New double-gantry cutting machine for Belgian shipbuilders

Eight years after supplying the first machine, MicroStep and WCW delivered another advanced bevel cutting machine to the Belgian EDR Antwerp Shipyard. "Good experience with our previous MicroStep machine surely helped us to take the decision," confirmed purchasing manager Tom De Schepper.
Belgian ship repairers Engine Deck Repair (EDR) in cooperation with the port of Antwerp have been investing in renovations, new infrastructure and equipment upgrades since 2015. As part of the investment program, a new MicroStep CombiCut plasma cutting machine with two gantries and a working area of 27 x 3 m was put into operation at the beginning of October 2021. The machine was supplied through MicroStep's official representative in Benelux, the Belgian company Wouters Cutting and Welding.

MicroStep CombiCut with two gantries and a working area of 27 x 3 m.

Shipyard in the hearth of Europe

The renewed shipyard and spare parts distribution centre cover an area of 36,5 hectares right in the Port of Antwerp. In addition to extensive investments, EDR has been also working on rebranding. In February 2021, the enterprise was renamed to EDR Antwerp Shipyard, introduced new logo and brand visuals. “New brand image, together with the quality of our work, customer-oriented approach and affordable prices contributed to strengthening our market position," says Philippe Trouillard, Sales Director at EDR. In addition to ship repairs and maintenance, EDR also provides shipbuilding consumables supplies, spare parts distribution and is also engaged in inland shipping services. In Antwerp, the company operates 4 dry docks, 2,000 m of repair berths, a state-of-the-art technical workshop covering 14,000 m² and 16,000 m² of storage space.

EDR's extensive steel works

Steelworks department is the largest department of EDR Antwerp Shipyard. The workshop has a BV ISO 9001 certification and is also fully equipped with all the necessary tools to carry out the different maritime and offshore steel works.

The acquired modern machinery allows EDR to keep all production in-house and deliver jobs in the shortest possible time in a quality that meets the company's high standards. Whether it is hatch cover repairs, shell plate replacements, repairs on gangways, handrails, walkways and safety stanchions, pipe repairs or renewals, pre-fabrication of parts or entire steel constructions – flexible production means are needed for the department's comprehensive workload.

EDR Antwerp Shipyard specializes in ship repair and ship renovation. The company in cooperation with the port of Antwerp have been investing in renovations, new infrastructure and equipment upgrades in order to improve their services and increase efficiency.

Increase of cutting capacities

EDR bought their first MicroStep plasma cutting machine in 2013 – a CombiCut with work area 6 m x 2.5 m and a pipe cutting zone for processing of pipes up to diameter Ø 700 mm, equipped with a 260 A plasma source. The primary goal of their latest 2021 acquisition was the increase of cutting capacities. This time the choice fell on a CombiCut with a larger working area of 27 m x 3 m and a double gantry with two bevel heads for plasma cutting up to 50° angle.

CombiCut 27001.30 Prk + 1.30 Prk, double-gantry cutting machine with two bevel heads for plasma cutting up to 50° angle. 

Experience speaks for itself

"With our new CombiCut 27001.30 Prk + 1.30 Prk, we are able to cut on a larger area at the same time thanks to the two-gantry solution," explains Tom De Schepper, Purchasing Manager at EDR. Both gantries are equipped with automatic 300 A plasma sources that provide high quality outputs paired with convenient user interfaces, tailor-made for companies that cut mainly steel, but occasionally need to process also other metals.

"CombiCut appealed to us mainly with its good price-performance ratio, so we chose it again. We also compared it with machines from other suppliers, but MicroStep was still the most sensible and advantageous choice for us. Of course, the good experience with our previous MicroStep machine helped us to make the final decision. Over the years, we have built a good relationship with MicroStep's supplier Wouters Cutting & Welding. We know that we can count on their service, because they are always trying to find the most suitable solution for a specific case, which is a big plus for us," continues Tom De Schepper.

Final decision to invest in the new CombiCut was also made thanks to the experience with the previous MicroStep machine from the same product line.

New machine sparks interest

"Every company and every machine is different, so we always try to find the best solution matching the specific needs of each customer," says Maarten Peelaers, Sales Manager at WCW. For this complex cutting machine, the delivery time was approximately 18 weeks, which included 3 to 4 weeks for installation and 1 week for operator training. "The new machine has sparked great interest and has attracted the attention of many of our employees. Operators like to work with the CombiCut and quickly adapted to its advanced features during the start-up phase. At the same time, it is a clear signal to them that the company is willing to invest in new technologies,” says Tom De Schepper.

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