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Busy times for the iron men at Alumat Zeeman

From Business Park Honderdland in Maasdijk, The Netherlands, Alumat Zeeman supplies the global (greenhouse) horticulture industry. Senior sales manager Robert Vink shows us what goes on behind the doors of the company.

Robert Vink

It’s very noisy in the large production hall of Alumat Zeeman. Numerous machines are stamping, cutting, clipping and lasering. Steel is rejuvenated, rounded and converted to parts of a heating installation. An aluminium tube changes into an aeration system.

Despite all the hectic activity taking place, there is a peaceful atmosphere. "We focus very much on safety. Everyone knows what he is doing," says Robert. "Some time ago, for example, a coach of a company ’5x better’ with work safety in the metal industry, filmed in our production hall with a drone. The staff could then see where improvements could still be made to make everything safe and streamlined. We think that is important. We ran two shifts of 16 hours a day in the past months, but if necessary, we can further increase this. So it is important for everyone to know what they’re doing. Besides, this footage is also used for other companies in the metal sector."

Components, systems and processing
Alumat Zeeman originally was working in renovation projects, but has continued to develop well in the almost 90 years of its existence. Now in particular the supply to the global greenhouse horticulture industry is central. Most of the company's customers come from Europe, but at Alumat Zeeman they see that they increasingly realize more and bigger projects outside the EU. For example, in the USA, Russia and Asia. "And also markets in the east of Europe is growing more and more."

The company is organized along 3 lines: greenhouse components, greenhouse systems and industrial processing. Within the systems branch, screen and aeration systems are designed and built. "We do not install ourselves. We focus on what we are good at," says Robert. "Our customers, for example, are greenhouse builders, but it also happens that (large) growers do the construction themselves. We try to facilitate the installation process by optimally designing the system for fast and easy installation and proper operation. Together with an extensive installation manual, the installation must be able to proceed smoothly, just as it does with an Ikea cabinet." Robert remarks that this method has gained popularity in recent years. "International projects are then realized under the guidance of a supervisor."

Many of the components for the systems are produced in-house. "There can’t be systems without parts", Robert clarifies. We are now talking about our greenhouse parts. These are also partly used for our systems, but are also supplied as parts for maintenance, renovation, repair or installation at the grower.

In order to successfully supply this market for greenhouse parts internationally, Alumat Zeeman has for years been working with an online platform. We are currently upgrading this platform. "It's especially easy for the user. Certainly with international projects and time differences, this is an advantage - but also because a customer no longer requires to call or email, but instantly can see and figure out what he needs. That may concern a wide variety of subjects." If there are any questions left, the customer can always call for advice.

Existing customers
Even though the company focuses on R&D and production, they still maintain the existing product range collection. "We still deliver the materials for existing greenhouses, and the molds for those parts are still available. Certainly with demolition, displacement and renovation of existing greenhouses, we know how important it is to have the right parts." 

The third branch is the industrial processing. This also involves supplying other markets, such as the livestock industry or the technical installation industry.

Anti-hail net
In the course of the development of systems, Alumat Zeeman has in recent years developed a movable anti-hail net for fruit cultivation. This has resulted in a whole new business to develop under the name of APS Holland (Automatic Protection Systems Holland). "With APS Holland, we design, manufacture and install the entire system in close cooperation with the grower so that he gets a guaranteed fitting and effective protection against hail and his crop can grow optimally.

In the hall the work continues normally throughout Robert‘s explanation. There are some older machines, but also quite a lot of new variants. The last addition to the machine park is the Fiber laser, which can cut various parts in any shape out of 6 by 2 meter plates.

The Fiber laser

"Stopping means going backwards for us. There’s a reason why a significant part of our office staff works on R&D. When the greenhouse builders continue to develop, we need to be prepared for this as well. We work with the latest design software and we print specific parts with our 3D printer so that, together with the customer, we can see if a part is good before we put it into production. This is how we work on the development of our customers and we try to be prepared for everything."

Want to know more? Meet Robert next week at the Four Oaks Trade Show, stand B25+B26.

For more information:
Alumat Zeeman B.V. (e-mail)
Honderdland 32, Maasdijk (Holland)
Postbus 39, 2680 AA, Monster (Holland)
T: +31 (0)174518155
M:+31 (0)651291956

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