I have visited a number of factories over the last 10 years since Ecoliving was founded but my recent visit to Hargassner Biomass stands out as one of the most impressive. Based in the 'golden triangle' in the west of Austria which boasts the top biomass boiler manufacturers in Europe, the company was established 30 years ago by Anton Hargassner and remains a family business today.
The company manufactures woodchip, pellet and log boilers and 90% of the boiler is produced by them. They argue that this gives them more control over quality. 8,000+ boilers are manufactured a year with 65% of production exported.
The company walks the talk too. Pictured below right is the oven where powder-coated panels are dried. The oven is heated by Hargassner woodchip boilers with a consequent running cost saving of over 47,000 Euros/year compared to oil and 38,000 compared to gas!
The level of organisation and automation is one thing but also the investment in R&D. They even make their own pellets so they can produce poor quality to see what effect this has on transportation into the boiler, burn efficiency and emissions! They also test different fuel types like miscanthus.