We have the very best people and machinery to remove greenhouse waste quickly and professionally. As well as tomatoes and strawberries, we can remove waste from other crops, such as peppers and cucumbers, and soft fruit like raspberries and blackberries.
We started out 25 years ago with a unique machine that attracted interest right from the outset. Currently, in addition to contract work in the Netherlands and Belgium, we also supply equipment around the globe to nurseries looking for reliable machinery. Quality and personal contact are very important to us, which is why we have kept our activities small scale. It means our permanent team of staff can offer you the very best in service and craftsmanship.
Heecon stands for quality and safety, which is why our machines contain as many mechanical parts as possible. The small and well-protected electronics units contain only those elements which are absolutely necessary. This means the machines are less vulnerable to electrical failures and have a longer service life than machines which depend more on electronics. It is important that machinery is rinsed properly, and disinfected if necessary, particularly if it is used intensively. Our machines can be thoroughly cleaned without risking damaging the electronics.
Our experience goes hand in hand with innovation. The Heecon employees who remove waste from your greenhouse are the same people who build and maintain the machinery. This means we can permanently monitor and improve our products, in terms of both performance and safety. We also keep abreast of all the latest technological developments and state-of-the-art innovations, allowing you to enjoy the best of all worlds.
forefront of quality
This is who we are
Kees Heestermans worked in agriculture for many years before specialising in horticulture in 1988. Almost immediately, he became aware that he could make a significant contribution to the mechanisation of greenhouse cultivation. He had no formal training in this area, but with his clear vision and required technical skills, he managed to build a machine for removing waste crops.
1 Just the trick!
Over a period of eleven weeks, he visited tomato growers in the Westland region in the Netherlands, and it turned out that his machine was ideal. Hundreds of people came to look at it, and it also attracted attention from the press. Kees did not let the machine out of his sight for a second, because even then he knew that he was on to something special. From then on things developed quickly, and Heecon was established two years later. In the early years he was helped by family members, including his wife, son and daughter. His son Martijn, now Company Director, learnt his skills from an early age; he was already helping out at Heecon after school when he was just 16 years old.
2 Enthusiastic professionals
On top of contract work, there was also interest in buying the machines. This was an ideal business model for the company, as it allowed it to spend quiet periods building its products. The first machines were sold in the Netherlands in 1989. Some of Heecon’s original staff from those early days are still working for the company today. All of them are professionals who, like Kees, have turned their hobby into their career. Building a machine themselves, then enthusiastically taking it out and putting it to work, is what everybody at Heecon enjoys more than anything else. It must be part of their DNA, because even though Kees Heestermans has now officially retired from the company, he is still building machines for a range of different applications.
“You don’t need a degree to come up with something good. It’s a question of knowing where to look and combining things intelligently, that’s how you get an excellent machine.”
Kees Heestermans, talking about Heecon’s success
3 Always up to date on technological developments
After spending the early years at various rented sites in different locations, Heecon opened its first company premises in Meerle in 1992. Machines for removing tomato crop waste were built at the new site, alongside others for crops such as cucumbers and peppers, and soft crops such as strawberries and raspberries. The greenhouse cultivation industry was developing faster than ever, but everyone at Heecon managed to keep right on top of events, all helped by combining contract work and manufacturing. Heecon is still incorporating the latest innovations and applications into its machines, keeping the company at the forefront of latest developments.
4 Heecon’s international breakthrough
International success followed in the mid-1990s. The first machines were sent to the UK, and France, Greece, Italy and Spain quickly followed suit. They were also delivered to the other side of the world, reaching Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico and the United States. This has taken Heecon employees to all corners of the globe, because Heecon generally installs and sets up its machines itself. The added benefit of this is that users can be personally supplied the right level of explanation and instructions for their machines, ensuring that the machines can be used to their maximum capacity without a hitch. Hundreds of Heecon machines have already found their way around the globe.
5 Word of mouth
Kees discovered how Heecon’s fine reputation travelled faster and further than the export of machines themselves when he was installing a machine in the USA. He noticed they were already using some older Heecon models. This kind of cross-border word-of-mouth recommendation led to a number of orders from other countries for Heecon machines. An Australian nursery owner who saw a Heecon machine in the USA immediately ordered one from the Netherlands, for example.
6 A close-knit team in Meer
As demand for the machines grew, the company soon began to outgrow its premises in Meerle. The company has been operating from its current base in Meer in Belgium since 2007. In 2012, Martijn Heestermans, who had already been a Joint Company Director for several years, officially took over from his father. The company’s close-knit team of 8 permanent staff, 6 freelance contract workers and a trainee all work on new greenhouse waste removal applications with passion and a great deal of pleasure.
7 A solid basis
The basis of our machines, which focuses above all on quality and safety, has remained unchanged for the past 25 years. A range of modifications and new applications have, of course, been incorporated over this period. A good example is the development of machines for strawberry cultivation; the latter has seen explosive growth over the past decade. Heecon began manufacturing its machines at just the right time, and is now by far the largest supplier of contract work in the Hoogstraten-Zundert-Breda area, the leading area for strawberry cultivation in the Netherlands. Fellow contract workers in other regions with strawberry cultivation also prefer to use Heecon machines.
Since 2010, Heecon has grown strongly and we have experienced many changes. Not only does this translate into a new warehouse and a second warehouse, more trucks, machines and teams, but also into an increase in the work that takes place behind the scenes. That is why Martijn hired a partner to maintain the same quality in contract work and mechanization. Mark Oomen, who started in 1999 as a holiday worker and intern, and has grown over the years to a management position within the company, has become co-owner of Heecon since 2018. We hope that in this cooperation we can guarantee the future of the company, so that we can serve you in the same way and with the same quality.