Europa-Levage, the one and only manufacturer of box-type overhead cranes in Wallonia

Europa-Levage is a family business whose specialty is the study, manufacture, installation and routine maintenance of box-type overhead cranes, gantry cranes and other lifting machines. Located at Verlaine, near Liege in Belgium, Europa-Levage was founded in 1966 par Jacques Rousseau.

Some thirty years later, in 1999, the leadership of the company was taken over by his son Bernard Rousseau. Before he succeeded his father, Bernard Rousseau assisted him at Europa-Levage; he methodically trained himself in his future profession with the objective of continuing the development of the company and its good management based on the human qualities of its employees. Previously, the enterprise worked prioritarily with companies located in the Liège basin but it now exports to some thirty countries including Algeria, Brazil, China, Russia, Canada or even the United States. It can now boast a high level of excellence and has become frontrunner in the Wallonian market. Europa-Levage currently has a workforce of 11. Apart from their professional qualifications, they were appointed thanks to their interpersonal skills.

Interview with M. Bernard Rousseau, Managing Director

Verlinde: tell us something about your business. 
We deal both with conventional projects and more specific projects. To date, we have turned out more than 1400 overhead cranes. That alone shows our dynamism. Lifting capacities can reach 250 tonnes and spans 34 metres. Europa-levage also supplies hoists that are driven manually or electrically (chain, wire rope, strap), explosion-proof hoists and other lifting machines such as gantry cranes, winches, etc. We also take care of maintenance and the transformation and repair of existing installations. Construction time for overhead cranes depends on different criteria such as size and can vary from two days to three months for the largest.

Verlinde: how is it that Europa-Levage has become a Verlinde distributor ? 
Very soon after its creation, Europa Levage forged a reputation for its know-how and excellence and set up commercial partnerships with major international companies. Thus it was that as early as 1978, the company was appointed by the Finnish company Kone as general agent for its electric hoists and other overhead crane components for Belgium and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. 1991 marked the year that Verlinde, frontrunner in France in the area of lifting equipment, granted our company the distribution rights for its components designed for overhead cranes. In 1997, Verlinde developed a manufacturing process for standardised overhead cranes based on comprehensive kits and set up the Europont Belgium network. Europa-Levage rapidly found itself a central position within this network whose range of overhead cranes meets the latest European standards.

Verlinde : Can you give us an example of the delivery of a specific project ?
We commissioned the largest overhead crane ever built by our company in a Liège foundry in 2017: capacity – 60/10T, span – 26 m.
The specifications sheet was drawn up with the customer. We then placed the order for the raw materials: steel, paint and electromechanical equipment. Then came the manufacturing and assembly stage of the vertical and horizontal steel components that had been previously butt-welded. Once the box girder was completely finished we applied the coatings of paint. This job is done either in the workshop or is outsourced if special paint is involved. Electrification was then installed in the crane and the latter underwent a series of tests in the workshop to check its electrical and mechanical operability. Unloaded tests were also carried out.
Transportation then ensued by means of an exceptional convoy, one girder per articulated trailer, directly to the customer’s where we had checked the technical assemby conditions beforehand. We dealt with the assembly operations ourselves on site. An independent body checked the crane once more with test loads before commissioning.

Verlinde: which markets give you the most orders ? 
Our equipment that must be seen to be of the highest quality caters for a very variable clientele, from SMEs to medium-sized and heavy industry. This market is complemented by exports via large engineering firms that have opened up opportunities in Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania, Madagascar, Iran, Italy, Philippines, China, India, US, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

Verlinde: Europa-Levage asserts its Belgian identity. What does that mean exactly ?
Our machines bear the “Made in Belgium” designation. The company procures a maximum number of products locally: paint and electrical items are purchased in the province of Liège, metal products from ArcelorMittal Belgium. Our workshop output is almost 100% Walloon.

Verlinde: what are Europa Levage’s human resources ?
Europa-Levage has existed for fifty years and has always wished to assert its family business mentality. When its was founded, we knew that the involvement and development of responsibility of the whole workforce was necessary for the best possible future for the company. Today our workforce numbers 11 and we have no intention of expanding further because we wish to remain competitive and aware of our customers’ requirements. It is also a way of making sure we do not lose the flexibility and versatility of our co-workers.

Verlinde: what is your development outlook ?
With the aim of making the company even more efficient, large investments have been made and standardization has been enhanced and computerized. Our After Sales, conveniently located for the large industrial sites, guarantees a significant stock of spares, a 24hr fault clearance service by a qualified team to ensure our customers’ entire satisfaction is met.

We have created our own certification: ISO EUROPA and every delivery with the Europa-Levage stamp is checked once again by our teams. The good profitability of any company requires reliable and highly efficient handling machines which means a significant percentage of production costs. That explains why Europa-Levage has great hopes for its future. Our maxim: QUALITY and SERVICE.
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