Wintertime is usually a period of running around from one malfunction to another for boiler mechanics. This year is no exception, although the 'summer-like winter' does decrease the amount of malfunctions and makes more room for regular maintenance, says Erwin van der Mark of boiler maintenance firm Van der Mark Ketelonderhoud from their brand new company building in De Lier (the Netherlands).
The new building
The week before Christmas was the time for the big move. Well in advance this week was blocked. The old building was traded for a bigger one. "After 25 years, the move was much needed, because we got too big for the old building", says Erwin, who together with his brother Hans owns this 51 year old family business.
Stock better maintained
In the new building, there is more office space, the working comfort has received an upgrade with the most modern climate control techniques and, important for a boiler maintenance business, the factory hall and warehouse are almost twice as big. "Because of our bigger warehouse, we can maintain the stock better and supply spare parts more easily."
Boilers high and dry
In the industry hall especially the overhead crane stands out, for those who are interested in that sort of thing. "We regularly maintain boilers from soil fumigation companies. In this big hall, the boilers can easily be brought in. Our mechanics don't have to do the maintenance outside anymore and with the help of the overhead crane the maintenance can be done fast and safely."
What also helps, is that there's more room for extra staff in the bigger hall as well. "More people can work on a boiler at the same time, so the work rate increases. In the old building we had literally and figuratively reached the ceiling. Here we even have room for extra people."
More regular maintenance in winter
The mechanics are mostly busy with malfunctions in winter, in greenhouse horticulture, which the company started with, but also in the industrial sector. Over the years, Van der Mark has started more maintenance in that sector as well.
"This year, we see fewer malfunctions due to the warm weather and a little more regular maintenance. Because it hasn't been very cold yet, a grower can easily shut off the boiler for service or repair."
Erwin with the 1914 boiler last summer, which was then still being repaired, to later on get a prominent place in the atrium of the new building.
The showpiece of the new building is an industrial boiler from 1914. "We moved this boiler to the new building even before we moved ourselves. It's in the atrium between our offices and the industry hall.
"It's inside a very large Venlo greenhouse construction. Visitors come in, and with the boiler we connect the sectors that we work in. The greenhouse for the horticultural visitors and the industrial boiler. Very recognizable. We receive nice comments on it."