In 2012, Perten Instruments celebrated its 50th anniversary, a proud history that started with commercialization of the Falling Number Method - an indicator of sprout damage in grain. The late Harald Perten, the son of a baker and a trained cereal chemist, co-developed the Falling Number Method and founded the company in 1962. Falling Number became an international standard and served as the foundation for this rapidly growing grain analysis company. In 1981, Perten released one of the first commercially available near-infrared (NIR) instruments designed specifically for grain traders. These innovations have been followed by gluten analyzers, single kernel measurements systems, diode array base NIR instruments, and in-process grain analyzers – to name but a few.
Harald Perten’s vision was to help customers improve their product quality by providing them with analytical methods that are fast, accurate, affordable, and easy to use and interpret. That’s still a core value today. The company was family owned until four years ago. Jan Perten, one of the founder’s sons, is still a major shareholder and serves on its Board of Directors.
Perten has fostered close relationships with universities, institutes, and official agencies. Perten has worked closely with the USDA on many projects including the development of the Single Kernel Characterization System (SKCS) and single kernel NIR instruments. In 2005, Perten introduced the first grain moisture tester based on the USDA’s research into higher frequency radio waves and the development of the Unified Grain Moisture Algorithm (UGMA) – nearly five years prior to any other company. A collaborative project including the USDA, Perten, and several universities is underway to develop a rapid screening test for wheat that will provide greater knowledge of functionality at the elevator level.
While Perten has been a global company for some time (currently active in 110 countries), its success has always been predicated on local presence and support. Perten provides customer training classes for its products at its Springfield, Illinois headquarters. Application development and support is handled by our group of highly skilled application scientists. Service for the Americas is also managed from Springfield - both on-site and in-house support. Additionally, a Springfield engineering staff serves as a conduit between customers and Perten’s R&D department allowing for development of customized solutions when required.
Service, Simplicity, and Speed
“One thing that sets us apart is the support we provide to our customers,” says Wes Shadow – Business Development Manager for Perten. “We take it to the next level by employing more application specialists than we do sales people. We are always as focused on the ‘after sales’ as the ‘initial sales’. We understand the importance of making sure customers know exactly how to use our instruments and therefore achieve the greatest benefit. We view support services as important as our instrumentation itself. We seek partners and distributors with this same philosophy. They are required to attend factory training on all products that they sell and support.
“We also understand the importance of making instrumentation that is easy to use and provides results that are easy to interpret. Removing operator error and confusion is very important and a key component of design criteria.
“Speed of analysis, without forgoing accuracy is another focal point. We pride ourselves on making instruments that provide the fastest results possible. Essentially, we can provide results quickly enough to allow customers to make real-time decisions. This is particularly necessary for the high-paced, high stress grain trade. We know elevators and agencies need accurate, reliable results immediately.”
Late last year Perten Instruments received NTEP certification for its IM 9500 whole grain NIR instrument. “We are pleased to be able to give customers a choice in both grain moisture meters and NIR for moisture, protein, oil, and test weight – among others. We are competing in this market with our product’s improved capabilities and our superior support,” says Shadow.
“Most of our product development is driven by working to meet the needs of co-operating customers. Wherever you find us, our highly-qualified people will be working with customers to help them accurately measure and interpret data from their grain operations, and then use that information to capture the most value for their business. Greater automation and integration of our instruments and the data they produce is our collective future.”