Interview Heinen & Hopman

Catching up with...

Michel Veltman, Sales Manager at Heinen & Hopman

Michel Veltman has been working for this specialist company in HVAC+R systems for 22 years. He started out as a draughtsman in the engineering department. He has been working in the sales department for around 8 years, handling all requests for marine projects.

ImageWhat does Heinen & Hopman do in a nutshell?
Heinen & Hopman was founded in 1956 by Melis Heinen & Cees Hopman. When the first gas field was discovered in that same year, they immediately jumped into the energy business. Firstly, they focused on central heating for homes. It is a real family business; Cees Hopman is 83 years old but still appears in the office almost every day. For the past 40 years or so, we have been mainly active in the maritime HVAC+R sector. HVAC+R is short for Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and sometimes an R is added, for Refrigeraton. Meanwhile, our company has grown into a true global player: internationally, we employ almost 1,750 people, of which 400 in the office in the Netherlands. We provide services in the maritime & offshore sector from A to Z, from the design and engineering of the systems to their production, application, and installation. We also provide aftercare in the form of maintenance. Customers can therefore rely on us for a highly integrated approach.

Where do you see opportunities for innovation?
In our market, mostly conventional systems are used, because the technology used often must be proven and in accordance with the regulations. We do see that in recent years there has been a lot of demand for innovation in the area of weight, noise and vibration, and the use of natural refrigerants such as CO2, ammonia or propane and/or refrigerants with a low Global Warming Potential (GWP). These developments are, of course, also beneficial from a sustainability point of view. Besides an extensive CBRN filtration and heat recovery system, we recently developed a modular air-conditioning system especially for submarines. Navies of various countries are very enthusiastic about it. Despite the much higher purchasing costs, one navy has even had this system included in their specifications because it saves them a lot of operational costs, makes them more flexible and is also more environmentally friendly. We also think it is important to produce products that are easy to exchange. This way, it is not always necessary to send a specialist from our company, which means that a ship can stay at sea longer to carry out its mission undisturbed.
“The Netherlands and Germany are quite close in terms of working culture - that makes the working relationship easy.”

What does your partnership with thyssenkrupp Marine Systems look like?
We are very satisfied with our cooperation with tkMS, which gives us the feeling that we are not just seen as a supplier, but also as a real partner. Through our subsidiary company Teknoterm, we have worked with tkMS on submarine and frigate projects in Germany and Norway. tkMS has also asked for our expertise for their Tamandaré project in Brazil. Communication between our companies is always smooth. Although it was quite different in the past, the Netherlands and Germany are quite close in terms of working culture - that makes the working relationship easy.

How do you see the future of Heinen & Hopmans and the maritime sector?
We will mainly continue to focus on what we are good at. We want to grow significantly in the coming years, especially with our share in the defence sector. Much of our work currently comes from yacht building. Further we are focused on developing military-off-the-shelf products and on sustainable innovation. For example, we are involved in various studies into the possibility of predicting the lifespan of equipment by means of metadata and algorithms. This is the result of good cooperation within the Golden Triangle: the government, knowledge institutes and industry. I am convinced that, as long as we can continue to demonstrate that we are innovative and offer good value for money, we will have a healthy future.

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