A sample of Boldit's Future Teak product

THE NETHERLANDS, Hendrik Ido Ambacht. In February of this year we reported on Bolidt’s 50th anniversary. In celebration of this milestone, the Dutch synthetic specialist invited a small group of journalists to visit its headquarters and to meet some of its key partners within the maritime sector.

We arrived at Bolidt’s HQ by water taxi, which was a fun change from the usual airport minibus or car journey from Rotterdam airport. As we walked towards the main entrance to its facilities, press and media relations manager Margriet Lommers pointed out Bolidt’s new development, which faces the Noord river. “At the moment we are finishing a temporary structure, which is where we will host a party to celebrate our 50th anniversary,” she said. “It will be used as our Bolidt experience workshop until we get the go ahead to build our new experience centre. This is an important development following the refurbishment of our offices, as we invite interested parties such as designers to come to our facilities to see the possibilities and options available when using our products.”

Bolidt's refurbished offices

“We will begin work on a new experience centre in two or three years time, and we want to open a new virtual reality centre which will support our global sales effort,” said Bolidt’s CEO Rientz W Bol in his welcoming speech. He explained how the company is known for its resin flooring solutions and have applied their products to projects within the healthcare and building sectors, and of course within the marine industry.

The first presentation of the day came from Jacco van Overbeek, director of Bolidt’s global shipbuilding division. He revealed that 50 per cent of the company’s turnover comes from its marine division and that at the time of our visit, of its 36 projects ranging from cruise ships and ferries to navy and fishing vessels, Bolidt was working on four superyachts. Along with reviewing a few of its products, van Overbeek highlighted the importance of improving its products. "Developing sustainable and environmentally friendly products is important to us,” he said. “We tend to renew our decking on vessels every four to six years depending on what product it is and the type of vessel it has been fitted on. Our Future Teak for example has been around for nine years now and we’ve not had to replace or renew it yet.”

Jacco van Overbeek

Van Overbeek revealed Bolidt's aim to develop intelligent products that are energy saving in terms of insulation and heat deflection, but also energy producing. “The future is in innovation and improvement, and so we are looking at products that offer the opportunity to generate energy by simply walking on it or by harnessing solar energy,” he added. 

Paul de Ruijter

Head of R&D at Bolidt Paul de Ruijter took the group on a tour of its lab where he and his team explore and test new materials and applications. He provided an overview of the machines and methods used to test new products, while showing how certain colours are achieved. This was promptly followed by a presentation from Thomas Weigend from Meyer Werft. The sales and product development manager provided an overview of the shipyard’s facilities, which includes a hall 504m long, 125m wide and 75m tall. He explained the importance of efficiency within the yard's cruise ship production line, which takes as little as 16 minutes to manufacture a single cabin thanks to its automated modular system. Weigend also touched on the state of the market and the threat of Chinese competitors before presenting a new 120m, 170m and a 250m motoryacht concept, as the yard begins to push into the superyacht market, having only built four superyachts to date.

Thomas Weigend

“We are looking at the superyacht market carefully,” Weigend said. “One reason for this is because cruise ships are growing in size, which means we haven’t used our small covered building dock for a while. However, it is a nice facility that has the capacity to build up to 300m, which is smaller than the biggest yacht currently on water, so there is potential here.”

Fredrik Johansson

The growing size of cruise ships provides interesting opportunities for designer, as partner and art director at Tillberg Design Fredrik Johansson highlighted during his presentation. The designer offered insight into current trends and explained that there was much more to a cruise ship  than simply building as many cabins on board as possible. "Cruise ship owners try to make the most of open deck space areas with less traditional ideas," he said. “There is much more design involved today than there was ten years ago.”

Mark Vermeulen

The last speaker of the day was Mark Vermeulen from Damen, who discussed the benefits and potential of support vessels such as the Sea Axe, which is available as a 43m, 53m, 58m and 67m. Thanks to the qualities, design opportunities and durability of Bolidt’s products, many of Damen's projects feature Esthec on the exterior and interior. Vermeulen also revealed that his team is exploring a larger version of the Sea Axe model. “We've received a lot of interest for a bigger version of the Sea Axe to accommodate more toys and possible refueling capabilities,” he said. “And so we are currently developing an 85m version."

Bolidt's R&D department

The day concluded in the R&D lab, where the press was invited to play and experiment with various coloured resins.

Related Links:
Meyer Werft
Tillberg Design AB-Sweden