grown to be a specialist in maintenance free composite bearings and brake linings, and we have expanded our original offices to take over the facilities both behind and beside us. We have also acquired the company that manufactures our bearing materials, which means we are better able to steer the product development of our materials and function as an all-round company, controlling the complete production chain, from selecting the raw materials to machining the final components. We work together with a number of relevant agents throughout the world, while at the same time operating in local markets providing technical support from our Rotterdam office to the surrounding areas.”
This year DRIE-D has had a number of large contracts that include re-lining all the brake bands on one the biggest crane vessels in the world. This project involved organising the entire process of removing and transporting onboard brake bands to an expert for the removal of the old asbestos brake linings, bringing them back to the company workshop for the installation of new brake linings, coating them to customer specifications, using x-ray for examining them on cracks and transporting them back to the ship according to a very tight schedule. Whilst handling the advanced technological aspects of a project, logistics is an additional forte for the company.
As both an engineering and manufacturing business DRIE-D is able to cover everything that moves on a drilling rig, crane barge, support vessel or anchor handler, to name but a few – anything that has some kind of bearing holds possibilities for the company’s expertise. Indeed, the organisation has designed brand new bearing systems for vessels with specific demands such as stern rollers, which are subject to extremely tough circumstances or mooring systems for rigs for which DRIE-D now supplies a large percentage of the world fleet.
Erik highlights the strengths of the organisation that have lead to its enviable leading position: “The focus of the company is driven by our engineers and their contact with the client. We only do jobs we understand, which may seem obvious, but it means we don’t enter into a project without fully understanding the systems, designs and demands the offshore industry will be putting on the individual components. We understand better than anyone else the importance of reliability in this market and as such have a proper quality system in place, as well as a design capability which means we can ‘manipulate’ our materials to produce unique engineered solutions. In addition, in terms of quality, our materials really are at the top of the marketplace, in some areas they are the best. I’m quite confident in saying that no-one can produce bearings with as low friction values as we can and with such good wear resistance.”
DRIE-D’s range of spherical bearings is a clear example of advanced design in the industry. Constructed from a combination of the company’s own D-glide bearing material and stainless steel, they are fully corrosion resistant and work as well in wet conditions as in dry, a quality that no other manufacturer can offer. These bearings can be produced in a short time frame and as such are one of the company’s biggest sellers. Developing products that function consistently in the harsh offshore conditions is a mainstay, especially in conjunction with the dredging industry where products have to be able to withstand sea-water, sand and silt.
Looking to the future, Erik outlines his vision: “As with everyone else the market isn’t booming for us at the moment, we are maintaining the same level of turnover as last year, which is less than we’d hoped for, but considering the current climate we have no reason to complain. We will continue to grow and we see there is potential in many different directions in terms of our technology, unique products and services. Traditionally we’ve focused on the offshore industry and dredging as our main markets, but our kind of bearings also have potential in the hydropower industry and many others where companies seek the kind of reliability we can offer.”
Products: Composite bearings and brake linings