PB Tec: Thinking inside the box

If you zoom in on a map of the Westland, you’ll see a pattern of square plots of land, typical of this area of the Netherlands. Moederscheim Moonen Architects has used this as inspiration for the design of the new PB Tec site. For once, thinking inside the box paid off.
Driving along the A20 motorway at Maasdijk, you can’t miss this site – sturdy anthracite grey square frames of varying sizes with huge glass partitions. The site looks out over the green Westland, the area where its work is done and where it all began. 

Systems for greenhouse builders
In 1989, brothers Paul and Koen Brabander launched PB Tec. They are the sons of a greenhouse builder, and are very familiar with glass walls. The company develops and produces systems for greenhouse builders the world over, with offices not only in the Netherlands but also in Canada and the United States. Wherever you go in the world, people need irrigation, light, electrical engineering and automations. Their systems are installed in greenhouses growing vegetables, fruit, and flowers, offering the most food production efficiency per square metre, lower CO2 emissions, and less water consumption thanks to their water treatment equipment and filter systems. Dutch growers use only 10% of the water used by other growers by reusing drain water in closed cultivation systems. There’s a lot of progress still to be made worldwide. 

Koen Brabander is glowing with pride as he shows us around their new site. “We’re never short of clients – we’re one of the biggest and most well-known suppliers in this niche market. We haven’t even advertised in years, though actually we’ve found that not advertising comes with its own problems as people within the sector don’t know who we are. That makes it difficult to attract staff in today’s tight labour market. Since you really can’t miss this new site, though, we’re hoping that people will see it and take an interest. We’re looking for the best technicians, and when we recruit them, they’ll earn top dollar. Our production capacity could be doubled, and given current issues around global food supply and the heavy demands being placed on energy and water use, there are huge opportunities for us,” Brabander explains. 

Straightforward lighting 
From outside you can clearly see the C80 linear luminaires through the glass partitions. The outside wall is dark, contrasting with the white floors and walls inside, creating a peaceful atmosphere.

The C80 luminaires have been installed throughout the project, in office areas, the managers’ offices, the canteen, and the fitness areas. Different ceiling systems were chosen, with a slat ceiling in various shades of grey as well as a light coffered ceiling. The aim was to have the continuous lines of light visually passing through both ceilings. To this end, Glamox installed a surface mounted and a recessed version of the C80. The custom layout of the C80 luminaires was made following consultation with the architect, construction company, installer and plasterer. This luminaire is designed for this type of application Luckily, the end result is exactly what everyone hoped it would be.

Working with A&B Electrotechniek
Of course, the C80 lines are not the only luminaires installed in the site - others have also been used, carefully selected to match the design, environment, and the jobs to be done in each area. A flower garden with beautiful outdoor lighting is still being designed. A&B Electrotechniek is in charge of installing all of the light fittings. From day one, Glamox and A&B Electrotechniek have worked closely together to design a plan that works as well as possible. The lighting can be dimmed, and is operated by presence detection sensors. If you drive past the site at night, you’ll see the lines flowing gently. They dim to a very energy-efficient level to light the site up. The luminaires have been calibrated by A&B Electrotechniek in a way that allows all of the lighting to be operated from a panel in the reception area.

“A proactive partner”
A&B Electrotechniek Project Leader Mehmet Tuncer tells us: “When we chose Glamox, we were stepping away from the luminaires described in the specifications. The mean reasons we did this were: the lighting advice Glamox gave us along with the light calculations they provided, the quality and design of the luminaires, and their transparent operations. Glamox is a proactive partner, which makes them great to work with.”

Nothing has been left to chance with this site; every single feature has been designed with a brilliant workplace in mind. Socially, staff will be able to use the fitness area even during working hours, and the canteen includes entertainment such as race simulators and table football. For PB’s ambition: be the best at what we do, all of the preconditions must be met. The perfect outcome from thinking inside the box 2.0.