Bulk handling the Van Aalst way
Van Aalst Bulk Handling BV (VABH), based in The Netherlands, is globally renowned for its versatile pneumatic shipunloading systems, capable of handling cement capacities of between 50-1000tph and serving ships of up to 65,000dwt. This article by Van Aalst Bulk Handling BV, Dragon Alfa Cement Ltd and ICR explores the history of the group and the fundamental technologies and solutions on offer, alongside recent experiences of leading UK cement importers, Southern Cement and Dragon Alfa Cement.
For more than 30 years Van Aalst Bulk Handling BV has specialised in the design and supply of pneumatic bulk handling equipment for loading, unloading, conveying and storing bulk material powders such as cement, granulated slag and fly ash.
The company was set up in 1945 by Arie van Aalst, who owned a ready-mix concrete plant located at Koudekerk on the banks of the river Rhine. Cement for the plant was delivered by river barge and unloaded at the facility by grab, resulting in a dusty environment. For Van Aalst, whose family home was located next to the plant, this was particularly unpleasant. Practical and entrepreneurial by nature, Arie van Aalst set about finding a solution to the problem, ultimately inventing the first pneumatic shipunloader. On 1 January 1979 he formed the company Kovako – Construction c(K)ompany Van Aalst Koudekerk – and the business subsequently evolved. Firstly, it rented out machines to other plants, then developed into a highly successful manufacturer of pneumatic unloading machines, which are capable of being mounted on tug boats and road trailers to provide a uniquely flexible solution for the bulk handling of cement.