Tillage plays a huge part in the agricultural industry in Ireland thus the proper machinery and equipment is needed to carry out the work involved.
For over 50 years, Panford Ltd have been involved in the manufacturing of grain handling equipment, grain dryers, dust, fume and odour control systems, industrial fan applications, industrial drying and heating systems.
The family run business has built up an extensive customer base over the years which continues to grow and are the leaders in the provision of the MixFlo range of grain drying handling equipment.
Managing Director Fergus O’Brien spoke to Irish Tractor & Agri about the services and products that they provide to their loyal clients.
The products manufactured and supplied by the company include grain dryers, belt and bucket elevators, chain and flight conveyors, belt conveyors, screw augers, intake hoppers, grain cleaners, feed mills, blending systems, storage bins/outloading bins, aeration fans, noise reduction equipment, dust and odour control equipment, fertilizer plants and weighing systems. We have recently further expanded our range of equipment to incorporate malting equipment, namely malt steeps and kilns.
“We would offer a full turn key installation service to all our customers,” said Fergus. Material handling equipment for grain generally has to survive lengthy periods of not being in full use, but once the harvest starts it must be unfailingly reliable. “We have developed a reputation for manufacturing and supplying top quality products and that is one of the reasons we have so much repeat custom.”
Grain handling systems require handling equipment that range in size, from low throughput equipment for on-farm use to increasingly high-throughput systems for transport in fully integrated large-scale storage facilities.
From their manufacturing premises in Tallaght and recently acquired warehouse on a four acre site, Fergus and his team of 12 which includes his sister Monique, manufacture all of their products using only the best of materials.
“We manufacture our products using top quality materials that have been sourced from all over the world. At the end of the day it is our reputation that is on the line, so it would be penny wise pound foolish for us to use sub standard parts that will not withstand the test of time.”
Their customer base covers a wide range from the agricultural sector, right through main stream industries and on into the pharmaceutical sector. Technology plays a leading part in the day to day running of the business and Fergus revealed that many of the issue that may arise on site can be addressed from their office. A lot of the systems we install have computer based control systems which are web connected. This allows us to connect into the clients systems from our office in real time and observe the system, locate any issue and more often than not correct it from head office without the need for any site inspection.
“We chose to design and write all our own PLC programming and computer software in house as a lot of our customers systems operate 24hrs a day 7 days a week, and as we are available to be contacted outside office hours and weekends minor issues can be rectified immediately, and we no longer have to rely on others to answer the phone on a Friday evening. Myself and other key staff members are on the end of a phone 24hrs a day for our customers which they know, and they very much appreciate that dedication, and customer feedback is very positive.”
Fergus is very happy with the direction of the business as his ethos to continue making the company grow seems to be paying off, but he does have concerns over a looming situation that will affect all of Europe and that of course is Brexit.
“I would have concerns definitely,” responded Fergus. “We would have customers in the U.K also, so there is a lot of uncertainty there. We have large contracts pending in the U.K at present, and my particular issue right now is insurance and whether or not we are or will be covered in the U.K. We are currently putting a structure in place to mitigate any disruption that may occur.
“At the same time, the aim is to continue pushing for more work and this is a role that I am dedicated too. I do believe there is a big market for us to expand whether it be here in Ireland, the U.K or even mainland Europe.” However, it would be unwise to secure orders in the U.K or further afield without the ability to fulfil these orders, which was the reasoning behind purchasing a new warehousing premises.
Aside from grain handling equipment, Panford Ltd also supply dust fume and odour control systems and industrial drying and heating systems.
Panford Ltd provide custom engineered solutions designed to match the client’s exact requirements.
“In addition to designing and supplying individual fans, we design and supply bespoke turnkey systems covering areas such as industrial composting, cooling, heating, curing, drying, ventilation, pneumatic conveying, dust, fume and odour control, noise reduction and process control systems.” We would supply industrial scale drying systems for wood chip, chicken litter, and compost for example.
There is no doubt that this family run business has stood the test of time from the days when Fergus’ father Liam started the business in the late 1960s; supplying industrial fans and dust control systems to diversifying into grain handling equipment, their aim has always been the same and that has been to continue to supply a top quality service to their customers and Fergus concluded by thanking his experienced staff for playing such an important role in the success of the business.
“Many of the employees would be here for quite a number of years and their experience and commitment has been invaluable. We work as a team, which is very important and we are determined to continue that for many years to come.”
Whitestown Industrial Estate,
Phone: +353 (0) 1 4596756
Fax: +353 (0) 1 4610452
Email: [email protected]
Taken from Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 7 No 3, June/July 2019