In November, I attended a very informative trip to Holland, courtesy of Richard Campey, to see two successful companies - Imants and Vredo - who have, for a number of years, manufactured a range of soil cultivation, decompacting and seeding machines that have proved successful worldwide.
Richard Campey was instrumental in building up a good relationship with both companies, enabling him to get sole rights to distribute their equipment in the UK.
Imants BV has been in business for over 125 years. The foundations of their international success were laid in 1885 by the village blacksmith in Reusel who, back then, was making hand tools for the local farmers and townspeople before progressing to making horse-drawn ploughs that soon became known for their high quality manufacture.
Foreign markets have been a focus of the company. Imants has been active in the North and South American markets since 1992. Over 50% of production is currently for export, primarily to the countries bordering the Netherlands, the United States, Australia and New Zealand. Imants sales staff and the research and development department are constantly working to develop and promote new products, which are designed using modern techniques and developed in the factory in Reusel.
In the 1990s, Imants began manufacturing their successful Shockwave decompactor, a linear aerator that is now widely used in the sportsturf sector. In 2009, Imants took over Koro Systems. This expansion added major names like the Field Topmaker, Recycling Dresser and Top Drain to their range of machines.
The assembled press members were welcomed to the factory by the company's managing director, Felix Peters, who conducted a factory tour before taking us to watch their latest spading machines working in the field - a very impressive machine that cultivates, levels and prepares a perfect seed bed in one pass.
After some great hospitality, it was time to move on to our next destination - the Vredo factory in Dodewaard where we were met by Pieter-Teunis Hoogland and the company's Director/Owner, Hans de Vree, who welcomed us to the factory. It was Hans' father who set up the company in the 1970s, manufacturing a range of seeders and slurry injectors.
Today we were able see the result of 35 years of ongoing development, with a fine range of seeders for both the agricultural and sports turf markets. We were shown around the compact factory, seeing the R&D office, production lines and final products awaiting delivery. After lunch we were shown seeders and slurry injectors.
Richard Campey was pleased we enjoyed our time with both companies and saw the commitment both are making to ensure we have some of the best machines for the job in the UK marketplace. I was certainly impressed with how they are committed to serving our wonderful industry.
It goes without saying that there are a number of British and overseas companies committed to providing equipment for the sportsturf industry, with the aim of making the job easier and more efficient for our practising groundsmen and greenkeepers.