Jack Kistemaker, Director at HGG, was recently interviewed by TechValley*. Due to the Corona crisis, the interview took place a little later than planned, but despite (or perhaps because of) the delay, it provided a wonderful story about the latest developments at HGG and our contribution to TechValley.


HGG: Profiling a strong feat!

3D Profiling is an automated process in which three-dimensional shapes are cut into metal pipes, beams and other profiles. These cuts make it possible to make very precise and thus super strong welded joints. HGG from Wieringerwerf in The Netherlands is the specialist in this field and profiles for steel constructors all over the world. As part of TechValley, they contribute to knowledge sharing and a new generation of technicians.


Everything becomes liquid under pressure

We talk to director Jack Kistemaker later than planned. The corona crisis shifted priorities. Nevertheless, he looks back with a positive feeling on the past and the coming period. “We just had to arrange a lot. Our Filipino branches were closed, America was closed for our Dutch employees. That had major consequences for us. We saw it coming our way.” And so HGG adapted very quickly. “We have been working with remote installation teams for a while. So installing remotely. With cameras where it happens and a team that does the work from a completely different place. There were always all kinds of objections and a year ago we really couldn’t change it, but under pressure everything becomes liquid. If I wanted to help my customers, we had to switch to remote installation and service. It is our most radical innovation ever.”

But not the only one, it turns out. “We are accelerating many innovations. Our specialists, who are normally abroad, could now start testing, so that we can put these innovations on the market earlier. It’s a matter of moving along and daring to be open to something new.”


Knowledge and kilos

HGG is specialized in 3D cutting and the associated technology. Everything is automated between the drawing board and the final moment of welding, so that errors are minimal. Jack: “The difference between design and reality is so small that the construction fits perfectly and the steel constructor has to make about 10% less welding hours. Suppose that a steel construction normally has 10,000 welding hours and you multiply that by the hourly price, then 10% is a big saving. ” HGG is not the only provider of 3D profiling, but can call itself the market leader with a number of machines and they also make their own software. Jack: “We have control over hardware and software and therefore complete freedom. We are never dependent on others. ”

The strong achievements of HGG can be found in most of the super tankers, roller coasters, the Maaslantkering of the ‘Nieuwe Waterweg’, the Wembley stadium and in the reconstruction of the AZ stadium. One of the most impressive works on which HGG has contributed is the largest subtropical swimming paradise in the world, which contains holiday homes in addition to the swimming pool. The statue of liberty fits upright. With 125 employees, HGG devises the machines to build these types of works and supplies the software. The machines are produced elsewhere. “We produce with our heads,” says Jack. “In everything we ask ourselves how we can produce the most efficiently and cheaply as possible and we look for the best strategic partners. We provide the knowledge here and ensure that the kilos, the simple steel, are produced at the destination. Then you don’t have to ship.”


Keeping the Netherlands smart

HGG is part of TechValley. “TechValley stimulates constant development, among other things by exchanging knowledge. The more people you have together and the more different disciplines, the more ideas there are. In this way, companies can help each other with the problems they encounter. But development is also stimulated by working together with schools. The students who gain work experience at HGG are the technicians of the future. Not just for us, but for the entire industry. They will provide the following innovations. We have about five interns and two or three students from Tetrix as standard. ” TechValley has been supporting companies for five years to get new projects off the ground. Jack: “We are involved with four or five projects, the most important of which is a universal robot platform. Robotic arms must be able to grab and lift and cut our case. There is very complicated software behind that, because it is very precise. It constantly makes minor corrections. We want to provide software that allows you to run different robotics, regardless of brand. I hope to start using this in the Netherlands as soon as possible. ”

Jack Kistemaker is proud of the people he has in house. “And I want to offer them a future. Always ensure that they are working on technology and not to resolve faults or the like. Then I lose them. I also think that’s the beauty of TechValley. The Netherlands is a knowledge economy. Stimulating innovation is one thing, but ensuring that the pearls of that economy stay here is another. It would be a shame if beautiful Dutch companies were taken over by foreign players. TechValley sets an example for other regions. It keeps us smart here.”

Read the origional article (in Dutch) here: https://techvalley-nh.nl/testimonials/hgg

*TechValley is a partnership that originated on the initiative of more than 35 North Holland machine builders (the TechnoSpitsen network), Koninklijke Metaalunie and FME. Partners in TechValley are 10 North Holland Machine Builders, Inholland Alkmaar University of Applied Sciences and the Noord-Holland Noord Development Company, which is the coordinator. For the day-to-day project management, the development company has hired Parbleu, because of their experience and network in the manufacturing industry. TechValley’s goal is an innovative and future-proof North Holland machine building industry.