Covering some 6000 square meters of space, the new workshop, storage and office complex at Koninklijke De Vries in Aalsmeer is a clear response to market-driven expansion. With brand-new facilities for carpentry, metalwork, painting, insulation and other key disciplines, increases in efficiency will dovetail with shorter lead times for outfitting Feadships. And the yard will also continue to meet the stringent environmental regulations that apply in the Netherlands.
The new two-storey building is the fifth major complex on the site of the De Vries yard in Aalsmeer, which already features three state-of-the-art construction halls (two dry docks and one slipway), and existing workshop building. Some workshops are already being used and the entire building will be fully operational by this summer.
Plans are also at an advanced stage for a new lightweight composite shop that will open in mid 2009. This will produce smaller parts such as air grills and hatches for use by the De Vries yards in Aalsmeer and in Makkum. Major superstructure elements will continue to be built by expert co-makers elsewhere in the Netherlands.
“We have more projects running at the same time than at any time in the yard’s long history,” explains managing director Tom de Vries. “There are currently nine different Feadships at various stages of engineering and construction at De Vries Aalsmeer alone, in addition to those at De Vries Makkum and the Royal Van Lent yards. And the slipway hall is now constantly in use for production of the SL39.”
“All this has been putting pressure on the physical space with which our craftsmen have to work. Having all the main workshops located in the halls themselves next to the yachts had become restrictive. The new solution is much cleaner and a significant logistically enhancement.”
There are many practical examples of the benefits of the new set-up:
• The stainless steel team now has its own workshop, removing concerns related to mixing this specialist work with other metals.
• The piping and mechanical departments – which used to share space with the stainless steel workers – now have a much larger area in which to work, and more storage facilities.
• There are three paint spray booths instead of one, and overall the painters have five times as much space as before.
• The larger storage areas for the owner supplies – a crucial element on any custom project – are in a more secure area of the yard.
• A dedicated mockup zone means these impressive and time-consuming artifacts can be properly viewed by clients.
• The new offices will be primarily used by the engineering department, which is being expanded in order to be closer to the production.
• In relation to this, the work preparation facilities will be radically enhanced, ensuring detailed drawings are available for captains, electricians and the like.
Another key aspect of the expansion is a desire at De Vries to bring some work back to the yard itself. Because of lack of space we brought more work to our subcontractors for specialized disciplines such as painting, carpentry and stainless steel and this has put a lot of pressure on them.
“The more we can do in house the easier it is to guarantee the absolute quality for which Feadships are rightly renowned. Availability of course is another crucial factor at a time when the global industry is booming – we do not want to be in a position where our ability to meet deadlines is hampered by under-capacity elsewhere.”
The hull and superstructures of De Vries Feadships are constructed at sister companies such as Slob and Akerboom. A lot of basic engineering installations such as piping and engine room parts are already in place when the yacht arrives at De Vries, and the new facilities are designed to reduce the time spent onboard from this moment onwards. The workshops will allow many more interior parts to be prepared and prefabricated in advance; ready to be swiftly installed once the hull and superstructure arrive.