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Customer story

Dairy factory De Graafstroom: "Our Factory Will Be Gas-Free and Future-Ready"

6 Stainless Steel Water Tanks for a Sustainable Innovation Project

Diary factory De Graafstroom produces 45 million kilograms of cheese annually. The company’s major goal is to make the factory gas-free and future-proof. To accomplish this project, the company enlisted the expertise of IBK, a specialist in cooling and heating technology. For the initial phase of this innovation project, Gpi supplied six stainless steel water tanks. We spoke with Martijn de Vries, Operations Manager at De Graafstroom, and Robert de Vries, Account Manager at IBK, about the project and their experiences with Gpi.

Martijn explains the reason behind the request: ‘Our gas-fired steam boiler and cooling system have reached the end of their lifespan, so we needed a new solution to ensure a robust future for cold and heat applications necessary for cheese production. Additionally, as a company, we want to take care of the environment and the future. Together with IBK, we explored the possibility of making our factory operate in a circular manner, meaning that we no longer discard the heat generated by our production processes but instead reuse it for heating purposes. This turned out to be viable, and we made our largest investment ever. Six new tanks from Gpi were part of the first phase.’

Martijn de Vries from De Graafstroom & Robert de Vries from IBK

Choosing Gpi

Robert, the account manager at IBK, discusses the initial phase: “Together with De Graafstroom, we evaluated the best option for tank supply. De Graafstroom had a strong preference for Gpi based on their previous experiences. As IBK, we also found it favorable that Gpi had prior experience in delivering and installing tanks at De Graafstroom.” Martijn adds to the decision to choose Gpi: “We had several tanks from Gpi already, and we have always had positive experiences. The fact that Gpi is a local player was also a significant factor in making a sustainable choice.”


The project involved the engineering, production, transportation, and installation of six stainless steel buffer tanks for storing water at various temperatures, ranging from 2 to 77°C. The two largest tanks, with a capacity of 250 m3 each, are nearly 12 meters in height (including railings) and have a diameter of 5.5 meters. The four 210 m3 water tanks have a height of over 10 meters and a diameter of 5.5 meters. All tanks are made of stainless steel 304L, insulated, and finished with the same aluminium cladding as the previously supplied tanks, ensuring a uniform appearance. Two tanks are equipped with cage ladders to provide access to the platforms that were also delivered.

'Gpi understood our requirements with minimal explanation, collaborating closely to determine optimal tank dimensions.'

Optimal dimensions

Regarding the engineering phase, Robert explains, ‘The tanks are part of a completely new and future-oriented installation, which will enable 100% gas reduction. With an eye toward the future, we aimed for the highest achievable volumes. There were maximum height restrictions for the environment and landscape, as well as maximum diameter considerations for transportation and De Graafstroom’s site. Gpi collaborated closely in determining the optimal dimensions of the tanks, and the engineers understood our requirements with just a few words.’

Transport & installation

Martijn was impressed with the transportation and installation process: ‘The transport was quite impressive. The six tanks were transported by road from Gpi in Lopik to our factory in Bleskensgraaf. The transport and placement went smoothly. All tanks were neatly placed in one day, and there was nothing to complain about.’

On the collaboration

Martijn shares his impression of Gpi: ‘I believe Gpi possesses excellent expertise and understands the dairy industry well. They work with us to deliver precisely what we need as customers, no more and no less. This enables us to maintain reasonable prices for our cheese products for consumers.’ Robert comments on the collaboration during the project: ‘The collaboration went smoothly. Both we and De Graafstroom are satisfied with the outcome and look forward to working together again in the future.’

‘Gpi possesses excellent expertise and understands the dairy industry well.'

The outcome

The delivery of six water tanks marks a significant step toward a gas-free production process. Martijn explains the next steps: ‘The first phase, including the new tanks, will be operational in September. With the start of this phase, the factory will consume two-thirds less gas, which is a substantial reduction all at once. The new installations are ready for further growth to progressively phase out gas consumption. In the third and final phase, three tanks for higher temperatures will be added, and then we will achieve 100% gas-free operation. I hope we can accomplish this by 2030.'”