Kramp Groep is Europe's largest specialist in parts and accessories for various sectors, including agriculture, horticulture, and earth-moving equipment. Originally a Dutch company, with its headquarters in Varsseveld in the Achterhoek region, Kramp Group now delivers across all of Europe. Kramp Group has 24 sales offices spread across Europe, operates from 10 of its distribution centers, and offers around half a million products online. This operation is unparalleled, well-organized, and relies heavily on having reliable emergency power supplies. This is not only crucial for Kramp Group itself but also for its customers, who rely 100% on the expert advice of Kramp specialists and expect parts availability and quick deliveries. Recently, Elinex delivered new emergency power supplies, and we are speaking with Eric Smees (network administrator) and Rick Elferink (system administrator) at Kramp and Job Roeleveld, account manager at Elinex Power Solutions.
Men of the first hour
Eric has been working at Kramp Group since 1985, while Rick embarked on his adventure three years later, in 1988. So, they are indeed "men of the first hour." Eric remembers that the first system Elinex supplied in the 1990s was paid for in guilders. "I even found the homemade manual for operating the UPS and Emergency Power Generator," Rick proudly shares. Eric is the 'network man' within the group and deals with the physical hardware related to ICT. "I've been doing this for years in collaboration with Rick," he explains. Rick initially started as a programmer, database administrator, and system analyst. Today, he is a system administrator in the broadest sense of the word. Both gentlemen are responsible for the physical server park, software, and everything that goes along with it. Rick adds, "This also includes emergency power supply and climate control." In short, these gentlemen are true tech enthusiasts at heart.
With multiple locations across Europe, Kramp Group has opted for a uniform ICT infrastructure—a logical move that keeps everything manageable and prevents surprises. "Being able to keep running, wherever we are, is crucial for us," says Eric. "These days, we centrally deliver our IT services from Varsseveld, but we also have on-site first-line technicians." Job adds, "These are the people our local technical service collaborates with. We get on a plane when needed."
Rick chimes in, "We have large locations in the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, Poland, France, Spain, and Italy. Additionally, there are many smaller locations, which are sales points or offices with 3 to 5 staff members. But, truly everyone across the 24 locations is 'connected.' Our standardization to keep this all manageable goes a long way, from hardware and software usage to the structure of IP addresses and server names."
Modernization leads to reduced power consumption.
The most recent delivery made by Elinex was in November 2022, a result of a smart relocation of emergency power hardware. Eric explains, "In total, we replaced four parallel systems. We used to have two data centers in Varsseveld, each with three Eaton UPS units. We reconfigured the capacities: in the largest data center, Eaton was replaced by Huawei. In the other data center, we installed three Eaton emergency power supplies, with a fourth added later. When those reached the end of their life, we had Elinex install Centiel's emergency power supply. However, with less capacity, as the shifting reduced our capacity needs." According to Rick, this was also the right move in terms of energy consumption: "The old UPS systems were real power hogs compared to the new Centiel system." Job explains how this is possible: "You go from four inverters to just one inverter. Moreover, Centiel's new PremiumTower is much more efficient. With current energy prices, this is increasingly factored into considerations."
The configuration in Varsseveld includes not only the UPS but also an NSA (Emergency Power Generator). Eric explains that the UPS serves to bridge the startup time of the NSA. "This can be done in the Netherlands because our grid is fairly stable. If we look at Spain, for example, where there are regular network outages, we provide longer UPS times there, which are genuinely needed. The UPS not only serves the function of providing power during outages but also effectively absorbs power surges."
Good communication is half the job done
Both Eric and Rick speak highly of Elinex, as evidenced by their decades-long collaboration. Rick concludes by saying, "That satisfaction extends throughout the entire Elinex organization. From our contact with the office to the interaction our staff has with Elinex technicians. This is crucial for conducting maintenance work quickly, effectively, and efficiently."