Wavin celebrates 60 years of success in Ireland
Wavin’s story begins in the 1950’s in Zwolle, the Netherlands, where company founder Johan Keller was director of WMO, the local water utility. Supplying a largely rural district and a few urban centres, the company’s water supply reached its customers through a large network of mostly iron pipes.
The beginning of Wavin
WMO found itself battling against serious pipe corrosion and a significant loss of water; supplies of drinking water were passing through iron pipes that were corroding and leaking. Keller began looking into tailor-made plastic pipes for the supply of drinking water as a solution. He set up a small workshop in Zwolle and succeeded in developing and producing the first plastic pressure pipes for potable water. With growing interest both nationally and internationally WMO created an independent company to focus solely on pipe production. In August 1955, Wavin (a contraction of the words WAter and VINyl) was founded.
Wavin initially started out with one office and 52 employees, today Wavin is a global leader in the supply of plastic pipe systems and solutions for both above and below ground applications in projects around the world with a presence in more than 25 countries and employing approximately 5000 people.
Since the 1950’s, Wavin have built an unrivalled reputation for continuous innovation, intelligent problem-solving, dedicated technical support and the highest standards.
Beyond Europe, Wavin is a subsidiary of Mexichem, a global leader in plastic piping and one of the world’s largest chemical and petrochemical companies.
Loading Wavin Pipes at Cian Park, Drumcondra for export to UK, 1960
Wavin Ireland was one of the first subsidiaries outside of Holland, it was founded by David McIlvenna and Tom McMahon in 1958. The two entrepreneurs had become aware of the production of PVC pipes and fittings by Wavin in the Netherlands. With the support of the Irish Government they quickly established a manufacturing facility and Wavin Pipes was formed. The venture had a strong backing from the IDA and the then Minister for Industry & Commerce, Sean Lemass.
Opening Balbriggan Site June 1962
The Early Years
Wavin Ireland began life in a small industrial unit in Cian Park Drumcondra in 1958 employing just 20 people. In the mid 1950’s Armagh County Council became the first local authority anywhere on the island to use Wavin pipes and this business quickly expanded nationwide to Local Authorities, Group Water Schemes and National Utility Providers.
Wavin enjoyed prosperous growth and production grow from 240 tons in the first year of operations to over 10,000 tons by 1970. As Wavin grew there was a need to move operations. In 1962 Wavin relocated to a new 26 acre purpose-built site in Balbriggan where they remain today. The official opening was performed by the then Taoiseach Sean Lemass who later served as Wavin Ireland’s first Chairman.
Moulding Department, 1982
A company of Innovation
Wavin have long been known for their innovative nature, in 1978 Wavin Ireland developed and launched the market leading AJ. It has been the number one selling WAJ on the Irish Market
over the last 40 years and has been one of Wavin Ireland’s most successful export products, a position that is still maintained today.
Outside of their core market Wavin develop the Wavin Hula Hoop and Wavin Hurley. The Wavin Hurley was predicted to be a huge success and was launched on the Late Late Show. The Hula Hoop was met with such popularity and demand that street traders traveled from Dublin and queued outside our Balbriggan facility to purchase the them.
Hans Postma, 1982
Today Wavin employs over 85 people across Manufacturing, Distribution, Sales & Marketing, Technical Support, Finance and Administration. Wavin Ireland aims to maintain its position as a leading manufacturer of building products. Our objective is to provide our customers with the right product, at the right time, and at a competitive price. Our mission is to generate continuous value for our employees, customers, partners, and shareholders. For our customers we are the supplier of choice due to a complete, competitive, innovative and sustainable portfolio for Above and Below Ground applications.
From modest beginnings Wavin Ireland has grown to become the largest manufacturer and leading supplier of plastic pipe systems and solutions in Ireland. Continued investment has ensured that
we possess the most up to date manufacturing technology to enable us to maintain our position as market leader.
As we now enter a mature market where Plastics are the dominant player, Wavin will continue to respond to the different challenges that both the economy and the market, face. Wavin will always continue to innovate and develop, and bring new products to the market place. It is to be hoped that Wavin will celebrate another 60 years in business. I think we can be confident of that.
J. Darby, J. McKenna, G. Cooper, E. Carr, P. Merry, M.Eustace, G. Stacey | Wavin Sales Team mid 1960's at Ballymun
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