The original version of this splitpen is what gave founder Hans van der Valk a foothold in the greenhouse construction business. His idea enabled the heavy construction work to be done significantly faster, easier and at reduced cost at the same. His family's company is based in Monster, in the heart of The Glass City or the Westland, home to some of the world's most advanced horticulture companies. Understanding in detail what these customers need to be successful and then going the extra mile to solve any issues they face, has throughout the company's history provided the inspiration to always be thinking about how to further improve its products.
"Innovation really just never stops here", says Vincent Prins, the current R&D manager. That applies to the company he joined some 17 years ago as well as to him personally - he sometimes draws up new ideas in the condensation on the shower wall. He has been named as an inventor on most of the patents Van der Valk Systemen applied for. Today the company produces over two thousand unique products; Mr. Prins knows each and everyone of them and he can enthusiastically explain every detail. It's like Liselot Arkesteijn, NLO's patent attorney said: "Every corner, every connector, every edge of their products is considered. Every detail has a function."
We asked Mr. Prins if he and his team ever not succeed in creating further improvings; why Van der Valk Systemen branched out into solar systems and how they quickly became a leading company in that sector too; and how a production company like Van der Valk Systemen can continue to grow in the Netherlands without offshoring any of its activities. His answers, not surprisingly, all come back to the same point: "It's in our blood we always want to improve everything."