Steel plate processor makes digital turnaround

For decades, Joop van Zanten Staalservice has been a total supplier in the processing and treatment of steel sheets. The company from Veenendaal is in the process of a digital revolution and is investing heavily in the digitisation and automation of (business) processes. HiCAD from ISD Group is an important partner in this. An interview with Bart Kroesbergen, director of Joop van Zanten Steel Service.

The market demands customised and innovative solutions, Kroesbergen begins. "We therefore work according to the latest technology with a well-equipped machine park." Cutting, blasting, press braking, straightening, welding, assembling and finishing are the various treatments and processes in Joop van Zanten Staalservice's range of services. "Performing additional tests is also one of the possibilities. In addition, we have our own engineering department, work preparation, a large stock and, to complete the picture, we also provide transport.

Knowledge and structure

Our sector, especially in the thicker metal sheets, is not yet at the point where automation, digitalisation and robotisation are widely applied, certainly not in an existing environment, Kroesbergen says. "We will therefore have to invent the 'wheel' ourselves. We see it as a necessity to be able to continue competing with other continents in the future, quite apart from all the challenges of finding qualified personnel. What we are trying to achieve is to record knowledge and structure digitally as much as possible. This leads to more constant and better production quality. Moreover, in this way we also retain the ability to efficiently produce smaller series or 'one-offs'. We are now in the middle of this digital transition, a project of several years, in which we actually link all business processes digitally. For this we work together with suppliers, customers and software suppliers, such as ISD Group.

We were far from knowing all the functionalities of the software. We only started to discover them when we started the digital changeover.“

No blueprint

Joop van Zanten Staalservice has been working with HiCAD for many years. "Until a few years ago, the software was mainly used to 'redraw' drawings," Kroesbergen admits. "We were far from knowing all the functionalities of the software. We only started to discover it when we started the digital conversion. In this, we are closely assisted by the engineers of ISD Group. There is no blueprint for the digitalisation of an existing company with an existing machine park. It is a continuous process of searching, switching, building and testing, while regular production also has to go on. It is nice that a party like ISD Group is willing to cooperate. We are well on our way and it is estimated that we have covered about 90% of the 'journey', but there is still more to come. It is difficult and requires even more effort, but together we will succeed.