The greenhouse horticulture sector is developing rapidly. Technical installations are becoming more complex, requiring installation to be tailored to local conditions and provided with the right quality mark. And that's just the beginning. "In this customisation process, both technology and backup must be reliable. And in addition to supplying good burners, good service is just as important", the team with Zantingh believes. That's why they've recently opened a service office in Moscow.
Zantingh has been a leading manufacturer and supplier of gas burner installations, flue gas condensers, CO2 dosing installations and central heating components in the sector for many years. Most Zantingh products currently are exported, including to Russia, Mexico, Canada and even to Australia - in many cases via Dutch greenhouse construction and installation companies. Dutch greenhouse horticulture technology has a reliable reputation. Sales and marketing manager Rein Tichelaar: "The Netherlands traditionally has a lot of knowledge of greenhouse horticulture and, in addition to horticultural products, also more and more Dutch greenhouse horticulture technology is exported abroad. Since our gas burner installations are specifically tailored to greenhouse horticulture, we are participating in this development."
A full truck destined for a project in Russia. In mid-September a total of four lorries drove to Russia for this project. The load included among other things 10 gas burners of 14 megawatts, a large batch of central heating components, flue gas condensers and 8 corresponding CO2 sets. Photo: Zantingh archive
Plants in horticultural greenhouses need heat and CO2 to be able to grow, and that is why good service is at least as important as the quality of the products. Rein: "We do the manufacturing and visit the project when the burner installation has to be started up for the first time and when maintenance is carried out." The biggest growth is currently abroad, where greenhouse horticulture is clearly on the rise. "At the moment our own service technicians are flying around the world, but now that the volumes are getting bigger, we are literally reaching the limits and increasingly we will have to provide aftercare locally. We do this by opening service offices abroad or by using service agents. In this way the response time will remain as low as possible." However, it is something that growers in other countries do take into account by building in sufficient back-ups, in case they would have to wait for assistance. "Dutch growers are a bit spoiled with a short response time. Nevertheless, they also have to build in back-ups, and in some cases more than they are doing now. In the event of an unexpected failure of an installation, the crop of course should never suffer."
But also with international service offices, providing good service remains a challenge. For example, finding employees is anything but easy. Almost simultaneously with the opening of the service office in Russia a training center was opened in Rijsenhout. With this center, Zantingh hopes to turn foreign service mechanics into top mechanics faster. "In August, we were already visited by an Armenian delegation for training and our Russian colleagues followed shortly thereafter," says Hilde Kleerekoper, sales representative at Zantingh. "We have also already had visits from instructors from the World Horti Center." Since last year, a Green Mechatronics training has started there, Rein adds. "In order to become a good burner service mechanic, you must have knowledge of electrical, gas and measuring & control engineering, among other things. As a company, we can contribute to such training by offering traineeships, giving lectures and by offering teaching materials."
Hilde Kleerekoper and Rein Tichelaar in the training center at one of the burner installations for practice purposes.
Everything for the right flame
Dutch growers are increasingly faced with stricter environmental requirements. For example, for gas burners larger than 1 MW, the legal NOx emission requirement of a maximum of 70 mg / nm3 applies since 1 January 2017. In practice, often a much lower NOx emission is required, for example by growers who want to obtain the Green Label Greenhouse certificate. "If the firebox load of the boiler permits it, the Zantingh burners will have no problem with that." The correct adjustment of the gas burner is therefore very important, which is why Zantingh makes use of modern electronic automatic control engineering, such as the burner management systems from Siemens.
Burner management system Siemens LMV
In addition, very many other factors play a role in foreign projects, and Zantingh provides tailor-made solutions. The quality and the pressure of natural gas often deviate from Dutch standards. The same applies for instance to the local electricity grid where a different voltage or grid frequency is used. Many installations - unlike in the Netherlands - are placed far above sea level where there is less oxygen in the air and therefore a larger volume of combustion air must be supplied.
The head start in gas burner installations that the company has built up, Zantingh wants to retain. Innovating with partners plays a key role in this. "In Western Europe we will increasingly have to deal with gas from different sources and therefore with different qualities. The control engineering must be tuned to this. In addition, sustainable gases from, for example, hydrogen are on the rise. This also requires technical adaptation. This way we continue to grow and ensure that our products meet the needs in the market."