Celebrating 90 years Observator!

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90 Years Observator



90 Years Observator

Colophon Commissioning Company Observator Group

Editing and Coordination Marjolein Koudijs Laura Meijer

Photography Kiki de Vries

Layout and design Stijltelt

Created with cooperation of (retired) employees, resellers, customers, suppliers and end users of the Observator Group.

Index 03 Foreword 04 Observator from past to present 06 Product range 10 Dipl.ing. Houm AS 11 Van Oord 12 Retired from Observator 14 Resellers and Observator offices 2

16 Observator Group 20 Alewijnse Noord B.V. 21 Airflow Lufttechnik GmbH 22 Behind the scenes 24 Some of our customers 25

A bright future

T: +31 (0) 180 46 34 11 F: +31 (0) 180 46 35 30 E: info@observator.com www.observator.com

Š Observator Group 2014 No part of this publication in any form for any purpose, other than short sections for the purpose of review, must be reproduced without prior consent of the publisher. The editor does not accept responsibility for any inaccuracies.

90 Years Observator

Celebrating 90 years Observator! “Going strong worldwide

since 1924.” In 1924 a few men began supplying instrumentation to the marine industry. Their business, known as ‘De Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Instrumentenfabriek Observator N.V.’, was located in a small office near the harbor in Rotterdam. Originating from the Netherlands, we have a large customer base in our homeland. Observator has also grown into an internationally oriented company with offices in the Netherlands, Germany, Australia, Singapore, Greece and Belgium and via our worldwide distribution network. We believe in high value, longstanding relationships with our customers and suppliers. Our company has developed into a trend-setting supplier and developer of professional products. We are a market leading company and make use of high quality and the latest technology. We are proud to present to you this jubilee magazine celebrating the 90th anniversary of Observator. We trust you will appreciate this offering and look forward to sharing a bright future with you. Robert de Vries CEO Observator Group


90 Years Observator

Observator from past to present

Started manometers and dial thermometers

Founding Observator






Observator moved to Ridderkerk, The Netherlands


Due to bombardment Observator lost stock and the machinery experienced a lot of damage

75th Anniversary

25th Anniversary

Expanded with Observator Precisietechniek Amsterdam





Due to expansion Observator Precisietechniek Amsterdam moved to a bigger office

Observator GmbH Germany

90 Years Observator

Observator moved to Hoogvliet, The Netherlands

Observator started the production and development of the DIV automatic air volume flow meter






McVan Instruments Australia

Observator Vision

Observator Telenav Singapore

Due to the floods Observator experienced a lot of water damage

Observator moved to Vasteland Rotterdam, The Netherlands



2010 Observator Group




90 Years Observator

Meteorological instruments Observator started the Obsermet division back in the eighties. The product line consisted of some cup & vane type anemometers, float based level sensors, rain gauges, a data logger line and some DOS and early Windows based software. In 1997 a new comprehensive display line was introduced which was a revolution in our markets. Although we did some land-based projects our main focus was on the Marine and Offshore industry. We were not a global player within these markets yet, however with this display line, flexible signal conditioning units and an outstanding performance of our external sensors we rapidly started growing. Currently, as Observator celebrates its 90th anniversary, the export of meteorological equipment is 40 times higher than it was in the days when the display line was introduced. The product line has further been expanded with carefully selected third-party equipment, as well as other in-house developed products in order to offer more comprehensive solutions. Observator is now seen as a major partner for Wind, Meteo and Metocean systems for the Marine and Offshore markets. Other markets such as Renewables, Harbors and even Avionics are also closely following the steps Observator is taking to become a world-renowned partner in Meteorological solutions. This year, on our 90th anniversary, Observator is proud to introduce its new OMC-140 Multifunctional TFT display and has started working on a new meteo concept. The first steps have been taken to retain our competitive edge.

Process Monitoring From the moment the company started, pressure and temperature measurement was vital for the ship engineers who were working with the big ship engines, cooling and heating systems. Nowadays, these are still one of the main products of our Process Monitoring division. The company developed and supplied reliable measurement equipment for these ship applications, also in addition to the national railway and process industries.


90 Years Observator

Mechanical precision techniques Observator Precisietechniek has been developing as a supplier of optical components for nautical devices since 1951. It didn’t take much time before customers began asking questions about precision mechanics and from then on the company also started to focus on manufacturing machining. Initially, machining involved mostly craftsmanship, but due to technical developments Observator Precisietechniek quickly decided to purchase a CNC-machine. The company invested in a computer-controlled milling machine and new CNC-machines. The machinery therefore consists solely of high-quality contemporary machining precision machines still today. Our highly trained employees and high-quality machines make us a reliable partner in the production process business. Research and development in the field of nanoflow-technologies, analytical mechanical solutions, medical applications, meteorological systems and many other technological appliances, such as 3D-printing, is closely observed and incorporated in our company. Precisietechniek manufactures the OMC-150, OMC-160, and OMC-116 wind sensors.

Instruments for special applications were developed to assist customers with their operations. Custom-made solutions form the driving force of Observator. Examples include special MAPO pressure gauges for the dredging industry; sand probes for gas production sites; the anchor chain inclinometer for positioning anchors of fixed working sea-positions, such as FPSOs or mooring turrets; and the OMEGA, the modern EU-certified tool to objectively measure the mesh size of fishing nets.


90 Years Observator

Hydrological instruments Observator began around 30 years ago with a water level meter with a counter weight and float: a product that is still going strong! Our agent in Portugal and at the Dutch water board use this water level meter, which still complies with today’s measurement standards. To meet the increasing demand for Hydrological instrumentation Observator joined forces with Sontek and YSI. We now had water quantity as well as water quality instruments! To monitor data we developed Obserview to display the results of measurements online to our customers. These days, with OMC-data-online this is no big deal, but back then it was great! Following the evolution of species in the opposite direction, Observator moved from the land into the sea by adding data buoys to the product range. The first ones were pretty ugly compared to the current OMC-7006, but they got us into the buoy business. The rest is the future!

Air Technology From the 1960s Observator became a representative of Airflow instrumentation, which we sold and still sell exclusively to the Dutch market. In the 1980s we started the initial development and production of the DIV Automatic Air Volume Flow Meter with zero pressure compensation. In 2007 we redesigned the DIV to create what is now known as the DIFF Automatic. DIFF sales commenced at the end of 2008 and have been successful.


90 Years Observator

Window wipers Observator has been a representative of Hepworth and Wynn for many years and assembles the pantograph and pendulum window wipers in house. After the Hepworth and Wynn merger, the product range was expanded with a complete serie of straight line window wipers, which contributed to an increased market share. The offshore market requires ATEX-certified window wipers. Observator was eager to comply with this requirement and formed a joint partnership with a Norwegian company that manufactures pneumatic straight line wipers.

Sunscreens The technology for wheelhouse equipment has changed dramatically over the years. The sun made it difficult to view digital displays. Observator saw a great opportunity and began producing sunscreens. The regulations for wheelhouse windows changed and tinted glass was prohibited. Our screens solved this problem and nowadays Observator Vision is the market leader in the Dutch shipping market. Our screens are also suitable for use in offices and residential buildings.

Nowadays, Observator Air Technology offers a number of measuring instruments for measuring, testing and balancing air and climate quality. Our company designs and develops measuring instruments and delivers instruments of reputable brands such as TSI Airflow. Observator is a key supplier for many customers. We are also proud of our in-house comprehensive calibration and service department. We carefully conduct calibrations in this laboratory, according to guidelines.


90 Years Observator

Dipl.ing. HOUM AS Our representation of Observator leads back to 1988. Our company had then been market leader regarding meteorological instruments in Norway since World War II. We were also involved in sales and service of hydrological instruments. Observator’s products fitted in other words very well into our product portfolio. Furthermore it was of great importance that our Environmental Product Manager Håkon Haugen very rapidly was able to achieve considerable Observator sales in our small market. Meanwhile we have been able to establish a considerable business with a partner, who is re-exporting the majority of his automatic positioning systems, in which Observator instruments are integrated. Today Observator is one of our most successful brands and we are hoping for continuous success first of all with the new modified meteorological display. After Håkon Haugen’s tragic death early last year Observator’s Managing Director Robert de Vries travelled to our country and participated at his funeral. This was very much appreciated and underlined the very close and positive relationship between our two companies during many years. Since then mainly Bjørn Cato Solli and partly Pascal Mørch have been in charge


regarding Observator’s meteorological instruments, while Eirik Ansnes is focusing on your hydrological equipment. They are supported by our experienced servicemen Per Braathen and Frode Rangset. Regarding the considerable age of your company we can mention that we are following just after you, since our company was established in 1926. Rolf Mørch Director Dipl.ing. HOUM AS

90 Years Observator

Van Oord As part of their works as dredging and marine contractors, Van Oord pays great attention to the management of potential environmental impacts of their works. In order to do so, environmental monitoring of various water quality parameters is of vital importance. This reaches from continuous buoy monitoring to more simple point measurements and stretches out to the innovative and advanced mobile monitoring methods within the dredge plume via their in-house developed PlumeGuard. With that system Van Oord combines the best available monitoring techniques to determine the size and magnitude of the dredge plume.

and depth. The streamer system is designed to withstand the forces that occur during monitoring, even in unfavourable current conditions. It is equipped with a suppressor wing to keep the cable under an angle of less than 45 degrees. The design of both systems allows for monitoring with less (tidal) current restrictions.

“Via a long term relationship,

Observator provides various water quality monitoring systems to Van Oord.�

Van Oord’s relation with Observator Via a long term relationship, Observator provides various available water quality monitoring systems to Van Oord, ranging from handheld multiparameter probes, to complete water quality buoys. The data collection program from Observator Instruments, OMC-Data-OnLine, is frequently used for both internal and external sharing of monitoring data. As part of the PlumeGuard development, Observator was asked to develop the towed part of the system. A strong streamer cable with a suppressor wing is equipped with three OMC-345 combination probes, measuring turbidity, conductivity, temperature, salinity

Both within the day-to-day operations and in the field of innovative developments such as the streamer of the PlumeGuard, the cooperation between Van Oord and Observator has demonstrated to be positive. The increasing demand to deliver monitoring equipment of high quality whilst facing difficult conditions or time-constraints is the ultimate driver of this positive cooperation. Erik van Eekelen Environment Engineer


90 Years Observator

Retired from Observator after 43 years After 43 years and 6 months I retired in 2010. During my time at Observator I experienced many successes, as well as difficult times. The original name of Observator was ‘De Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Instrumentenfabriek “Observator” N.V. ‘ In the beginning, the company was spread over two locations: Observator Amsterdam and Observator Instruments B.V Rotterdam. At that time 316 people worked in our office in Rotterdam. There were a number of departments including: management, human resources, a typing room with a team of typists, sales, accounts, a business office, purchasing, a drawing office, reprographics, a canteen with a few coffee ladies, development, nauticals, manometers, thermometers, a spray shop, machining woodworking, machine factory, tool making, logistics, several stockrooms for raw materials and other equipment, a map correction room and a shop.

“Nowadays the thermometers are filled with nitrogen” Observator was well known in the shipping, fishing and dredging sector, chemical industry, offshore, food industry, measurement and control technology, air technology and medical instrumentation.


Our instruments became famous across the globe thanks to our cooperation with a leading dredging company based in the Netherlands. One of our world-famous products was the octagonal teak compass house. The teak parts were first cut then parts were dried for a year on laths before being mitered, planed and milled. After that, they were glued together in molds, and then the entire product went to the lathe to be fitted with a round engrave for the brass helmet with compass. This is still a really high-quality product, although no longer part of our product range. Our thermometer department was specialized in producing mercury filled thermometers. Back than, Observator filled these instruments with dozens of kilograms of chemically purified mercury. Nowadays this production process is prohibited and the thermometers are either filled with nitrogen or are digital. This development contributes to a better environment. I would like to take this opportunity to wish the current “Observatorians” and their management a great deal of success both now and in the future and look forward to the company’s 100th anniversary. Ben den Braber Former Sales Engineer

90 Years Observator

Retired from Observator after 42 years I now realize that I spent half of my time working for the Observator company. After I completed my studies as a fine mechanical instrument maker I applied for a job at Observator Rotterdam in 1966. I was forward to work for a company who was related to the shipping industry. I started my career in the manometer department. I was trained to produce manometers, diaphragm meters, differential gauges, hygro/barographs, inclined tubes, draught measuring and tank level systems. The gauge springs were manufactured by Observator in stainless steel and brass. The gauge springs were soldered using a special procedure. We used a lot of plaster for this procedure, which gave the impression of working in a hospital. In 1973 Observator moved to Hoogvliet (near Rotterdam). I was retrained as an efficient operator and started working in the business office headed by Ben den Braber. I was responsible for purchasing and planning nautical products. I negotiated cost prices for these instrument parts. After a while I started to do the purchasing and

planning for the Obsermet product line. The product range contained meteorological instruments such as wind sensors, rain gauges, temperature and humidity sensors, displays and more. In 1992 Observator Instruments moved to Ridderkerk. In 2006 I celebrated my 40th anniversary and in June 2008 I retired. The 90-year history of Observator may have seen many highs and lows, but I have many fond memories of my employment.

“I have many good memories during my employment.� I congratulate Observator on its 90th anniversary and wish the company a safe onward journey towards its 100th year anniversary. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Observator for the loyalty I received during all those years of service. Ben van der Wal Former Purchaser


90 Years Observator Denmark

Resellers and Observator offices

Iceland Belgium



United Kingdom Germany

Kirkland, USA

France Italy



Houston, USA

Santa MarĂ­a la Ribera, Mexico

St. Martin

Rio de Janeiro, Brasil Sao Paulo, Brasil

Cape Town, South Africa


90 Years Observator

Finland Russia

“Nowadays Observator has sales activities in 74 countries.�

Estonia Poland

Czech Republic Busan,South Korea


Kobe, Japan New Delhi, India

Alexandria, Egypt Dubai

Mumbai, India Kochi, India

Dongguan, China Haldia, India

Guangzhou, China

Hong Kong

Visakhapatnam, India Singapore

Pretoria, South Africa

Scoresby, Australia


90 Years Observator

Observator Group

OBSERVATOR Observator Instruments is the founder of the Observator Group. This business unit started in 1924 and nowadays comprises Air Technology instruments, Process Monitoring instruments and Meteorological and Hydrological instruments.

“The strength of Observator has always been to add value to its products.” The strength of Observator has always been to add value to its products. We buy, sell and develop complete solutions that meet the demanding specifications of our customers. Since 15 years the meteorological market has been the core business of Observator Instruments. 50% of our turnover comes from selling products and systems for meteorological solutions. 25% of our Observator Instruments turnover comes from selling products in the hydrological market. We are proud to be able to sell, install and support complex integrated solutions worldwide. Rob ter Brake Sales & Marketing director




In 1940 Observator Precisietechniek was an optical devices factory named Vena. The company was set up in Amsterdam by Samuel Naarden and Evert Verlegh. Up until 1948, the factory manufactured only lenses. After this time Samuel Naarden wanted to make his own devices and started a factory with Evert Verlegh, who was also a technician. It was the first photo camera factory in the Netherlands. The first camera to be manufactured, the Venaret, was a 6x6 metal camera on 120-roll film without flash contact. In 1951 the Vena company filed for bankruptcy due to more competitive foreign quality and prices.

“Observator Precisietechniek is specialized in mechanical precision techniques.” The company was subsequently acquired by Observator. At that time Observator was located in Rotterdam and manufactured nautical instrument devices, such as compasses and sextants, for

90 Years Observator

the maritime industry. Since the Vena craftsmen were already familiar with fine mechanisms, Observator decided to keep the factory in Amsterdam. In recent years Observator has expanded to include more divisions. Observator Precisietechniek is specialized in mechanical precision techniques, such as nanoflow technologies, medical devices, research and development. We are proud to be a member of the Observator Group and glad to celebrate this 90th anniversary! Ron Roco Director

Observator GmbH was founded in 2009, as a full subsidiary of Observator, to take over the exclusive agency of Hepworth and Wynn window wipers for Germany. Our core business is related to the marine market. The good longstanding relationship between Observator and Hepworth forms a solid base for developing customized solutions and for special projects in the window wiper business.

In the early days we concentrated on the sale of window wipers and sunscreens for the German market. In 2012 we exhibited at the SMM in Hamburg with our colleagues from Observator Ridderkerk.

“Today some of the largest German system integrators are our customers.� We demonstrated our latest meteorological developments and received positive reactions from several German companies. This marked the start of exploring a new market for our office. Today some of the largest German system integrators are our customers. We are proud to be part of the entire Observator Group and we trust that we will continue participating for many years to come. Christian Schmidt Sales engineer


90 Years Observator



As from 1 January 2012, the Observator Group divided its divisions into various units. From then on the special marine market products, window wipers and sunscreens were sold through Observator Vision. The name “Vision” reflects the words “visibility” and “clarity”, which are typically used to describe these marine products. Our customers were pleased with the change and the company structure became clearer. Under the Observator Group’s strong wings the new division, Observator Vision, is expected to show continued healthy growth. The special marine market products, which stem from a rich history of Observator deliveries, will now have the opportunity for further development and future growth.

“Observator Vision will become an internationally operated business.” Observator Vision will expand its local operations to include international activities and will become an internationally operated business unit. Bram Bezemer Manager Vision


In 1989 McVan Industries Pty Ltd was founded and originated from a number of brands. The expertise in the design and development of RIMCO rain gauges now spans over 40 years and the development and manufacture of ANALITE turbidity spans over 20 years. McVan Instruments was the first company to offer a truly ISO7027-compliant turbidity probe, with mechanical lens wiping for long-term field deployment. To date we have manufactured over 6000 turbidity probes with wiping and we supply to major international companies on a regular OEM basis.

“To date we have manufactured over 6000 turbidity probes with wiping and we supply to major international companies.” As a developer and manufacturer of turnkey environmental monitoring solutions, McVan has Metal Fabrication, Precision Machining, and

90 Years Observator

Electronic Assembly capabilities under one roof and is well positioned to quickly meet customized requirements. In 2011 McVan was acquired by Observator and continues to trade and offer the same products and system solutions with a new emphasis on value-added solutions that include the Observator suite of solutions. Dana Galbraith General Manager

Observator delivered data loggers, communication equipment and solar-panels and chargers. This project and the maintenance for this equipment lasted until 2006, with many spare parts and 10 years of work!

“Finally, 18 years after our first cooperation, we have joined our efforts in Observator Telenav.”

Telenav Pte Ltd was founded in Singapore in January 1996. At that time huge dredging– reclamation projects where going on with every important dredging company in the world participating.

Over the years we have supplied many weather stations to the different marine sectors and finally, 1 May 2014, 18 years after our first cooperation, we have joined our efforts in Observator Telenav. Cheers to 90 years of Observator and cheers for many years ahead of Observator Telenav! Jacob van Oostrom Managing director

Many international dredging Joint Ventures were formed which resulted for us in good service request for all kind of marine electronics. The best was just to come, in November 1996, Telenav was awarded a contract for Silt & Current measurement in the Singapore waters to assist the reclamation projects. Our proposal was designed and purchased with the assistance of Observator and Seabed Pte Ltd.


90 Years Observator

Alewijnse Noord B.V. “The partnership that Alewijnse and Observator have built up over the years has contributed to the growth of Alewijnse.� Alewijnse offers its congratulations to the Observator Group in this year of celebration. The two companies have worked together for over ten years and during that time have built a firm relationship based on trust and mutual cooperation. The quality of Observator products has always been excellent, but what really sets the Group apart is it being willing and able to understand and fulfil the exact requirements of Alewijnse and its customers. The standards of development and engineering are the very highest, giving Alewijnse and its personnel total confidence in specifying and installing Observator products. Alewijnse designs, supplies and integrates electrical systems and electronics and automation for the entire maritime sector. The scale of the new builds and refits on which it works range from workboats and yachts right up to naval vessels and large offshore structures.


With such a wide variety of projects, often taking place on very challenging time scales, its supplier relationships are of vital importance. The partnership that Alewijnse and Observator have built up over the years is highly valued and has contributed to the growth of Alewijnse. With Alewijnse currently extending its international presence in the Middle and Far East, the relationship is now entering a new and interesting phase. Together the two groups will be exploring opportunities in a region full of potential and the prospects are very exciting. Alewijnse looks forward to many more years of working with Observator and wishes the Group and its staff the very best in 2014. Berend Hellinga Purchaser, Alewijnse Noord B.V.

90 Years Observator

Airflow Lufttechnik GmbH

“From this company is known how to union success with diligence. And many customers are excited how to master all the work. Where courage and ideas lead? To mark the anniversary - congratulations!” 90 Years - This speaks for a solid concept, reliability and high quality, if a company has been successful in the market for such a long time. With verve and spirit of innovation Observator Instruments BV was led in recent years to international success. The company has been able to detect changes in the market to adapt to market needs and to compete against the competitors. High quality products, good service and solid business partners have contributed to the success. We from Airflow Lufttechnik GmbH were allowed even over many years to accompany you

with ambition and joy, as a supplier and customer, on your way and are pleased if you give us furthermore your confidence in the future. We wish all the staff at Observator on top of that the sense for trends and the power to implement ideas determined. Health and happiness at work, you always have to help with that. Airflow Lufttechnik GmbH



90 Years Observator

“Testing wind display OMC-139.”

Behind the scenes

“Inspection of Mesh Gauges.”

“Calibration of water quality sensors.”

“Assembling pressure gauge.” 22

“Producing installation drawings.”

90 Years Observator

“The instruments are ready for callibration.�


90 Years Observator

Some of our customers


90 Years Observator

A bright future We hope you enjoyed reading our magazine. This magazine celebrates the past 90 years of Observator. At the same time, we would like to look ahead. We are facing a challenging decade: the centenary of the company is only 10 years away! Recently, we adopted a new corporate mission statement: We are Observator. We believe in taking the extra step and exceeding your expectations. Retaining our competitive edge through innovation and uncompromised support is key to your success.

Observator: solutions beyond expectations! All Observator employees have adopted this mission and are confident that we will take the extra step with you into a bright future.


90 Years Observator

OMEGA Meshgauge and Twine Thickness Gauge The OMEGA mesh gauge. A handheld electronic measuring instrument with data storage facilities. Measures opening of fish nets. Is accepted by official authorities. For reliable assessing of Twine Thickness fully complies with the Commission Regulation (EC) No. 517/2008.

Twine Thickness gauge

OMEGA mesh Gauge

www.omegameshgauge.com E: omega@observator.com



The OMC-140 Multifunctional TFT Display The OMC-140 wherever you need to visualize your critical measurement information on a dedicated touch screen instrument. Presenting wind information or indication of other meteorological parameters. www.observatormeteohydro.com E: sales@observator.com


90 Years Observator

TPC Electronics congratulates Observator with their 90th anniversary

TPC Electronics is a manufacturer of client specific electronic assemblies in the Netherlands. Our expertise begins with DfM & DfT and ends with electronics assembly. We are ISO9001:2008 and ISO13485:2003 certified and therefore able to guarantee an excellent quality.

TPC electronics Wheedwarsweg 5-7 - 7471 GG Goor - P. O. box 59 - 7470 AB Goor - Netherlands T +31 (0)547 27 19 63 - info@tpc-electronics.nl - www.tpc-electronics.nl



WWW.LENSBV.NL 010-283 99 00 27

90 Years Observator





Observator Instruments

Observator Precisietechniek

Observator GmbH

Rietdekkerstraat 6 2984 BM Ridderkerk The Netherlands

Asterweg 12 1031 HN Amsterdam The Netherlands

Ollnsstr. 176 25336 Elmshorn Germany

T: +31 (0) 180 463411 F: +31 (0) 180 463530 E: info@observator.com

T: +31 (0) 20 4940840 F: +31 (0) 20 6365934 E: precisietechniek@observator.com

T: +49 (0)4121 701 5056 F: +49 (0)4121 701 5060 E: contact@observator.com

Observator Vision

McVan Instruments

Observator Telenav

Rietdekkerstraat 6 2984 BM Ridderkerk The Netherlands

8 Keith Campbell Court Scoresby, VIC 3179 Australia

18 Boon Lay Way #09-158 Tradehub 21 Singapore 609966

T: +31 (0) 180 463411 F: +31 (0) 180 463530 E: info@observator.com

T: +61 3 8706 5000 F: +61 3 8706 5049 E: info@mcvan.com

T: +65 68 72 08 63 F: +65 68 72 13 34 E: sales@observator.sg

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