Windmill foundations are the result of excellent teamwork. Each team across our sites contributes to the bigger picture with a specialisation. At the end of the process you can find our 'Vertical Final Assembly’ team from Smulders Projects in Hoboken. At great speed and according to the highest safety and quality standards, they work towards load-out.
In the shadow of the Titan crane, you will meet our Final Assemblers. They are responsible for the final mechanical assembly of the foundations. This process can start when all components, including ladders, platforms and boat landing pieces have arrived from the other production sites. First up are our colleagues from 'horizontal'. After their assembly work on the ground, the team members of 'vertical' take to the heights, under the watchful eye of Production Leader Marcin Witkowski and Production Manager Jonas Lens.
Leading by example
With 15 years of experience at Smulders, Marcin knows all the ins & outs of final assembly. Like procedures, plans, instructions and quality requirements - know-how he also shares with the people inside and outside his team. “On a new project, I start with the works at heights as a test. This will tell me exactly how much time my people are going to need for a particular task and allows me to set a good example right from the start. Timing is crucial in vertical final assembly. Our job is one of the last phases, just before the electrical fitting and the finishing touches to the coating. My expertise was also used in a previous project, Moray East at Smulders Project UK.”
Is this technical job at heights something anyone can do? Marcin: “You have to be able to read drawings well, willing to work very accurately, be honest and not be afraid to take initiative. When the men go up, they have to make sure to have all their tools with them and do their jobs. It's not like anyone can just come up quickly to bring something they forgot. A great sense of safety is another aspect. As aerial workers, we are always alert. We have had the necessary training to become aerial platform workers and forklift truck drivers, and for certain height activities a specialised firm helps us out. HSE also continuously gives us new tips & tricks.”
Against the clock
Jonas Lens is happy with what he sees. He recently took over the role of Production Manager from Nick Iemants who is preparing for the role of General Manager of Smulders Projects in Hoboken. “There are challenges though, time is one of them. If you miss something in the horizontal final assembly, it may still emerge during the vertical assembly. If the foundations are up, the customer gets a better view of the whole. This means that changes may still be made or design errors may become apparent, which obviously affects our work. We do what we can to meet deadlines and Marcin keeps that in check just fine.”
Passionate about steel, that’s what Jonas, Marcin and the final assembly team are. There is a lot of diversity in language and culture, and yet they get along just fine communication-wise. With the right attitude, anything is possible.
Marcin: “Smulders is my second home after all these years, even though I often travel to my family abroad. The flexibility, independence and confidence in my abilities made me and, by extension, my team grow. In busy times, we switch up a gear with contractors and we are still looking for additional reinforcement within final assembly. This extraordinary job is still fascinating after all this time. I have seen a positive evolution in the organisation towards more efficiency, and the future definitely looks bright.”
The colleagues: Bozowski Mateusz, Bujnowski Eugeniusz, Bujnowski Piotr, De Souza Rafael, Dyl Adrian, Franca Ivo, Jatkowski Pawel, Koniszewski Szczepan, Lesnak Robert, Matsyuk Andriy, Michalewski Radoslaw, Powalisz Khrysztof, Rog Adam, Rybicki Jacek, Siuda Karol, Sulecki Dawid, Tessmer Dawid, Cappellen Lars, Zymla Krzysztof, Marcin Witkowski, Jonas Lens, Nick Iemants