The family-run company Munckhof Machinefabriek in Horst is to have new owners for the first time in 134 years. The European market leader in the development and production of fruit production techniques has been taken over by Henri Michiels and Han Smits. Munckhof Machinefabriek will continue under the name Munckhof Fruit Tech Innovators and has ambitions for growth in new geographic markets and application areas.

Ambition for growth in new techniques, markets and applications

Munckhof Machinefabriek was founded in 1884 by the local blacksmith “Smitten Ties”. Since then the company has remained in the hands of descendants of the Van den Munckhof family until now. Munckhof Machinefabriek developed into a Grade A supplier and European market leader in the area of harvesting techniques, spraying equipment and box fillers, mainly for the production of apples, pears, cherries, berries and olives. The company currently has 40 employees and a turnover of 6 million euros. After 134 years the last Munckhof owners, Thijs and Peter van den Munckhof, are now gradually retiring. Since the end of May Van den Munckhof Machinefabriek has been in the hands of Henri Michiels who worked as technical commercial director at Dinnissen Process Technology in Sevenum and Han Smits, former international business development manager at the Swiss company Glencore Grain. Their ambition with Munckhof Fruit Tech Innovators is the further development and production of high-tech solutions for precision farming. This means that Munckhof will continue to do what it has been doing for 134 years: offering fruit growers technical and logistical solutions that enable them to improve yield and quality with the use of, among other things, less labour, fertilizers, energy and plant protection products. The use of even smarter sensors, GPS techniques, internet links and the automatic recording and use of big data will play an increasingly important role. Forward-looking growers can then measure the exact growth, yield and development of disease for each tree separately and then intervene quickly and only where necessary. New techniques will also play a role in the more accurate spraying of fertilizers and crop protection agents on the leaf and blossom. This will help prevent waste of resources and environmental pollution.

Little change for employees and customers

The takeover will result in little change for Munckhof’s employees and customers. They can continue to rely on the same products and service they are accustomed to from Munckhof. Thijs and Peter van den Munckhof will remain involved with the company. However, due to the takeover and ambition for growth, there will be a number of new vacancies for technical, commercial and logistics employees at intermediate vocational (MBO) and higher vocational (HBO) level and university level.

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