Based in Arendonk, in the Belgian province of Antwerp, Iemants Staalconstructies N.V. is a steel fabrication business with a well-established reputation in the design and manufacture of steel structures.
Since the 1980s, Iemants has participated in many multidisciplinary projects for the oil and gas industry. In particular, the company deals with heavy-duty, technically complex and architecturally designed constructions.
Rob Godden, business manager at Iemants, discusses the company: “We are part of the Smulders Group, which has 28 companies; four of them are in Poland, three in Belgium, one in Portugal and the remaining companies in the Netherlands.” The Smulders Group, founded in 1966, combines the forces of numerous separate companies; each has its own specialism in the field of steel processing, enabling all aspects of steel related work to be covered. Being large by combining the advantages of small-scaled businesses makes the group and all of its subsidiaries successful.
Rob continues: “Iemants is the biggest company of the group having recently taken over Willems Staalconstructies NV, which is ideally situated 30km from our location. Iemants and Willems together prefabricate around 40,000 tonnes of steel a year, employ near to 400 people and have a turnover in the region of 95 million-100 million Euros.”
In 2007 Willems Staalconstructies NV became a subsidiary of Iemants. The steel construction company, with over 50 years’ experience in design and production, possesses experience in a variety of steel related projects such as bridges and pontoons, module construction, industrial structures, and pipe racks. Being part of an integrated organisational structure, Willems has guaranteed itself the support and knowledge needed to achieve high-quality completed projects. Furthermore the company now has access to connections with a number of specialised steel constructors in Europe who also belong to the Smulders Group; each company’s individual specialty is fully optimised.
Willems’ premises are located in the small region of Balen, Antwerp and cover more than eight acres with 30,000 square metres of production space, and various high-tech computer-controlled machines. The company benefits from its position next to the Dessel-Kwaadmechelen canal, forming a direct link to the harbour at Antwerp via the Albert canal. Willems offers an extremely experienced partner to Iemants, with regard to ability in realising various unique and challenging projects.
With such extensive manufacturing capabilities, Iemants can be included among the world’s leading steel fabrication companies. Rob continues, outlining the company’s strengths: “The key strength of the company, which is also our most interesting aspect, is that we are in almost each and every market that involves steel, such as architectural construction, offshore, onshore, petrochemical, permanent and temporary bridge building, masts and pylons, renovation, cranes, and heavy industrial buildings. There is also a lot of business in normal high-rise buildings; basically we are in every sector that requires heavy steel. Iemants can also supply its clients with an additional added value in the form of our close co-operation with a number of other European specialised steel fabrication companies that also belong to the Smulders Group.
“Our other strong points include flexibility; although we are not a small company anymore, flexibility and respect for schedules remain our priorities. For example, we are currently building a jack-up platform for Dredging International, part of the DEME Group. The main reason for Dredging International to place the contract with Iemants is the certainty of the project’s schedule and the need for high quality. Building the biggest jack-up platform in the world is a particularly significant development for us, as we have not done anything like this before. I believe the satisfactory results we have achieved for Dredging International in previous smaller projects has influenced their decision to call on us for this project. We are used to building spare parts, but have never built an entire platform before. The same has happened with another dredging company that also used to order most of its projects in the Far East; our ability to keep to tight schedules has resulted in more contracts.”
The business has its own engineering offices that use fully implemented CAD-CAM stations directly linked to computers in its factory via a computer network. Iemants’ production facilities are equipped with modern machinery over a factory area of 50,000m2 and include a paint shop, and resources for the application of corrosion-resistant coatings. The company’s philosophy is based around quality and adaptability within a working system designed in accordance with ISO 9001 standards; demonstrating a level of excellence from the design process through to the finished product. Additionally, Iemants regards safety to be of equal importance, recognised through VCA certification from Det Norske Veritas. Iemants also possesses the Achilles and FPAL certificates.
Looking towards the future, Rob comments on how he would like to see the company develop over the coming years and his future goals: “As far as the future is concerned, taking into account the economic situation, I think that Iemants doesn’t have much to fear. We have a lot of work and for the near future we are completely booked up, therefore I think we will not suffer too much from the economic recessions. For our long-term vision, we would like to grow, but in a very controlled and steady manner. Iemants had a bankruptcy in 1995, we then grew very quickly and tripled our turnover in six years, which was too fast and caused problems. We are aiming for a constant growth that needs to be steered well.
“One of our targets is to be involved in the European Championship Football 2012, which will take place in Poland. We would like to be part of the building team and will approach this through the reliable Polish companies in the Smulders Group. I think a combination of Polish companies dealing with the production side and Iemants, based on its engineering experience, would work well.”
Pooling resources with the other companies in the Smulders Group and combining different skills and specialties provides Iemants with a beneficial edge in offering global solutions to clients all over the world. The company, attaching huge importance to the quality of all its products and services, alongside its ability to maintain flexibility and professionalism, looks set for a bright and profitable future in the steel industry. Rob previously worked for Iemants in the mid 1980s and left in 1995 with the bankruptcy; nine years later he returned. “I came back to work for the company four years ago because I never found the same professional attitude that Iemants offered; this is what distinguishes it from the opposition in an extremely competitive environment,” Rob concludes.
Industry Steel fabrication