While Spain is home to one of Europe’s largest horticultural industries, 90% of the activities of Spanish greenhouse manufacturer Asthor are focused on export. Sales Manager Manuel Guerrero explained that Asthor’s medium to high tech poly greenhouses are in demand all over the world due to agricultural production issues and challenges related to population growth, climate change and water scarcity.
“As a plastic greenhouse builder, you basically have the opportunity to deliver a project in almost any country nowadays. It is our strategy to focus not just on a number of main markets, but to spread our risk and work in a lot of different markets at the same time. This is why we are not just active in big growth markets like Mexico, Latin America or Africa, but also focus to expand our expertise in less obvious markets in Asia for example.”
Guerrero explained that operating and defying such less obvious, far away markets, requires a special approach. “It Is not about building a greenhouse, but all about delivering a solution that help our clients grow and maintain a profitable business. This means that the technology needs to be of a very good quality, backed by full support and service. On the other side, the whole solution needs to work perfect within the bounds of local possibility.”
Made in Spain
The challenging export market is reason why Asthor manufactures most of their materials at their own production site in the Spanish northern region of Asturias. “Simply because of the fact that we go for a longer-term relationship with our clients, we’re required to work with the best materials and technologies. Whether we are operating in a nearby or faraway market, we do not favor to deliver a greenhouse and leave the customer behind with certain risks. Therefore we do not compromise on the quality of the materials. For the materials that we do not manufacture ourselves, we strictly work with renowned partners that are known for their quality and service.”
For this reason, Asthor prefers to work with Ridder Drive Systems in most of their export projects. “Even the smallest problems can get quite complicated when they are farther away. Therefore, you will need to make sure that if these problems happen to occur, you can solve it immediately, without any doubt. A company like Ridder understands this point very good. Just like us, they attach great importance to securing that quality and after-sales service. This is one of the main reasons to work with them.”
Guerrero explained that Ridder has a strong mentality to solve things and come up with a solution as soon as possible. “For us, the drive systems and moving parts are among the most critical components of a greenhouse projects. Unlike the structure itself, these components require maintenance and service more often. Therefore we need to work with a supplier that first of all eliminates risks by delivering a quality product, but on the other hand can deliver full service and support in case something will happen. Based on our experience from the past, we are convinced that we can trust on Ridder’s technology and service.”
Ridder Poly Drive
The plastic and polyethylene greenhouses constructed by companies like Asthor, are high in demand as a result of their favorable construction price per square meter. Other than glass greenhouses, poly greenhouses provide room for more affordable drive systems that require less maintenance. “We use Ridder’s RPD range of poly greenhouse drive systems that are specially developed for this market’, said Guerrero. “In the Ridder Poly Drive we have found a light-weight, oil-tight drive system that requires a limited amount of maintenance and is easy to install. The drive system is also more affordable compared to a drive system that is traditionally used in glass greenhouses. This makes the innovative RPD from Ridder a good choice for our poly greenhouses.”
Guerrero explained that innovations such as the Ridder Poly Drive are very welcome in their market. “We like to work with partners who innovate. Therefore it’s good to see that Ridder likes to think ahead and invests in the research and development of technology that is beneficial for both greenhouse constructors and end-users. They look at the bigger picture and do not only make things better and easier to install, but also keep an eye on the cost price of the product. This makes innovation available for everyone.”
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