We are on the relevant side of horticultural technology

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2024 promises to be an exceptional year for ISO Horti Innovators. They have worked hard to not just achieve one innovation, but to launch three innovations this year. Sjaak Bakker, who has been the Chief Commercial Officer for six months, gives us a sneak peek on what’s new at the company. He also takes us on a tour around the factory and discusses the significant growth that the company experienced.

The tour immediately highlights this growth. We move from the office to hall 1, then hall 2, and finally hall 3, coming across many machines, including a series of tulip planting robots. Since its inception in 2002, the machinery manufacturer has been strong in the ornamental horticulture sector. Well-known is the automation for chrysanthemums, with the RoBoPlant. “The first ten years were heavily focused on automation in cut flowers. A major part of the work was aimed at the Netherlands, and the rest went international, especially to North America.”

Nowadays, the international portion has increased significantly. In the North American market, a local branch has even been opened. “We are also strong in vegetables where we focus on grafting, among other things.” The market inquired whether it was possible to fully automate the grafting process. The technicians in Gameren got straight to work on this. “Now that the market is ready, we have an innovation lined up.”

At trade shows, ISO always brings along a machine or robot. The company’s hardware is well-known. The software, much less so. “We see every plant with advanced vision technology. These data could be used in the future to provide growers with even more relevant information.” Pictured is the ISO Bulb Planting System.

Own R&D
Over the past ten years, ISO’s team has grown by about a hundred people, now totaling 120. The machinery manufacturer has a lot to offer. “We sell the machines ourselves and also have our own R&D. Not every machinery manufacturer can say that.” The fact that Gameren is closer to Brainport Eindhoven, compared to Westland, helps. “We are still very successful in attracting technical people. We have an interesting proposition for young people.”

The market where ISO first started, the chrysanthemums, has not been forgotten despite the recent rapid growth. At HortiContact, they brought a demo model of an innovation in chrysanthemums. “Initiated by an innovative grower, we got to work. This summer, the first robots will go into the field to automatically plant plugs in the greenhouse, neatly between the holes in the mesh.”

This demo model of the new chrysanthemum innovation by ISO that will automatically plant plugs for growers was seen at HortiContact.

Fast time-to-market
“We know all the chrysanthemum growers,” continues Sjaak. Those familiar with the extensive coverage of the earlier RoBoPlant know this is no exaggeration. Following CEO Martin Maasland, he emphasizes that ISO, by listening closely to growers, can deploy its expertise and experience very efficiently. “This often allows us to quickly come up with a great solution.”

“This vibe of providing solutions to growers’problems is still very much alive,” he notes when asked how the company deals with growth. “We look very thoughtfully at market opportunities. We consider whether the volumes are large and whether the quality of labor is too limited or labor is not available at all. We are on the relevant side of horticultural technology.”

A ‘very fast time-to-market’ remains important. “That time-to-market has always been short with us, and we keep it that way. The development of the new chrysanthemum innovations, from the first contact with the grower, took less than half a year. You also have to stay fast and flexible. The world changes rapidly. Then you can’t spend two years cooking an innovation.”

Recently, two new salespeople were appointed. Ben Pieterse and Mathijs van Langen.

For more information:
ISO – Horti Innovators
Middelkampseweg 9
5311 PC Gameren, the Netherlands
Tel: 0418-552735
[email protected]

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