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Crispbread & cooling technology – part 3

Cheese maturation

Fresh produce



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Crispbread & cooling technology – part 3

Wilco de Laat about the production of the machine room and transport

A new project for a large fresh centre in Sweden. How do we approach that? In a number of blogs, we would like to take you into our world. In this blog: Wilco de Laat (workshop manager) about the production of the machine room, the transport and the way everything is double-checked.

In the Voets & Donkers workshop, there is an impressive construction of compressors and stainless steel piping, more than three metres high. “And here”, says Wilco de Laat, workshop manager, pointing to another huge structure, “this construction will be on top of that”. It’s hard to imagine that that’s possible at all. Let alone that you can form an image of the entire machine room, which consists of even more of these ‘stacked constructions’.

Large machine room

Yet it is true: in Sweden, a large 12 by 16.75 by 8.7 metre machine room is being built. It forms the heart of a new fresh centre that will be realised for fruit and vegetable processor VCN. A challenge that the people at Voets & Donkers have enjoyed taking up from the start of the project. This is also the case for Wilco. “We make a lot of beautiful things”, he says, “but now we are seeing almost the entire machine room emerge in our workshop. And that is especially beautiful”

“For projects within the Netherlands, the machine room is only partly produced in our own workshop, and is then already transported to the customer”, says Wilco. “That means we often only see machines and parts. Now, those machines are also being connected here and the pipes are already being laid. As a result, we get more or less the same picture here as with the customer. Well, the same picture… the machine room doesn’t fit in our workshop in its entirety. But still, the picture is fairly complete now.”

You don’t ‘just’ drive up and down to Sweden. When the trucks are unloaded in Sweden, everything has to be right. So I need to know exactly what's in which truck and when.

Wilco de LaatWorkshop Manager

At the time of this interview, the machine room is almost ready for transport to Sweden. It has been worked on it for more than two months: about five weeks by about 15 people in their own workshop, then another two weeks by the sprayer and another three weeks of work on the electricity and insulation. The machine room is built based on the 3D drawings of Michael and his team and the process diagram of Derk (see also the earlier blog).

At the end of March, the machine room will be transported to Sweden by truck via Germany and Denmark. In large ‘building pieces’, which will soon be relatively easy to assemble in Sweden. “The fact that we are building the machine room as a whole here will save a lot of hours in Sweden”, says Wilco. “In our own workshop, we have everything at hand: cranes, sawing machines, a warehouse full of spare parts… but on the other hand, it is imperative that we don’t forget anything. We can’t just drive up and down to Sweden. When the trucks are unloaded in Sweden, everything has to be right. Also concerning the order: whatever comes at the rear of the machine room has to be loaded into the truck first. So I need to know exactly what’s in which truck and when.”

Check, check, dubbelcheck

But before that happens, the entire installation has to be checked, rechecked and double-checked. Wilco and his team partly do this themselves, such as when it comes to the question of whether all the pipes, sensors and measuring points for safety are included. This check is carried out repeatedly by different people. Nitrogen is then pressed through the installation at a pressure of 15 to 20 bar to test the installation for leaks. And when that is done, X-rays are made of the stainless steel welds to check if the thickness of the weld is okay, and to check if there is no dirt and/or air in the weld. A specific company specialised in this field takes these photos, which often happens in the evening and at night, because no one should be around due to the strong X-rays.

Only when all these things have been thoroughly checked and, where necessary, repaired and/or adapted, are the machine room parts lifted with cranes, placed on wheels and loaded into flatbed trailers. Crates with a huge number of parts are packed and efficiently placed between the machines. And oh yes, Wilco says, the rules surrounding freight traffic must also be taken into account, which are always different for the four different countries through which the trucks pass. “But fortunately, that’s usually taken care of by the transport company we’ve hired”, says Wilco. “They specialise in freight transport to Sweden.” And so the convoy can leave. On to the next step: a successful assembly in Sweden!

Want to know more? Read the earlier blogs of Peter Donkers en Derk Alkema & Michael van der Meijden here.

Voets & Donkers - Knackebrod & koeltechniek - Deel 3 - 01


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