Fifty years of innovations at SAB

Fifty years of SAB-profiel. If there’s anything that SAB-profiel has been passionate about throughout its 50-year history, it’s innovation. In products, production facilities and now – most importantly of all – in sustainability. Innovation has made SAB-profiel the company it is today: one of the Netherlands’ top three suppliers of profiled cladding and sandwich panels and very popular with its neighbours in Germany as well. Innovation has been the driving force behind the company’s growth in the last half century and it can’t afford to be complacent now.
Although none of today’s employees have been around long enough to experience the company’s entire history first hand, some have been with us for more than half of those 50 years. One of these people is René Timmerman, who joined SAB-profiel in 1997. As the Product Services Manager, he is the perfect person to look ahead with to the future. As a company that wants to take responsibility for its actions, its future will largely depend on how sustainable it is able to become. ‘The need to be sustainable is something that is preoccupying the market as a whole. Developments include the use of bio-raw materials to make foam, the introduction of recycled materials into the production process and the reuse of existing products. We hope to be able to offer customers a take-back guarantee in the near future.’

Little details

Sometimes, sustainability can be achieved via very little details like the coating used on profiles. ‘It’s just a thin layer of paint, but it helps achieve greater sustainability as well. Customers want to be able to rely on long-term protection against corrosion. We have products that we supply with a 40-year maintenance-free guarantee. A new structure is being built on the Maasvlakte for Sif Nederland, a company that produces monopiles for wind farms on a site where land and sea meet. The building is above sea level and must be sustainable. Corrosion and UV resistance are becoming more and more important.’

SAB-profiel’s investment in sustainability is not limited to the production process in Geldermalsen. It has an ambitious ambition for the company as a whole, having has set its sights on becoming a CO2-neutral company by 2030.

Very advanced innovation

SAB-profiel is also continuing to innovate in the sandwich panels and profiled cladding it produces. Although René feels that they are already quite advanced. ‘So, innovation mainly lies in the development of special colours. These products always used to be available in just one colour: silver. Today, more gold and copper-coloured products are being produced too. New wall-cladding designs are being developed. Although SAB-profile is still selling sheet piling, more and more design profiles and Pyramid profiles are being produced as well. They create a slightly different look.’ Sandwich panels have become thicker and insulation properties have been improved over the years. SAB-profiel’s sinusoidal roof panels are a sustainable alternative for customers that do not want to use asbestos corrugated roof profiles. .

Active collaboration in product development

SAB-profiel is fortunate to be in a very strong position. It is part of the international Tata Steel group, which means that it is able to benefit from economies of scale in respect of paint technology and when buying steel. SAB-profiel also actively collaborates with its sister companies in Germany and Switzerland when developing new products. That collaboration also exists with the market, René states. ‘We work with others throughout the entire chain. We go with our customers to see their customers, which range from architects to construction teams. And, because sustainability is important in every part of the chain, it’s not something that one party can tackle all by itself. Solid agreements are vital for all the parties concerned. We regularly invite (German) customers to our factory in Geldermalsen so they can see the people behind the brand.’

Partner in successful projects

All the above means that SAB-profiel is well placed to be a partner in successful projects in the half century ahead too. René: ‘In strategy sessions, we regularly ask our employees what they think our strengths are. They include the reliable supply of products of an above-average quality. Employees always mention the many long-term relationships the company has. Some of our customers have been coming to us for 35 years and have now become friends.’

Let’s stop for a moment and reflect on half a century of SAB-profiel …

‘Stop’ isn’t a word you’ll hear at SAB-profiel. But we were happy to make an exception in September this year: because that’s when we’d been trading almost exactly 50 years. In the half century behind us, we became a major player in the market for sandwich panels and profiled cladding. In the Netherlands and in Germany too. That’s something to be proud of. SAB-profiel is the name behind a whole host of innovations and firsts. And we are still working on further growth and innovation, from IJsselstein and our production location in Geldermalsen.

The further growth we are striving to achieve will need to be driven mainly by sustainability in the half century ahead. And we’re happy to lead the way in this area too. The bar is high: we want to be a CO2-neutral producer by 2030, a producer of sustainable solutions for the built environment in the Netherlands and Germany. Collaboration will be important, which is why we will invest primarily in optimal collaboration throughout the chain. This will enable us to achieve our ambitious sustainability ambitions with our construction partners.

So, it’s reassuring to know that the good relationship we have with customers is one of our strengths. We expect many of these friends to come along to our 50th anniversary celebrations. If you are interested in our milestones and in looking ahead to the future with us, click here!