With a Hands-on Mentality Tackling Things

Interview with Arie van Vliet, Managing Director and André Schalk, Sales Development Engineer at Gouda Feuerfest Services GmbH

Bochum Sales Branch of Gouda Vuurvast Services
On-site in Germany: Bochum Sales Branch of Gouda Vuurvast Services

In the industry, things often get heated. Some processes generate temperatures of several hundred degrees. Facilities that host such temperatures naturally have to meet very special requirements. And that's where specialists who understand their craft are in demand. Such specialists with years of experience and extensive know-how are employed by the Dutch company Gouda Vuurvast Services BV, which has also been present in Germany for some time. The company offers not only refractory solutions for a wide range of applications but also all related services.

"Our products are very good and customers appreciate the way we work with them," emphasizes Arie van Vliet, managing director of Gouda Vuurvast Services BV. "We think with the customer, are flexible and quick. This is also reflected in the feedback on satisfaction with us that customers give us online."

Everything about refractory materials is the specialty of Gouda Vuurvast Services. This includes refractory coatings as well as repairs, maintenance, inspections, and service. "We also offer complete engineering, produce and supply refractory bricks, shaped bricks, and monoliths, and install everything in the plants," explains Arie van Vliet. "In doing so, customers have our project managers, who serve various segments, as their contact."

Focus on NRW

The customers include, among others, the petrochemical industry, steelworks, operators of waste incineration plants as well as aluminum producers and foundries. The clients mainly come from the Netherlands and Germany – here especially from North Rhine-Westphalia –, but also from Belgium, Scandinavia, Poland, and the rest of the world.

Gouda Fireproof Services Managing Director Arie van Vliet
Managing Director: Arie van Vliet
Gouda Fireproof Services Sales Development Engineer André Schalk
Sales Development Engineer: André Schalk

"We offer our services personally to the customer. We are aware that the refractory lining is an essential part of our customers' installations. Therefore, we understand very well that a customer carefully considers which supplier and installer to choose for this. Once a customer has chosen us as their supplier and installer, the feedback on our collaboration, both in the workshop and through our online customer satisfaction survey, is extremely positive. This leads to a long-term collaboration, with fixed teams on our part and joint innovative strength, leading to cost savings in the area of refractory lining. To achieve this, we have extremely strict quality controls of our production. Our engineering and a fixed assembly team take care of the last details in the drawing and its implementation. Fixed contact persons are responsible for smooth cooperation in the shop floor. This serves to realize optimizations and improvements. Our production, our testing and development laboratory, as well as our engineering and the support of our product managers, form our solid foundation. The passion our employees show every day for the safety, the quality of their work at the customer's site and the cooperation with the customer and all other contractors on site, is the strength of Gouda Refractory Services. Our employees are our ambassadors on site," says Andr\u00e9 Schalk.

Moreover, the Dutch market leader has also made a name for itself in Germany through successful projects, for example in Wuppertal and Leverkusen.

Part of Andus Groep

The company was founded in 1901 by the brothers Gerhard and Arie Jacob Nagtegaal, who established a factory for the production of refractory material in Gouda. Since 1959, Gouda Vuurvast Services has been operating under its current name. By that time, renowned companies such as Shell, Esso, Philips, and the Dutch Railways were already among the customers.

Gouda Fireproof Services Fireproof Lining
Extremely heat resistant: Fireproof lining

In 2008, the acquisition by the Andus Groep occurred, which operates in four divisions in the sectors of oil and gas industry, steel construction, refractory, and process industry. The Andus Groep, in turn, is part of the Dutch Gilde Equity Management. In 2021, the branch in Bochum was opened.

"We tackle things actively and are passionate about what we do. Quality and safety are always our top priorities. Moreover, we set up programs that ensure our employees feel comfortable and are well in the workplace. Therefore, we also have a low turnover," says Arie van Vliet. In the coming years, Gouda Vuurvast Services also aims to become the market leader in Germany - possibly through acquisitions as well. Furthermore, the Andus Groep is also aiming for growth: in other European countries, but also worldwide.