History of Pentas Moulding 1981 - 2022
In our first blog post, we highlighted the early years and the founding of Pentas. Now, in this sequel, we delve deeper into the history and reveal the further developments that have shaped Pentas.
Time for a Strategy Change
In the 1980s, Ten Cate Sports received a visit from someone who had a one-man business in pedal boats and introduced their product. As Ten Cate Sports was eagerly looking for new, related products to generate new revenue, the visit was received positively. Visscher decided to ask Martin Spanjer to conduct a market research to see if such a product had a chance of success. Initially, Ten Cate Sports intended to carry the pedal boat as their own product, but it was advised against, as the product was not sufficiently developed.
The Blood Starts Flowing
It was then that the idea was born to make products for completely different sectors in addition to windsurfing boards. Martin Spanjer had ideas about this. From a market-driven organization, Ten Cate Sports shifted to a more technically driven organization. The technicians were given free rein. Will Visscher left, but not before asking Martin Spanjer to come back. The pioneering began. Koorn and Spanjer traveled to America and visited various manufacturing companies. They went on a working visit to eight rotational molding companies, looking at their machines and methods. The Americans proudly showed the many products made using rotational molding technique, mainly for the agricultural sector. Koorn and Spanjer fully believed in it. They wanted to make plans, expand, and take risks.
The Market for Toilet Cabins Grows
Martin Spanjer saw potential in making plastic toilet cabins as the market was growing. Independently, two Germans approached them: Wilfried Thal and Horst Krzepinski. Both thought they could contribute to the sale of plastic products. The latter, Horst, was hired as an agent in Southern Germany. Business went excellently. The production of the toilet cabins grew so much that the machines couldn't handle the volume. More machines had to be purchased, but the board of Nijverdal Ten Cate did not give the green light for this. After much insistence, the budget for two new machines was approved, but Spanjer and Koorn were left with a bad feeling. In 1985, Ten Cate Sports was renamed Ten Cate Rotomoulding, a more fitting name now that the company had changed course.
We're Starting Our Own Business
Ten Cate planned to sell the company, but Koorn and Spanjer didn't want to be taken over by the competitor Fusion BV. Soon the plan emerged to start their own business. They both had the knowledge, and Martin Spanjer also had relationships willing to invest. Finally, they also had the support of Wilfried Thal and Horst Krzepinski, who kept sending them more and more assignments.
They Have a Double Job
At Martin Spanjer's home, the plans were hatched. The enthusiasm was there, the money too, but they were still looking for a location. Just at that moment, the municipalities of Almelo, Wierden, and Vriezenveen were busy with the development of the Business Park Twente. The founders of the yet-to-be-started company concluded a lease-purchase agreement to settle on the business park. Colleague Harold Scholten joined the adventure, which was a good thing. He was temporarily appointed director to complete the registration with the Chamber of Commerce. In that year, the founders had a double job. They worked enthusiastically at Ten Cate Rotomoulding and were also busy with the plans for their new company.
Resignation and Non-Compete Clause
When the time was ripe, they handed in their resignation at Royal Nijverdal Ten Cate. A day later, a letter from the lawyer arrived. The resignation was not honored, as they were indispensable to the company. They were also reminded of the non-compete clause. Koorn and Spanjer lived in uncertainty for a few months but continued with their activities at the new location. Royal Nijverdal Ten Cate appointed a mediator who had the trust of both parties. For two years, there was a tug of war over the shares. Then Royal Nijverdal Ten Cate realized it was better to let go, and all ties could be cut.
Five Founders Form Pentas Moulding B.V.
In 1993, colleagues Henk Tijms and Clemens Mos also joined Martin Spanjer, Ruud Koorn, and Harold Scholten, and thus Pentas Moulding was established. Pentas stands for the number five in Greek and directly refers to the five founders.
"Pentas knows no success without U"
First Product: Fuel Tank for Saab
Initially, it wasn't the intention to take over the machines from Ten Cate. Carousels 3 and 4 from 'Reinhardt' were ordered to start production. 'Carousel 1' and the 'Rock and Roll machine' from Ten Cate were eventually also placed in the new building. One of the first products from Pentas was a small plastic fuel tank for a Saab. Saab enthusiasts removed the spare wheel to make room for this round tank, made from a PE inner core and wrapped in carbon fiber. It results in weight reduction and more luggage space and is also safer, as a steel tank can explode, and a rotationally molded plastic tank cannot.
The Clean John
Through a Dutch company, Pentas gets the assignment to make various products, including a mobile toilet, the Clean John. Huibert Groenendijk, still a client at Pentas, is asked to contribute to the design of the toilet cabin. In earlier years, he was involved as an industrial designer in the various designs of the windsurfing boards. They invest in a mold, but the Dutch company goes bankrupt, and Pentas comes into possession of the production molds. The Clean John, a brand name from America, will later do very well at events and festivals. Wilfried Thal sells the product a lot in the German market.
Set of Drawings Under the Arm
Horst Krzepinski primarily looks for customers in Germany and Switzerland. When he brings in requests from customers, he comes into the Pentas office with a set of drawings under his arm. The quotes are made based on the drawings of the respective customers.
Fifty Percent of the Turnover Comes from the Delivery of Toilet Cabins. After the Clean John, various other models are developed in collaboration with Groenendijk, including the Pentalet, which, unlike the Clean John, is more design-oriented. Other products such as shower cabins are also developed.
The design-focused Pentalet toilet cabin, designed in collaboration with Groenendijk.
Pentas Does Not Focus on One Market Segment
Henk Tijms ensures that Pentas can make a flying start and that the company becomes more diverse. Henk actively acquires in the Netherlands and can use his network built up in the past when he led a rotational molding company with his father.
Through a relationship with Henk Tijms, Pentas starts making floats for the dredging industry. This is a welcome addition, as Pentas does not want to focus on one market segment. Diversifying the number of sectors naturally provides stability. In the early years, Pentas develops a new product every month on behalf of various customers. Later this rises to one to two designs per week.
From Surfboards to Fuel Tanks
In addition to the increase in the number of products designed per week, much more has changed since the very beginning. For instance, Pentas goes from surfboards to fuel tanks. What remains the same is that Pentas has always remained a technical specialist in the field of rotational molding.
Koorn Remains the Only Shareholder
All five shareholders have been bought out over the years for various reasons. Ruud Koorn is the only shareholder left. His two sons, Marthijn and Wouter, have been working in different departments of the company for more than eight years. In 2022, Ruud Koorn reached the age of 67 and transferred the shares to his two sons.
Ruud Koorn with his sons Marthijn and Wouter.