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EP_19.jpg Jan/Feb 2005
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KAEFER is the leading independent insulation company worldwide - concentrating its activities in industry, construction and also shipbuilding.


04.jpg Founded 1918 in Bremen, Germany, KAEFER is working in the areas of hot and cold insulation and noise and fire protection. Around the globe, subsidiaries of the KAEFER Group develop and assemble products and systems for insulation and interior finishing for use on land as well as on the high seas. Globalisation has never been a foreign concept for KAEFER - on the contrary, very early on KAEFER began to found overseas subsidiaries. Nowadays the KAEFER Group, with its headquarters in Bremen and foreign companies and joint ventures in over 30 countries, is the leading independent insulation company worldwide.

KAEFER’s services are divided into distinct areas, managing director Peter Hoedemaker explains: "When you look at the KAEFER worldwide organisation about 55 per cent of our business is in industry, roughly 20 per cent in shipbuilding, 20 per cent in construction, and five per cent in products/systems. Industry and shipbuilding will remain our primary business areas because they are the easiest to globalise since those are the most international markets."

The KAEFER Group has a turnover approaching 600 million euros and employs more than 6000 people in 2004. When it comes to subcontracting KAEFER only co-operates with selected suppliers. To maintain its consistently high service standards it only teams up with companies committed to the same high level of safety and quality as the Group itself. Safety planning for hazardous jobs, continuous accident-prevention training and communication concerning accidents ensure the health and safety of the KAEFER staff. Continuous use of quality management programs and computer-based project execution guarantees utmost reliability at all times. KAEFER's services combine superb engineering with handicraft skill and tested materials, Peter Hoedemaker says: "We have a lot of staff training and at the beginning of December we received from the German minister for education a prize for the best training programme of 150 industrial companies in Germany."

Regarding the current market situation Peter says: "In the medium and long term it is impossible to forecast which regions will be growing, and that is exactly what we are prepared for. As a contractor our strategy is to have a worldwide, geographical portfolio, so we have diversified our risk and dependency. We are the only company who is running insulation services as we do in so many countries, therefore we have an advantage in that we can be a partner to, say, Shell or other worldwide operating companies. This is important because when customers go to new countries they need to find a trusted supplier.

“As everyone knows Europe is facing slow growth at the moment, nowhere more so than in Germany – which constitutes about 45 per cent of Group turnover. However there are lots of alternative opportunities, in other countries in Europe like Spain and France or the new EU members such as Poland where we see strong development so that compensates for the slow German economy. “Furthermore we are established in a number of strongly developing countries, for example in the Middle East there is strong growth and also rapid development in Southern Africa.”

Peter continues: "We are successful for a number of reasons. Apart from our geographical Group portfolio we offer a number of different services in different sectors so we are diversified. Our main theme is insulation, which is our core activity and we provide everything around that, for example scaffolding, anticorrosive painting or fire protection as well as many other services. We are and we want to remain the worldwide insulation technology leader."

Demonstrating these skills the Norwegian subsidiary of KAEFER is currently working - in collaboration with Aker Stord and Aker Kvaerner Elektro – on the Snøhvit gas fields hook-up contract for a new LNG (liquid natural gas) plant at Melkøya, a small island near Hammerfest. The total investment for the project comes to approximately four and a half billion euros and the new plant will deliver LNG to markets in the US and Spain. The total volume of our contract will amount to approximately 200 million euros and altogether 1.6 million man hours will be needed to carry out the joint venture. KAEFER IKM is in charge of insulation, scaffolding and surface protection (integrated services) and these tasks will require roughly 770,000 man hours.

Range of Abilities
The work commenced in April 2004 and will be completed in the course of 2006. This is the largest multi-task onshore contract ever awarded to the KAEFER Group, Peter says: "This project portrays our range of abilities very well. We are dealing with LNG at minus 163 degrees which displays our technical capability. In addition we are working under very difficult circumstances; the temperature goes to below minus ten degrees in the winter and there is complete darkness for three months. The size and experience of the company enables us to manage these difficult projects - we have a lot of experts and it is a tight-knit organisation so we use employees from different places and send them where we need them," he concludes.

Peter explains another interesting example: "We just finished two new jobs with our innovative tunnel robot. A completely new railway line is being built between Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam to accommodate the French TGV train. This ‘High-Speed Line’ will lead over numerous bridges as well as through several tunnels. Near Dordrecht in the Netherlands, the TGV will go through two tunnels, passing under the Maas and Kil rivers. These two double-tube tunnels were fitted with a total of 50,000 m2 of fire protection panels by KAEFER with the help of the innovative tunnel robot - first used for the construction of the Weser Tunnel near Bremerhaven in Germany."

The two tubes of the Oude Maas tunnel are each 1050 m long, and those of the Dordtsche Kil tunnel are each 973 m long. KAEFER carried out the task on a two-shift basis between June and October 2004.

Decisive reasons for awarding KAEFER the contract and using the tunnel robot were the great productivity of the solution and the excellent quality of the assembly work. The client had words of high praise for the tunnel robot when it was demonstrated: "Now that’s what we call innovation!" CT-E

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