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Tray specialist celebrates 40-year anniversary:

Denmark: “As production capacity doubled, we’re now able to take on the global market”

"In comparison to other manufacturers that have a wide array of products, we pride ourselves in becoming specialists in irrigation trays over the past forty years. Gaining a huge market share over time, we can supply for anyone and at any size or specific need," says Jacob Braa Sørensen, Co-owner of Staal & Plast, a Danish manufacturer of ebb and flow trays.

Since 1984, Staal & Plast has been a front-runner in providing tailored ebb and flood systems for greenhouse- and vertical farm operators involved in horticulture, floriculture or medical cannabis. The trays allow nutrient-rich water to flow in, nourishing the roots, and any excess water will be recycled for the next watering cycle.

The team celebrating its 40-year anniversary on 1 May

Celebrating a milestone
It didn't exactly come out of the blue for Jacob to join Staal & Plast. Jacob's uncle was a farmer himself, he experienced a lack of proper quality and flexibility in trays for greenhouse operators, Jacob's father decided to experiment with various sizes and varieties. Soon, this would be an invention and a great outcome for horticulture.

As the company grew bigger over time, Jacob eventually joined the company and now serves his role as co-owner. Celebrating a remarkable journey of four decades, the family business has been flourishing in many industries, serving the needs of indoor- and vertical growers at any size or request.

Serving a large array of markets
Reeling in new and efficient manufacturing machinery, Jacob says, "On top of serving a wide array of markets already, our capacity has doubled. We recently set up a production site in the US to serve the North American market and are producing locally in our home country, Denmark, so we're able to take on business at a global scale." Despite the market being a bit slow in the past two years, Jacob has seen the demand picking up again.

Scalable and swappable
With this modular system, the products are accessible to growers of all sizes, ensuring that every plant, big or small, could benefit from these eco-friendly trays. "Through strong partnerships, operators are always able to automate their production systems at a later stage. We'd always advise growers to 'start small', work on their business plan and once profitability comes in, sit down together and look at the scaling part of things. New growing blocks or benches can be added onto the facility whenever, which is not unusual for large horticultural projects."

Mainly serving European, North American, and Asian greenhouse growers, Staal & Plast has been picking up orders from vertical farming and cannabis producers again. "Our trays are versatile and can be used to grow a variety of crops, from young plants and microgreens to potted plants. And if you want to switch crops, you can, without throwing around your entire cultivation system."

Balancing price and quality
"We're constantly trying to get the right durability and quality of the product at the right price point. Our products last about 20 years and even longer in a greenhouse. An extra benefit is that our trays are fire-resistant, which is an asset that goes beyond our client's expectations. For instance, a lot of farms weren't able to lock in insurance, given fire safety. Through our products, they can have a reduced insurance premium, and at times, don't even need a sprinkling system."

For more information:
Staal Plast
Jacob Braa Sørensen, Co-owner
[email protected]