Interview to Rudy Verhelst, Product Manager at Petersime N.V.
We have interviewed Mr Rudy Verhelst, Product Manager at Petersime N.V., – the world leading supplier of incubators, hatchery equipment, project services and turnkey hatcheries -, speaking about optimum solutions for increasing hatchery efficiency. With a Phd in engineering, Mr Verhelst joined Petersime in 2010 in the R&D department, where he developed and designed incubation equipment, carried out research and coordinated Petersime’s collaboration with the University of Leuven.
Could you outline a brief history of Petersime and summarize all the technical innovation made by Petersime over this period?
“The origins of Petersime NV date back to the year 1912, when the Petersime brothers invented the very first electric incubator in the United States.
In the 1920s, the first models of this incubator were produced in the US and exported to Europe. In 1949, an agreement was concluded between the American exporter and Mr Bohez from Olsene, who started producing the incubators under license. 1949 thus saw the establishment of the Belgian company Petersime NV as we know it today.
The year 1968 marked the end of this license agreement as well as the starting point of Petersime’s own developments in Belgium. Numerous technical innovations lead to a dramatic increase of market recognition. The name ‘Petersime’ was kept and soon became a symbol of leadership in the European markets and in the Middle East. In 1984, the company was taken over by an international investment group, an event followed by strong growth and increasing export, due to exploration of new markets.
Whereas in 1949, Petersime relied on the commitment of some 20 employees, the company now employs more than 250 people. Petersime became the world leader in industrial incubators and hatchery equipment. These state-of-the-art automated machines are set up in more than 150 countries all over the world. Petersime has established an international reputation, a leadership position and a dynamic corporate culture. By means of continuous investments and research in order to optimize the hatching process and chick output, the company has been able to guarantee optimum quality and service for over 60 years”.
Could you please introduce the latest improvement of Petersime over the last five years?
“The company has incredibly grown in the last years and we have increased our production facilities, starting from 2009 with a large facility extension that has almost doubled the surface of the production area, and this was a necessary step as in 2011-12 we have seen a huge boost in demand and our sales have significantly increased.
Therefore it was necessary to expand our facility and optimise the flow within our factory. In the last years we invested also in the training centre because it’s essential to have a good training programs and structure. Moreover, we realised that it becomes more and more important to provide a good training to our customers and we invested a lot in this facility and in a show room to help our business growing.
We also modernised and expanded our factory investing in upgrading the machines and the equipment we are using. In order to be able to produce those incubators in Belgium we require specific technology. For instance the panels we produce in our panel department: we have to assure our customers and guarantee that their quality is consistent all the time. Also, we invested in automatic welding machines and this was probably one of the most important investments because this is a crucial point for the incubation equipment sector. We produce a lot of trolleys every year and we want to make sure that the quality of the welding process is guaranteed all time. This is fundamental as our philosophy is to provide our customers the maximum profit for lifetime. We do not just want to sell a product: we want to assure our clients they have the best return on investment over the life time of their equipment”.
What are your company’s strategies in the different geographical areas and markets?
“As mentioned for production, the facility has consistently grown and this is the consequence of the fact we have increased our sales in the last years. Similarly, we have expanded and increased our presence in many areas worldwide, like in Russia, Asia and Latin America. In many important regions we are becoming increasingly more important, and many important projects have been realised in e.g. Brazil, Argentina and China. There was an incredible growth of our company, especially in Latin America, considering that we were almost not present only 10-15 years ago. We are the number one worldwide and we want to be the number one”.
How many countries are you exporting to and what areas offer the most opportunities?
“Petersime has regional offices in Russia, Brazil, and China, a sales network covering more than 60 countries and customers in more than 150 countries.
Petersime enjoys also partnerships with the biotechnology department of the University of Leuven and with the University of Edinburgh.
We are an international company and this is also reflected in the way we work: we invested a lot in a network of agents and distributors to provide local support and local service, because we cannot handle everything from here, in Belgium. Of course we have expanded our operation and business also on a local level and we want to make sure that every customer who has a problem is served quickly. This is why we have strongly invested in local subsidiaries as well. In addition, in 2008- 2009 we have created Petersime do Brazil for Latin America, then we have a subsidiary in Moscow, Russia, and we have also opened a representative office in China. So, we are growing worldwide and not only here in Belgium”.
Can you speak about the BioStreamer™ High Density?
“The BioStreamer™ HD or High Density is a state-of-the-art single-stage incubator with a capacity of up to 129,024 eggs. This higher capacity is achieved by means of a new setter tray with an increased egg density. The tray’s unique honeycomb structure allows setting more eggs on the same surface, while maintaining an optimal airflow in the setter. The design of the new incubator is adapted to cope with the additional egg mass, which results in optimal hatchability, chick uniformity, post-hatch performance and energy consumption. The new incubator is compatible with the patented Embryo-Response Incubation™ technologies”.
What new products do you intend to introduce?
“Eco-VAC™ is Petersime’s new, rational approach to climate control in the hatchery. It is the result of a long series of improvements to climate control, and it is based on many years of experience from the Project department. The main idea behind the system is to bring in and process only the exact amount of air needed at a particular point in time, while recovering energy wherever possible. Biosecurity is safeguarded at all times and costs and maintenance are reduced to a minimum. Eco-VAC™ is fully integrated and custom-designed according to the hatchery’s design and scope and to the local climate conditions.
It is common knowledge that long egg storage times lead to losses in hatchability and chick quality. For this reason we developed the new incubator BioStreamer™ Re-Store, that warms up these eggs for short periods of time during storage, restoring a significant part of the hatch decrease. The BioStreamer™ Re-Store is especially engineered and programmed to precisely control these heat treatment cycles. The gains in hatchability are substantial, and increasingly so as the eggs are stored longer. What’s more, significant improvements have been recorded in terms of chick quality and post-hatch performance”.
For more information on any of these innovations or on Petersime’s existing product range, visit www.petersime.com