The Pijttersen company has a history of more than 140 years. What once started as a company in milking machines and equipment for the agricultural world, has developed over the years into a specialist in the supply of high-pressure pumps and pump systems. Below you can read how it all came to be.
The Frisian engineer and inventor of tools Feite Pijttersen founded his own company in 1880 in his hometown of Sneek. He focused on the supply of dairy processing equipment in dairies. Pijttersen developed the equipment himself, had it produced elsewhere and then sold it himself. Pijttersen soon became one of the largest employers in Sneek and the surrounding area.
Pijttersen was already innovative when no one had ever heard of this word. As an inventor, he came up with the idea that it should be possible to milk cows mechanically. That idea resulted in the invention of a milking machine with which farmers literally mangle the milk from the animals' udders. Nowadays it is impossible to imagine dairy farming without machine milking.
Shortly after he founded his company, Feite Pijttersen has been importing centrifuges, initially from the German brands Burmeister und Wain. Factory-based dairy preparation became possible with mechanical centrifuges. Separating the milk into dairy products such as cream, buttermilk and butter was done manually for a long time. The centrifuges for factory preparation were a gap in the market, with which Pijttersen testified to vision, courage and perseverance. Demand received a boost at the beginning of the 20th century, after which Pijttersen made contact with supplier Westfalia Separator. It resulted in a collaboration that would finally last about ninety years. And even Feite Pijttersen certainly did not foresee this at that time.
In the years of reconstruction, industrialization and mechanization also took off. Centrifugation technology was widely used industrially, including as separators in the oil industry, shipping and the food and beverage industry. This presented opportunities. For example, our company opened a second branch in Rotterdam. It was an acquisition that offered good entrances to the maritime and petrochemical sectors. At the same time, we took over the Amsterdam specialist in measuring and weighing technology GEDO, which gave us a foothold in the cheese industry. In our founding city Sneek - the stainless steel city of the Netherlands, we took over the Northern Netherlands Stainless Steel Industry (NNRI). The NNRI also worked on a large scale for the dairy industry. Both GEDO and NNRI continued to operate as subsidiaries under their own names.
In the 1970s, pump technology became fashionable and the American pump builder CAT Pumps International - which also supplied dairy products, among others - sought representation in the Netherlands. Because these products - in principle a simple technology - matched well with our products, we decided that cooperation with this partner would be a good step. As a distributor for the Netherlands, Pijttersen started supplying CAT Pumps and associated parts and accessories.
We have been part of the International Products of Holland (IPOH) since the 1950s. This was a collaboration of several companies. Together we were able to supply all machinery for complete dairies. Based on the conviction that we in the 'rich west' also had to mean something to countries where people were less fortunate than us, we supplied dairies to Third World countries. And also the ingredients that they did not have there themselves: from yoghurt culture and bags full of cocoa powder to Madagascar to butter and yoghurt makers to Paramaribo, we supplied it all. Because the Netherlands was still at the forefront of knowledge of dairy preparation worldwide. One by one the partners dropped out and in 1984 we were the last remaining partner more or less the owner of the IPOH. In the course of the 1990s, our business operations had changed to such an extent that we also drew a line under this.
Pijttersen had represented Westfalia Separator in the Netherlands for almost ninety years, when the German supplier started a change of course in 1990. Internationally, the company also wanted to control the sales organization itself. The transfer of Pijttersen's sales department was arranged in excellent mutual consultation, whereby both parties agreed that the majority of Pijttersen's employees would also transfer to Westfalia Separator Nederland. The sales department continued to sell the other products, including CAT Pumps. High-pressure pumps and high-pressure cleaning systems were now increasingly used in industry, making this an increasingly important product range for us. We also entered the market for milk dispensers - self-cooling milk tapping machines for large consumers such as the catering industry, company canteens and industrial kitchens. This product fitted in seamlessly with our roots in dairy. We improved our competitive position in the field of milk dispensers by anticipating new health and safety regulations at an early stage - packaging was allowed to weigh a maximum of 10 kilograms.
In 1995 we moved into new business premises at the Sewei business park in Joure. We opted for a modern housing in order to be able to continue to respond to the increasingly rapidly changing market situations. Here the focus shifted even more to the trade in CAT Pumps high-pressure pumps with the associated parts and accessories.
Our company was owned by the Van der Poel family for decades. The couple Pijttersen remained childless and at the beginning of the twentieth century found a new owner in employee Van der Poel who guarded and expanded the spirit of our family business for decades. In 2012, our company passed into the hands of Andries Huisman, owner of Huisman Warmtetechniek, among others. He moved Pijttersen BV, the modern warehouse and well-equipped workshop, in 2015 to the premises of one of his other companies on the Stavangerweg in Groningen.
Andries Huisman wanted to take it easy and handed over Pijttersen to his son Lars, who owns Ventilatietechniek Noord in Zuidbroek. Lars decided to house both his companies at the same address in his spacious, modern and easily accessible business premises. From this location we continue the trusted services from Groningen. This location also offers room for growth and delivery times and repair times can be shortened due to a larger warehouse and a well-equipped workshop.