Kolmer: Innovation and Vision for the Future of Electric Motors
After attending an important mini-symposium during the recent Maritime Holland event, it is the opinion of Berend Muis, director of Kolmer Special Motors, that the Dutch maritime sector is on the threshold of important, new developments. The matter under consideration was mainly the replacement programme of the Dutch Royal Navy. In the coming years, hundreds of millions will be invested in new submarines, frigates and mine hunters. These purchases will mean a solid financial investment into the Dutch maritime industry, in which Kolmer also operates as a member of the Dutch Maritime Technology. In this position Kolmer’s contributions consist, among other things, of developing electric motors for the new V-Pod motors, a mode of electrical propulsion by means of Permanent Magnet Technology.

The Dutch maritime sector is naturally not limited to the Dutch Royal Navy as it is a part of a division called the Maritime Cluster. This group is extensive and is comprised of companies in shipping, ship-building, offshore, inland navigation, ports and waterways, fishing, diverse maritime services, yachting and other water sports, dredging and suppliers. “The entire sector is being faced with important European demands in regards to energy saving,” stated Mr. Muis. “Ships are increasingly being fitted out with energy-efficient motors. Together with AAA Propulsion, Kolmer has developed the V-Pod motor, an electric motor combined with planetary gears and a generator, battery set, or fuel cell supplying the electric power. The motor can swivel 360 degrees and is mounted underneath vessels, eliminating the necessity of additional propellers and saving considerable space inside a ship. These kind of applications will become very important for the maritime sector in the near future,” Kolmer’s director concluded.

Recent figures show the importance of the maritime departments. The total Maritime Cluster creates a yearly turnover of 10 billion euros and employs more than 180,000 people in Holland with an additional 62,000 abroad. In the coming years, these figure are expected to rise because of the aforementioned Navy replacement programme. According to Berend Muis, this means new opportunities and challenges for the Dutch maritime industry, into which the maritime products and innovations of Kolmer fit very well. “After decades of large cut backs in the defence budget, we are seeing new international openings for our industry to maintain a leading position in the world.”  Dutch politicians seem to concur, as was evident from the participation of four members of parliament, Erik Ziengs (VVD), Salina Belhaj (D66), Mustafa Amhaouch (CDA) and Frank Koppen (VVD) during the forum discussion of the maritime symposium.

Symposium Maritiem Holland

Erik Ziengs (VVD), Salina Belhaj (D66), Mustafa Amhaouch (CDA) and Frank van Kappen (VVD)

According to Muis, the Dutch maritime sector is one of the most innovative divisions of the country. “In 2014 the Maritime Cluster spent 4.2% of its budget on R&D, while the average in the Dutch industry is 2%. The Cluster also maintains a leading position within Europe, especially in the field of electric motors and the development of the V-Pod motors. This includes energy-efficient products, which will be in high demand in the future.” Mr. Muis’s expectation was clearly confirmed during the mini-symposium.

Sources: Parliamentary file 31409 nr. 96 by Jacobi and Cegerek; file 31409 nr. 121 Report on the Dutch Maritime Cluster 2012, page 16, 17 published by Stichting Maritiem Land; Letter Mini-symposium Replacement programme Dutch Royal Navy.