Wouter Witzel EuroValve BV
Issue 03 2011
Tapping the market
For over 40 years, Wouter Witzel EuroValve has been a leading international manufacturer and supplier of high quality industrial butterfly valves and actuators.
The business was founded in 1966 by its namesake Mr Witzel, and since this time has continued to operate from the same location in the Netherlands. Initially the business supplied valves to the local drinking water market, before expanding into Germany, Finland, Scandinavia and other European countries in the early 1970s. Since then, EuroValve has become a global player with over 90 per cent of manufactured products being exported to over 55 countries worldwide. These export activities are greatly facilitated by EuroValve’s parent company AVK Group, an international industrial leader, and its network of agents and distributors.
Today EuroValve operates within seven different markets – desalination, district cooling, shipbuilding, building services, power stations, oil and gas, and water treatment. Each sector requires a specific approach, so EuroValve has divided its consultants between its different activities, in order to optimise its service through specialist knowledge of the applications, processes and developments within that market.
Expanding upon EuroValve’s current product lines, Marcel Schothorst, sales manager of the oil and gas division, says: “Our oldest product line is rubber lined concentric butterfly valves, and this still makes up approximately 70 per cent of everything we manufacture. Then we have double offset butterfly valves, which are ideal for high pressure and high temperature applications. Our third product line is a range of valve actuators, for both pneumatic and hydraulic activities. Finally, we also have valve control systems for valves and actuators, which we primarily produce for our own manufacturing range.” EuroValve products are recognised for achieving up to five times longer lifetime than other butterfly valves on the market. This is due to the vulcanised rubber liner present in the company’s standard butterfly valve, which prevents corrosion.
EuroValve is also looking at adding a fifth product line to its portfolio in the form of triple offset butterfly valves, which are aimed at the highest segment of the butterfly valve market for utilisation in the oil and gas processes themselves. “A typical butterfly valve is best suited for auxiliary systems such as water cooling, fire water, and lubrication systems. This newer production line is aimed more at the hydrocarbon processes within the oil and gas industry, such as high-pressure gas and steam systems, and corrosive gas activities. In essence, the triple offset butterfly valve is ideal for use in any refinery or oil and gas plant processes of up to 100 bar pressure. At present we are in the very early stages of deciding the best route for the business with this product, in terms of manufacturing it ourselves, or forming a partnership with an existing manufacturer and branding their product with the EuroValve name,” explains Marcel.
At present all EuroValve product lines are manufactured within the company’s 30,000 sq/m workshop in the Netherlands, which is capable of producing approximately 200,000 butterfly valves each year in product sizes from two inches to 96 inches diameter and in a wide range of materials. With many other valve manufacturers moving their production plants to India or East Asia, this local presence is becoming increasingly rare. “We operate within the high end of the butterfly valve market, with many clients that work within demanding industries, and therefore we feel we are best able to support these activities and bring added value to our products from our current European location,” highlights Marcel.
In terms of the products themselves, the butterfly valve is almost 100 per cent standardised. The oil and gas industry is predominately driven by the American Petroleum Institute (API), which clearly defines specifications for how the valve should look, the dimensions, and the materials used in construction. Beyond this are the individual customers’ specifications, which can require the customisation of these standard products. To accommodate both of these considerations, EuroValve has split its production into three units. Unit one constructs standard valves from different components through a non-assembled process, whereas unit two builds valves to order. This can be either standard valves in large sizes and a special materials, or standard valves plus the requirements of any customers. Finally, unit three manufactures the high-performance double offset valves, which are only built to order.
Through its dedicated oil and gas team, EuroValve has participated in some of the biggest projects in the world over the last five years. This in turn has led the company to become qualified with several EPC companies, as well as the oil and gas end clients themselves. At present Shell is looking to reduce its approved vendors list by introducing a higher qualification level, which will mean that the EPC companies can only buy from businesses with this higher classification. EuroValve has recently submitted a proposal to gain this higher approval, which if successful would further cement the company’s position at the high end of the butterfly valve market. Certainly EuroValve sees this as its target market for the years ahead, as its competitors move production abroad in order to offer cheaper prices, many industries are looking to EuroValve to fulfil their high quality demands.
Wouter Witzel EuroValve BV
Products: Butterfly valves