Long before he founded his own company, W. van West had been a skilled Chief Mechanical Engineer of Technical services for the Koninklijke Hollandsche Lloyd’s shipping company (Royal Dutch Loyd’s) located in Amsterdam – The Netherlands.
Koninklijke Hollandsche Lloyd’s shipping company at the time used to equip it’s vessels with refrigeration equipment supplied by the English firm J&E Hall Ltd.
When the ships docked in the port of Amsterdam, often after a very long voyage, various parts would either need repair or replacement.
Mr. W. van West realised that only a few firms in Amsterdam specialised in the repair of refrigeration equipment. He therefor decided to exploit this niche and in 1923 he founded Fa. van West.
Located in the Hamerstraat 24 in Amsterdam the firm specialized in the repairing engine parts for steam engines and manufacturing of refrigeration equipment and piston rings for the ships diesel and steam engines.
How do they do it?
From the start till this day, the goal of Fa van West is to supply their customers with cheap high quality products. Purchased from scrapyards all over the world and expertly repaired bij Fa van West, each part was ready for re-use as a first class product.
Therefor the customers could be assured of a reliable high quality product for a fair price.
Due to the high quality products and the skill of the craftsman, Fa van West was able to build a very large and pristine customer base in the first years after the establishment with prestigious costumers as the Koninklijke Hollandsche Lloyd’s (Royal Dutch Lloyd’s) and the KNSM Koningklijke Stoomschip Maatschappij (Royal Dutch Steamship Company) Stoomvaart mij.Nederland.
By 1927 the company had outgrown its premises and a larger extension was build. The customer orders continue to grow exponentially and even during the great recession of the “nineteen thirties” the company was more then able to continue. This was due to the innovative way in which its founder managed to turn one idea after the other into reality.
He designed compressors specifically for the refrigeration equipment on-board the KNSM vessels, he patented his “Unionveer” invention and invested in grinders to optimise the production of piston rings. This initiated later to the invention of a unique piece of equipment to accurately tension piston rings. Large ships as those of the KNSM fleet where all equipped entirely with piston rings produced by Fa van West.
After having participated in his first major trade fair Europort in 1960 the founding member of the company, W. van West passed away. In 1971 Pieter van West moved the production department for refrigeration equipment to a separate location in Heerde. In that same year the name of the company was changed to Van West Holland BV. by J. van West. In 1972 grandson Wouter van West joined the company as a salesman in the Port of Rotterdam. Due to his work for Nedlloyd’s as a marine engineer, Wouter van West had gained considerable experience and expertise and was extremely knowledgeable about ships diesel engines and other engine room parts.
Exactly one year later the 50th anniverary of the company was celebrated in the Nimorina marina in Monnickendam. The year 1973 was not just a milestone, but also a time for renewal. The piston ring department was strengthened by the start of its association with the Standard Piston Ring Company in Sheffield, England. Grandson Johan van West who was studying engineering completed his practical year with this company, specialising in mechanical engineering. Following a stint in the Dutch Royal Navy he eventually joined Van West Holland in 1977.
The move to IJmuiden
In 1980 a move to IJmuiden was imminent. Supplying the growing numbers of Shipping companies in countries such as Indonesia, Singapore and Greece led to an export growth of 50% and van West Holland needed to deal with the continues growth of stock variety as well as expanding of the machinery in the factory to cope with the increasing workload.
Initially the welding department remained in Amsterdam where it continued for another two years. But when the old premises was sold in 1982, this department was also moved to IJmuiden where it was entirely modernised.
In the same year Van West Holland installed its first contemporary CNC carrousel “Berthiez Lathe” which would lead to substantial reductions in production time.
Other Joint Projects
Van West Holland continued to expand its production and thanks to the arrival of computer controlled machinery the quality of individual products was improving all the time. This was aided by the company’s co-operation with the giant Swiss Hard chrome organisation as they became involved in chrome plating pistons for Van West Holland. Today this World famous company processes no less than 2.000 pistons per year.
Van West Holland also joined forces with Mark van Schaick B.V. in Rotterdam for processing its connecting rods and crankshafts.
Van West started reconditioning pistons and cylinder covers for engine manufacturer New Sulzer Diesel-Switserland 1996.
It was with good reason that Van West Holland was awarded the Lloyds ISO 9002 certificate in 1996. Since then a contract has been set up with Tuapse Shipyard on the Black Sea to process cylinder liners, piston skirts and rings.
Since 2002 we import new piston crowns / cylinder covers and exhaust valve spindles and seats from OEM- in Korea.
The celebration of yet another milestone, the 80th anniversary of Van West Holland brings us to the year 2003.
Today, with its history going back more than 90 years and employing 30 staff, van West Holland is a highly experienced organisation offering extensive specialist knowledge and expertise to it’s customers.
The company’s main activity is the repair, refurbishment and reconditioning of various types of used and unused ships parts, purchased second-hand from breakers yards, mainly in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Westenwind Since 1984
Van West has also become involved in a secondary activity which has shown considerable growth over the years. The company recovers, restores and sells ship antiques which it acquires from collectors and broken up ships.
Sextants, ships’ bells, compasses and many other maritime antiques are exhibited in the Westenwind showroom which has been specifically designed for this purpose. Individual items are used as business gifts and to dress the stands at trade fairs and many of the antiques are purchased by shipping companies, ships chandlers, yacht clubs, and restaurants. Link to Nautical Artifacts
A new generation
Sjors van West ; Marine Engineer and son of Wouter van West joins the company in 2004 after sailing for the Holland America Line.
In 2008 we started to trade, recondition an 4-stroke engines and their parts for all the well known names in the business.
Van West Holland has a informal but highly professional business structure, which provides a sense of trust and security to business associates and employees alike. Customers are never sent from pillar to post but can at all times rely on expert, up to date advice.
This relates to the company motto:
to be fast and precise, taking continuous care of quality in the widest sense of the word!