Optimum strengthens its presence in the non-food market

Just four years after it was founded, Optimum has established a reputation for engineering and service excellence, specializing in the field of optical sorting. While so far it has mainly focused on the food market, the company is now set to bolster its position in the non-food sector. With the appointment of Lars Janssens as Global Sales Manager Non-Food, the company has brought in the right man for the job.

Natural move

The non-food sector includes applications such as insects, pet food, tobacco, virgin plastic, recyclable materials, wood chips, other raw materials, etc. The company’s VENTUS free-fall laser sorter and the NOVUS three-in-one belt sorter equipped with camera, laser, and metal detection technology were initially developed for food sorting, but they have already demonstrated their potential in several non-food applications. These two platforms will therefore enable Optimum to hit the ground running in anticipation of the development of other product-specific solutions.

Given the background and experience of the company’s founders, innovation pioneers in the sorting industry, the move into non-food is a natural progression. Moreover, prior to its acquisition by Optimum, Dutch sorting systems specialist Concept Engineers had already developed and marketed a sorting solution for non-food applications. Also, Optimum’s test and demonstration centers have been equipped to accommodate specific non-food applications and a dedicated team of engineers and other experts has been set up to ensure operational excellence, ongoing innovation, and superior customer service.

Coming home

Lars Janssens is the latest addition to this team. He joins Optimum after a 10-year career in aviation followed by an equally long passage at a sorting specialist in the Louvain region, where he was in charge of the tobacco sector, first as Area Sales Manager EMEA & CIS, before progressing to Global Market Manager Tobacco, a role in which he was responsible for strategy, business development, sales, and key account management. At Optimum he will be tasked with developing and supporting the company’s presence in the non-food market.

Asked why he decided to come to Optimum, Lars Janssens answers: “Its mission struck a chord, really. This company wants to be a market leader, not necessarily in terms of size, but first and foremost in terms of sorting performance, service, and customer satisfaction. By continually investing in innovation, technology and people, Optimum manages to achieve this. I was impressed by the expertise and enthusiasm of the team and their unbridled commitment to tackle each and every challenge, no matter how difficult it seems. I am extremely solution-oriented myself and I like thinking outside the box. So, starting at Optimum felt like coming home. I look forward to contributing to the next chapter.”

Focus and diversification

The next non-food application to be launched will be a tobacco sorting solution. Optimum aims to support all sorting steps of the tobacco production process, from farmer to finished product. However, the range of non-food applications will be expanded over time to meet market demand.

“Focus is important, but so is diversification”, says Steve Raskin, Founding Partner and Chief Sales Officer at Optimum. “We want to diversify into different markets. Having successfully launched several sorting platforms for a wide range of food applications, now is the time to further expand our reach into the non-food sector, providing customers with innovative, high-performing solutions and dedicated service. Lars’ experience will undoubtedly prove extremely valuable.”