Innovation covered

With a history totaling over 130 years, Muehlhan has earned an impeccable reputation for the provision of surface protection and coating solutions.

The company was founded in 1881 and originally focused on the cleaning of steam boilers before expanding to include ship cleaning, insulation work and shipping supplies. Throughout its early history the company worked to deliver innovative new methods to its business and continued to do so as it began to develop new coating and blasting technologies during the latter half of the last century. During the 1980’s Muehlhan began a process to transform itself into an international operation, beginning with new daughter companies in Eastern Europe before growing to explore new opportunities throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia. To generate a financial platform from which to launch further growth, the business became a joint stock company in October 2006 and was renamed to Muehlhan AG.

Today Muehlhan is a corporate group active within a number of sectors including shipbuilding, ship repair, oil and gas, industry and wind energy. The group incorporates almost 30 subsidiaries within Europe and the US, as well as in the growing markets of the Middle East and Asia, employing around 2100 people. Muehlhan takes pride in the fact that its brand stands for quality, integrity, reliability and respect, with its employees forming the foundation of its corporate success. The group encourages a culture of responsibility, competence and efficiency and offers its employees continuing training to ensure that they are able to deliver world-class customer service. This is because the group considers its customers to be its raison d’être and is keen to demonstrate why it is considered as an industry leader through the quality of its service.

The Muehlhan Group has grown to offer a broad range of services including surface protection, insulation, filling and fairing, scaffolding, access, technology and rope access as well as steel construction and consulting, engineering and inspection services. Within the oil and gas sector its targeted services are in asset integration, including insulation, coating, passive fire protection and any kind of access technology, such as scaffolding and rope access. The group is able to offer services geared towards new buildings as well as for the repair and maintenance of existing offshore facilities. This applies to all stationary and floating drilling, extraction and production facilities where Muehlhan’s clients are involved in exploration, oil and gas extraction as well as new vessel construction and repair yards. While operating in the dangerous offshore environment, the group is keenly aware of its customers’ high demands regarding safety. Ensuring that its operations do not compromise safety standards or impair production processes is a key consideration in the way Muehlhan operates.

Asset integration is a key area in which the Muehlhan Group offers innovative technology to ensure that every job is carried out effectively and efficiently. It offers a range of technologies for many different surfaces and materials so that it is able to tailor its operations depending on the needs of the individual project. Using its proprietary U-ARC technology the group is able to recycle and re-use blasting material, which greatly reduces operating costs for the customer and improves environmental performance. The U-ARC towers are designed to have a very small footprint to limit interference with customer operations in narrow docks or on board offshore structures. μ Jet is another proprietary technology combining ultra-high pressure water jetting up to 3.000 bar and abrasive blasting for superior life span of coatings in the most demanding offshore environments. Combined with unmatched quality of severely rusted surfaces, flexibility and productivity are key characteristics. With μ Jet systems conventional dry blasting, washing or ultra-high pressure water blasting can also be performed.

The group understands that the asset value of steel structures depends on the right coating. With its years of experience in the field the company has extensive knowhow in operating all relevant coating systems by all major paint suppliers and closely analyses the client requirements to match with the optimal coating system. An innovative concept for surface protection includes foils that are applied like wallpaper on cleaned surfaces. First tests have shown interesting results, particularly on offshore structures. Blasting and coating chambers are essential during new construction to allow best technical and commercial results. When, for market reasons, investing into blasting and coating chambers are prohibitively high temporary solutions that create stable climatic conditions are offered. Muehlhan has designed, built and operates blasting and coating chambers in Europe, Asia and the US. Quality is at the heart of the group’s coating operations and the trade associations NACE International, FROSIO and Germanischer Lloyd certify its inspectors. Similarly, the company complies with all special requirements for fireproofing coatings.

Innovation remains at the heart of Muehlhan’s operation as it continues to develop its position as a global specialist for surface protection and complementary services. The company recently received the Structure Award for Innovations in Coating during the recent SSPC conference in San Antonio. The distinction was given in recognition of the world’s first fully automated, robotic-based coating process for complete wind tower sections. SSPC president Bill Shoup praised the robot saying: “This technology is an innovative approach for an economic, environmentally friendly and high quality coating procedure to help meet the future demands of wind tower manufacturers, especially for offshore applications.” The Muehlhan coating robot is extremely efficient and flexible and reduces cost, material consumption, manpower and environmental impact. Other benefits of the coating robot are that if offers an annual coating performance of up to several hundred wind towers. The robot also prevents overspray and ensures an even coating thickness distribution as well as reducing paint consumption and VOC emissions by up to 25 per cent. It combines Muehlhan automation technology with specially developed control and tailor-made spray technology and can be operated in either Muehlhan’s own coating halls or on-site at customers’ manufacturing premises.

Despite challenging market conditions, Muehlhan finished the first half of 2013 with a surplus returned to investors of one million euros, with sales between January and the end of June 2013 totaling 96.2 million euros. As the group looks to the future it can rely on its comprehensive product portfolio and innovative service packages to support it in a challenging environment. Through its dedicated investment into new technologies and money saving practices the company can expect to be a market leader for many years to come.

Services: Surface protection solutions