Vanderlande Industries will officially celebrate its 60th anniversary on 1 May.

Since its start as Machinefabriek E van der Lande in the Dutch town of Veghel in 1949, the company has grown into one of the world’s market leaders in the automated material-handling industry, with more than €600 million in turnover and 2,000 employees.

In 1949 Vanderlande Industries started as a general machinery and construction company in small business premises on the Veghel Canal, producing hoisting equipment, cranes and conveyor belts for various purposes, including the unloading of coal barges.

In the 1960s the company entered into a joint venture with US company Rapistan, and Vanderlande was licensed for their material-handling technology. This marked the company’s entry into what is now referred to as the market for “automated material handling systems”.

In the subsequent period the company, now called Rapistan Lande, expanded its activities with offices in several other European countries. At the same time the company changed its focus from being a product supplier to a systems supplier.

After Rapistan in the US had undergone several consecutive takeovers by investment companies, the management of Rapistan Lande decided on a management buy-out in 1988. NPM Capital, ABN AMRO and private investors joined forces with the management and employees to purchase all the shares. After this change of ownership, the name was changed to Vanderlande Industries in 1989.

This was the start of a period of strong growth and further internationalisation of the company. The first steps outside Europe were taken in the Far East and the US, and the delivery of systems was expanded with the delivery of the relevant IT.

Vanderlande also became a systems integrator. In addition to the IT component, project management, innovation, engineering and the international supply chain were greatly expanded. In line with this strategic direction, German software company GamBit was taken over in 1997. Turnover tripled in this period and the number of employees grew from 400 to 800.

The international outreach has been strengthened further in the past ten years and Vanderlande now has its own companies in many European countries, the US, China and South Africa. NPM is still a shareholder, with an 85% share since early 2009. Vanderlande is now active all over the world and has become a major supplier of automated material-handling systems and the corresponding support services.

Vanderlande is the global market leader for baggage handling systems at airports and for sorting centres for express parcel services and is a top-five distribution centre automation supplier. Turnover has again tripled in the past ten years to more than €600 million and the company now employs 2,000 staff, half of whom work in the Netherlands.