Frans Nugteren (15 September 1928 – 29 November, 2016)

Frans Nugteren, founder of Ridder Group, died aged 88

The farmer's son who only remained on the farm, because he didn't want to let his father down, used his farming experience to set up the business. One of his first projects was to develop a ditching machine, simply because he hated having to dig ditches manually. The ditching machine soon became a permanent fixture in Dutch agriculture.

From that time, most of his ideas focused on simplifying the work that needed to be done, mostly through automation. His credo was: "You should be able to do it better than anyone else." For example, a rotary mower used in fruit production was, in addition to the fixed elements, fitted with a swinging arm that had a simple bicycle tire that was slightly wider than the blade. This allowed the mower to manoeuvre around trees.

After relocating from Ridderkerk to Harderwijk, the company also began manufacturing worm wheel gearboxes for the horticultural sector. Frans Nugteren came up with the revolutionary idea to fit the drive shafts through the posts of the greenhouse structure. Ridder no longer limited itself to the production of agricultural and horticultural equipment. Under the inspiring leadership of Frans Nugteren, the company also began designing palletising systems. He bought a Commodore PET (Personal Electronics Transactor), one of the first personal computers on the market. Frans Nugteren wanted to use it to automate business processes and would not rest until he fully understood how the system worked. Ridder was also the first company in Holland to utilize Computer Aided Design (CAD) to create layouts for the food industry.

In 1987, just before his retirement as Managing Director, Frans Nugteren was honoured for his special contributions to the industry: the Managing Director of the Ridder Group, was made a Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau.

Now, more than six decades after its founding, the family-owned Ridder is a global player when it comes to producing and marketing electromechanical drive systems, climate systems and software designed to support all processes within a company.

"The current Ridder Group was Frans Nugteren's life’s work. He was able to grow his business through his dedication, strong support at home and dedicated staff. Frans Nugteren cared deeply for the well-being of his employees. He was always engaged and interested in their stories, not only about work but also their lives at home. We are extremely grateful for all that he did for our company," the management writes.

For more information
Ridder Group
T: +31(0)341416854

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