Canadian Biomass Magazine

35 years strong

November 22, 2016
By Dan Shell Hatton-Brown Publishers

Celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2016, major grinder and pulpwood biomass processing machine supplier Peterson is continuing to expand its facility while fostering the ongoing development of new machines and machine innovations.

Peterson started out as Wilber Peterson & Sons in Springfield Celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2016

The company has grown from regional equipment innovator to national and now international major player in the chipping and grinding equipment market. In its fourth decade of business, Peterson continues to expand and develop new business, says marketing manager Michael Spreadbury.

Peterson started out as Wilber Peterson & Sons in Springfield, Ore., a heavy construction outfit founded in 1961 by Wilber Peterson, whose son, Neil, inherited his fathers desire to innovate and develop more efficient and productive ways of operating with different types of equipment and innovations.

The company had opened a satellite chip mill in the late 1970s, and the Petersons were soon working on ways to produce cleaner, higher-quality chips. They eventually came up with a chain flail delimber design. Peterson Pacific was formed in 1981 to produce the machines, which gained a loyal following of chip producers.

Founder Neil Peterson worked with paper companies such as Longview Fibre, Union Camp and Scott Paper in demoing the delimber, making multiple trips “back east” to show off the new machine. In 1986 Peterson introduced the 4800 delimber/debarker, followed in 1989 by the Model DDC 5000, which added chipping and made the 5000 an all-in-one machine. Peterson made its first wood waste recycling grinder in 1990, leading to its successful line of horizontal feed wood grinders in use around the world.

As demand for its products gained momentum, the company expanded, building a 60,000 sq. ft. plant in 1993 at its current location in northwest Eugene, Ore. and in 2000 expanded again by adding another 50,000 sq. ft. to the manufacturing facility.

In 2001 Peterson diversified into a new product when it acquired the manufacturing rights to BloTech blower trucks. The move into the erosion control and commercial landscaping industries complements Peterson’s grinding machines that produce the mulch used in such applications.

Another big milestone came in 2007, when Peterson was acquired by Astec Industries.

Spreadbury notes that one of the first things Astec Industries did after acquiring Peterson was make a major $1 million investment in the machine shop. And in the years since, when Peterson has asked for capital investments Astec has stepped up as long as the company is showing progress and a solid plan for the future.

Peterson has moved over the years to bring more of its manufacturing and fabrication activities in-house, to where 98% of all Peterson products are produced and fabricated at the Eugene plant. There, the company operates with more than 110,000 sq. ft. of modern manufacturing space.

And most recently, Astec invested by buying the property next door to the Eugene facility, doubling Petersons footprint, and paving the way for future expansion. Though the work will be done in stages, there are already plans to double the fabrication shop’s size.

Full service solutions
Another big development for Peterson is the addition of the Telestack line of bulk material handling products and telescoping portable radial stackers, a nice complement to Peterson’s chipping and grinding equipment. An Astec Industries sister company, Telestack specializes in handling free-flowing bulk materials of all types, from ores, coal and aggregates to wood chips, pellets, grains and more. The stacking conveyors will be branded as Peterson products and sold and serviced through Peterson’s dealer network in North America.

“Peterson is now well placed to offer full service solutions for composting and mulching operations that need grinding, screening, and conveying products” says Spreadbury.  “This is a very exciting time for us as we continue to flush out our catalog of full-service solutions in stationary electric or diesel machines, and are now a one-stop-shop for businesses looking for reduction and sorting services.”



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