't Veer does everything necessary for the integration of people who experience difficulty working within the regular labour market. The employees get the opportunity for personal development so they can move on to the regular workplace. The slogan is therefore 'remarkably tailored'. 't Veer started in 1984 with a handful of employees, but that number has grown to over 600!
The metal workshop was created four years after the start of the business operations and at the time started with only a few metalworking machines. "Our primary goal is employment", emphasizes Yves Verhaeghe. "We don't make our own products but only at the specific request of the customer. Initially we had some slack. This is how our customers invested in 't Veer. They supplied their own machine with which we then produced their products. We were allowed also to use these machines for orders from other third parties.
As a non-profit organization we can amortize our machines over a longer period.""But over the years, our customers become bigger and more numerous, and while sheltered workshops used to get a little more slack from the customer, this has changed and today our customers set the same requirements as to regular industrial companies: can you supply this at that price and within time frame? We had to grow, listen, think along, and invest… Otherwise we would lose our customers which in turn would lead to less employment."
"In certain branches of metalworking we couldn't follow the increasing demands. At a given moment we reached full capacity of our two punching machines. For capacity expansion we considered both a new punching machine as a laser cutting machine. At the time, the CO2 lasers were quite expensive but fiberlaser machines opened new perspectives. In April 2022 we replaced the project for a new punching machine by a HFL 4020E-22EQ from HACO, a fiberlaser machine that cuts both plates and tubes."
"With the tubelaser we can now do our pipework in-house, which is much more efficient. In the past we already did drilling activities in pipes, but this was far more complex and time consuming. At different diameters on the same workpiece we first had to make the holes with one diameter drill and then change the drill diameter for the other diameter. The tubelaser can operate autonomously and complete different diameters in one cycle. In addition, our employees no longer have to drill the holes themselves, which gives them the opportunity to focus on post-processing."
"The other punching machine we still use. For each piece of work we choose the most efficient processing method. We put smaller pieces on the punching machine, on which they are easier to load and unload. The larger sheet metal work we put on the fiberlaser."
Whoever takes a closer look at the machine shop of 't Veer, will see that HACO is the main supplier of machinery to 't Veer. Except for three machines, all machines in the workshop have been supplied by the company located in Ardooie, Belgium. The first machine, a press brake, was put into operation about 30 years ago.
"The punching machine has been there for about twelve years. In time this one will also be replaced by a new fiberlaser. Although you can also deform with the punch machine, we make mainly basic elements for which that function is not needed, such as components for shelving. Moreover, the laser machine works more efficiently and generates less waste thanks to nesting, which effect is significant considering the increased material prices", concludes Yves Verhaeghe.