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All the heat you need

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For nearly 50 years, Thermobile has been an international leader in the development, production, marketing and sale of mobile heaters for a variety of industrial applications. Heating requirements on construction sites, in halls, marquees, army tents, garages, workshops, barns and greenhouses can all be met with solutions from its range.

Thermobile heaters are also used in the offshore, gas and oil industry, mining industry, agricultural sector and pest control. “Wherever there is a requirement to heat an area where there is no permanent heating system installed or supplementary heating is required, this need can be met using a product from our range,” says Sales & Marketing Director Maurice de Vlieger. “We can also tailor solutions to the client’s situation.”

Thermobile heaters are also used in the offshore, gas and oil industry, mining industry, agricultural sector and pest control. “Wherever there is a requirement to heat an area where there is no permanent heating system installed or supplementary heating is required, this need can be met using a product from our range,” says Sales & Marketing Director Maurice de Vlieger. “We can also tailor solutions to the client’s situation.”

Thermobile’s historic focus was on heating equipment for the agrarian sector. Besides other applications, its heaters were used to dry agricultural products and harvested crops to prevent rotting. In 1994, the company was bought by the Honing Beheer Group, a family owned company specialising in cooling, heating and air conditioning solutions.

“This meant widening our scope to target sectors outside the agricultural sector, such as the oil and gas industry and also the rental market,” says Mr. De Vlieger. “It also marked a widening of the company’s export activities to the US and Canada.”

Today, in addition to its headquarters in Breda, Thermobile has sales and service offices in France and the United Kingdom as well as a network of dedicated partners. Exports account for 80% of Thermobile’s annual turnover of 16 million EUR. Logically, the company’s main markets are countries where the weather is cold enough to require heating equipment such as Europe, Eastern Europe, North America and Russia.

The company also offers electric heaters, infrared heaters, dehumidifiers and mobile cooling systems. Thermobile has a vertically integrated production chain. The entire production process takes place in-house from product design to production.

All sheet metal processing steps are carried out at the factory in Breda including welding, powder coating, assembly and testing of the final product. An in-house research and development department is responsible for new product innovation.

“In the past, mainly mobile heaters without chimneys were sold as temporary solutions,” says Mr. De Vlieger. “Today, we sell more and more mobile heaters with chimneys. This presents both an efficiency and a safety issue, both of which we have successfully addressed with our new ranges.”

With such a comprehensive range of expertise available on demand, Thermobile can easily customise its products to meet its clients’ requirements. Thermobile supplies heaters ranging in performance from 20 to 400 kW for the professional market. A relatively new market for the company’s products has been created by the catastrophic flooding that has become more common in recent years.

Thermobile’s heaters enable flooddamaged properties to dry out more quickly. Once the waters recede, people want to get back into their homes as quickly as possible. By using a heater in combination with a dehumidifier, the time it takes for the fabric of the building to dry out can be reduced by 75%, taking just a few days instead of two weeks. With these “once in a hundred years” events now happening on a more regular basis, this is a market that will continue to grow.

An important factor in Thermobile’s success is its focus on quality. “From the very beginning, our focus has always been on producing top-quality equipment that can be relied upon over the course of a long operating life,” says Mr. De Vlieger. “We use only the highest quality components available in the market to ensure that our products offer ongoing high performance.” Thermobile is a service-oriented company both with respect to its products and to training its dealers and clients. “Our aim is to be the best, even if that means being more expensive than some of our competitors,” adds Mr. De Vlieger.

Both the company headquarters and its production facilities are located in Breda, where the company employs 70 permanent employees. The workforce is supplemented by around 20 seasonal employees who are taken on at peak times. “Our business is relatively seasonal in that heaters tend to be bought in the winter when the weather gets colder,” explains Mr. De Vlieger. “Nevertheless, we are projecting growth in the coming years that will be relatively independent of the seasons.”

Thermobile’s market share in existing markets is growing, and the company has succeeded in breaking into new markets with a number of new clients. “A lot of companies are being cautious with new investments as a result of the financial crisis, but that does not mean that no one is investing at the moment,” says Mr. De Vlieger. “Our wide orientation that covers all kinds of heating needs and the broad applications for our products means that we can be confident about the future.”

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