The Urethane Blog

Trelleborg Opens New Headquarters

Trelleborg Marine Systems expands in U.S.


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BERRYVILLE, Va.—Trelleborg Marine Systems has bolstered its base in the U.S. with the addition of a new headquarters and manufacturing facility that features more advanced polyurethane equipment and capabilities.

Located in Berryville, the new site features 36,000 square feet of manufacturing space and 9,000 square feet that's used for sales and business development. The plant manufactures urethane foam-based fenders and buoys.

Its newest U.S. complex replaces a building in Clear Brook, Va. All employees and machinery at the Clear Brook site have been relocated to the Berryville facility, a company spokeswoman said.

In addition, the firm has invested heavily in new, advanced polyurethane spraying and foam winding equipment, which will increase production efficiencies at the new plant, she said. Financial details were not disclosed.

Trelleborg Marine Systems, a business unit of Trelleborg A.B., has closed the older Clear Brook factory.

Welling takes helm

Heading up the U.S. marine systems operation in Berryville is Paul Welling, previously regional director for the Middle East and Africa regions.

“As a global company, it's important to have a local "feet on the ground' presence within the regions that our customers operate,” he said in a statement. “The U.S. is strategically very important to our business, and I look forward to working closely with our customers in the region.”

Welling, who has worked for Trelleborg Marine Systems for 10 years, previously served as regional director for the Middle East and Africa.

His new responsibilities call for him to help establish the firm's manufacturing and product development operation in Berryville.

According to Marine Systems President Richard Hepworth, Welling has a good deal of experience in project management and business development, and extensive knowledge of the foam and rubber fender markets.

Hepworth said it is essential that Trelleborg Marine Systems, which is part of Trelleborg Infrastructure & Construction, is well placed to better service its customers. The business manufactures and installs bespoke rubber fender systems, docking and mooring equipment. It also produces oil and gas transfer technology and vessel efficiency technology globally.

“Our new site in Berryville will allow us to do just that, in terms of both capacity and in developing innovative, cost-effective solutions that enhance safety and improve efficiency,” he said.

The company also has opened a new regional sales office in Houston, which will serve the local U.S. and Gulf of Mexico region across all product areas: marine fenders, oil and gas transfer, ship performance, docking and mooring, surface buoyancy, and service and support.

New system approved

In addition to its expansions, the firm has made giant strides on the innovation front. It has received a patent for it slide in, slide out—or SISO—marine fender system, which currently is being used at a dock in Dampier, Australia, along with a number of other sites across the region.

Its new system was designed to make fender maintenance more straightforward and less time consuming, by using removable sliding panels, which the company said significantly reduces the time taken to complete a fender wear pad change-out.

Innovation is always centered on the needs of customers at Trelleborg Marine Systems, which means looking for ways to help ports operate more efficiently, according to Hepworth. “Thanks to in-house design and testing capabilities, we were able to develop the new system, which will reduce customers' maintenance time, reduce downtime and save money over the long term.”

For a typical fender frame system, the company said, ultra-high-molecular-weight polyurethane wear pads, which act as the contact faces for the vessel in berthing, are attached directly to a fixed frame via a bolt fastening arrangement.

Over time, due to a number of factors, the wear pads wear away because of abrasion with the ship's hull.

As part of the firm's SISO system, the wear pads are bolted into two stainless steel removable panels. The panels are then inserted into a guide rail on the front face of the fixed frontal frame. The sliding panels can then be easily lifted out of the frontal frame and replacements reinserted within two hours, the company said.

Trelleborg said the original panels can be transported offshore for maintenance and to replace the wear pads. The panels are then used as spares for the next fender wear pad change-out operation.