Full speed ahead in Germany

Six months after its establishment, Viking Heat Engines Germany GmbH (Viking Heat Engines’ new subsidiary) has 13 employees. The plan is to double that number by the end of this year.

"It’s full speed ahead in Germany,” says Tor Hodne, Managing Director of Viking Heat Engines. "We are building up a new engineering, service and sales organization, and for that we need a lot of people. I expect us to have a total of 25-30 staff by the end of the year.”

Hodne says the German office will be manned 24/7 to give customers the support they need wherever they’re located in the world.

"Our service staff will be able to travel at very short notice to help our customers all over the world and, by having a surveillance centre in place, we can quickly fix potential technical problems and carry out software updates,” he says.

The office will also be responsible for application engineering, which is all about making sure machines that are installed meet customers’ requirements and on-site specifications.

"We want to build up this kind of competence in one place,” Hodne says. "This means that whenever we have a customer in, let’s say, South Africa, we’ll send all data to our Germany office first for an evaluation before proceeding with the installation at the site.”

Hodne says the reasons for setting up the office in Germany rather than anywhere else were twofold. First, Viking Heat Engines would gain access to the right kinds of competence. Second, it would benefit from close proximity to its partner AVL Schrick, the engine design company that has been crucial in the development of the CraftEngine.

"If we want to do some more development to the CraftEngine, we’ll first do the basic engineering ourselves before transferring the detailed engineering to AVL,” he says. "This means development will be a lot faster and cheaper than in the past.”

Andreas Mück, one of two General Managers at the new office in Germany, has a lot of faith in the system.

"We’re not the first company with such an engine, but we have come very far in terms of the technical and commercial aspects of it,” he says. "We should therefore be able to present some cheaper and better machines to the market than our competitors.”

Mück is very happy to work with the staff from Viking Heat Engines in Norway, which he describes as a nice and sincere bunch of people. "We never get stuck in internal politics, which is something you often find at larger companies,” he says. "We’re just focusing on the success of the engine – and getting it out there.

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