To the wire
Spurred on by high fabrication quality since its inception in 1934, Drahtseilwerk Bremerhaven is a recognised specialist in the field of advanced wire ropes and mooring ropes for the maritime shipping and fishery industries. A rich heritage dating back to the 1920s, when Bremerhaven was the most important fishing port on the continent, forms the foundation of the company and it was only in the 1930s when mother company VOM HOFE Corporate Group decided to invest in its activities that Drahtseilwerk became the entity it is today. It is this strategic take over that transferred the organisation’s focus from premier fibre ropes for the fishing market to highly engineered wire ropes for greater marine activity. The Second World War only acted to cement this position and as one of the first companies in Germany to boast advanced and sophisticated machinery for the manufacture of special wire it became a key supplier for the rebuilding of the country and this position at the forefront of the industry has never changed.
Having relentlessly continued to develop its portfolio over the past 75 years, Drahtseilwerk’s premier solutions are now also employed in the land and channel industries, serving ports and container terminals worldwide. Indeed, it is the company’s philosophy of maintaining close working relationships to meet exact requirements and gain repeat business that has resulted in key custom in the rest of Europe, the UK, North Africa, the Gulf and the US.
Joachim Pahl, managing director of Drahtseilwerk explains how it is set apart from rivals in the industry: “It is important to remember that we are first and foremost connected to the shipping market and always have been. This means that we are highly specialised and have a range of ropes to meet every requirement possible. From mooring ropes and high quality special steel wire ropes for lifeboat folds to special non-rotating, high tense, high breaking load ropes for ship cranes – we have a solution for every eventuality. Our portfolio is not only extremely broad, but it also comes with a comprehensive range of options and our rope and strand widths range from 0.90mm to 84mm, while also being available uncoated, galvanised, heavy galvanised, galfan-coated, in stainless steel and other special materials.”
While its prominence may be in the steel wire field, the company’s facility for innovation and product development has resulted in the creation of numerous pioneering fibre solutions and in the 1960s Drahtseilwerk created its unique ATLAS rope. Designed as a special mooring rope for the shipping market, the ATLAS utilises plastic polyamide wires much like nylon and was created in conjunction with the large chemical mogul, Bayer. Now native to Bremerhaven, this solution spurred the creation of a number of supplementary product lines, including the cheaper DURA-Winchline, invented to combat the rise in ATLAS imitations made with cheaper, lower quality raw materials, and the DURA-Float S6 that remains on the surface of water rather than sinking. Most recently, Drahtseilwerk’s expert engineers have developed an ATLAS Plus rope that boasts improved resistance to abrasion, the greatest threat to the lifetime of a rope.
“Our technical abilities and the possibilities of our products are insurmountable, but we still maintain flexibility. We like to listen to our customers to find out their specific needs and therefore the most suitable rope, rather than pushing them towards a standard range,” Joachim notes. “This year we have plans to invest in our facilities and equipment to enhance our ability to tailor our solutions to the market.” As the demands for ship crane ropes and non-rotating ropes head towards thicker, longer and heavier ropes, so too must Drahtseilwerk’s offering and it is endeavouring to following suit with this market trend. A one million euro investment in a new building and the installation of new machines will more than double its capacity for this special range of ropes.
While waiting to reap the benefits of this impressive venture, the company is busy with employment in a number of special projects including the supply of MSCs (Mediterranean Shipping Containers) new build ships and seismic research vessels that often require 10,000-metre continuous lengths of wire rope for deep sea research. The home markets of Germany and central Europe are of great importance to the organisation, though it is also putting an increasing amount of effort into the development of relationships in the US, Canada and Middle East for future success.
“In five years time our business will be no different from how it is today. We have based our company on quality and service, accompanied by technical ability and this dedication will not change. Being part of the VOM HOFE Group enables us to keep expertise and therefore development potential in-house and we hope to set the standard for ropes utilising high quality raw materials within the industry,” Joachim concludes.
Premier wire rope manufacturer
Launched pioneering ATLAS plastic fibre rope product in the 1960s
Investing in facilities and equipment to meet market demands