Profile of PER-FIL® Industries, Inc.
The Whole Story
To know and understand PER-FIL® Industries, you must first know its founder and Chairman, Horst Boellmann. Horst was raised in Germany during World War II. After surviving years of bombing raids, he and his family were forced to leave their home and travel nearly 800 miles to escape from the advancing Russian troops. There was never enough food and no real shelter. These difficult times shaped the man that Horst was to become.
When he was only 17 years old, Horst traveled to America with only the clothes on his back and a strong belief that America was the land of opportunity. He quickly got a job as an apprentice Service Technician for Perry Industries, a company that specialized in filling equipment for the pharmaceutical industry. After several years, Horst worked his way up to Plant Manager.
His belief in the “American Dream” remained strong and he was anxious for the day when he could start his own business. The opportunity came when Perry was purchased by The BEMIS Corporation. They decided to discontinue a line of auger filling equipment which they felt was unprofitable. Horst approached the owners about buying this line so that he could start his own business. Rather than sell the line, they gave the line to Horst with nothing more than a handshake, and PER-FIL® INDUSTRIES INC. was born! PER-FIL® was named by Horst’s 8 year old daughter Robyn (who later came to work for the company for many years), the name stands for PERFECT FILLING.
The first few years were very difficult for PER-FIL® with Horst and his partner working 18 hour days. They spent the days selling auger fillers and evenings designing and building. During the early years, PER-FIL® used a shotgun approach to sales; selling equipment to the Food, Pharmaceutical, Chemical and Cosmetic Industries. As the company grew, Horst realized that a targeted approach to marketing would be more successful. At Perry, he had some experience servicing equipment for filling toner at Xerox. He believed he could customize the PER-FIL® auger filler to meet the special requirements of this difficult product.
PER-FIL® began developing equipment which provided dust-free, accurate dispensing of toner without causing flakes or particles. Horst presented PER-FIL’s concept drawings and test results to Xerox. They were so impressed that they cancelled an order with a competitive auger manufacturer, to place an order with PER-FIL® for four complete packaging lines. This order changed PER-FIL’s direction and vision. From that point on, PER-FIL® concentrated on designing and manufacturing equipment for the toner industry. During the period from 1985 – 1998, PER-FIL® sales to the toner industry (OEMs and Independents) accounted for 70-90 % (depending on the year) of total filling equipment sales. With the remaining equipment being sold to Food, Pharmaceutical, Cosmetic and Chemical companies.
In 1990, PER-FIL® began working with companies in the Toner Cartridge Recycle Industry. From 1990 to 1994, PER-FIL® sold a few fillers to recyclers. Although still in its infancy, the growth potential for cartridge recycling was obvious to Horst, but he recognized that recyclers had very different needs from the OEMs. Recyclers were remanufacturing a high volume of cartridges, but the cartridges were of many different types. The recyclers needed a flexible filling system that could fill a variety of different cartridges with very little clean-up or changeover time. Many recyclers were small operations without in-house maintenance or engineering staff, so a durable, low maintenance filler was required. Additionally, many recyclers were start-up operations beginning to grow but without a lot of money to invest in capital equipment. These recyclers required a low cost filling system and flexible payment options.
Then, one night in 1994 on a flight from Texas to Philadelphia, Horst developed the concept for a small, portable auger filler specifically for the Recycle Industry. This small flexible filling system would use bulk toner in plastic bags. The operator would place the sealed bag inside the machine and it would be cut open inside the machine to eliminate airborne dust. Disassembly and reassembly of the machine would be done by turning hand knobs (rather than using tools) to make cleaning and changeover very simple and very fast. This design featured an electric box that could be easily removed from the filler and returned to the manufacturer for repair. From sketches on an airplane napkin, PER-FIL®’s Model MR-1 MICRO-RECHARGER® came to be the most widely used toner filler system in the Recycle Industry.
In 2001, PER-FIL® completed a building expansion to add more office and manufacturing space. This addition included a state-of-the-art test laboratory for filling equipment demonstrations to the pharmaceutical and bio-tech industries.
In 2002, PER-FIL® introduced the nano-Filler to meet the needs of Pharmaceutical and Bio-tech companies that needed an accurate filling system for 25 mg to 25 gr of powder, granular and paste products.
PER-FIL’s experienced engineering staff stays on the leading edge of filling and control system technology. Extensive application experience has resulted in new filler concepts, including the patented Multi-Spindle Servo Filler.
In 2014, PER-FIL® is celebrating our 40th year in business. A major part of our success is our loyal and dedicated workforce.
Employees celebrating anniversaries
with PER-FIL® this year
- Hector Santiago, 45 years (originally with our machine shop, Springside Metal Products)
- Horst Boellmann, 40 years
- Charlotte Boellmann, 40 years
- Ron Frangione, 30 years
- Shari Becker, 25 years
- Tobin Wrice, 25 years
- Gary Mucklow
- Steve Miszencin, 20 years
After 40 years in business, PER-FIL® remains a vibrant, innovative company with 25 employees in the US and equipment installations in over 90 countries.
PER-FIL’s vision for the future is to design and build innovative filling systems for the world. This equipment will combine high performance with maintenance free operation. For 2014 and beyond, PER-FIL®’s goal is to continue to innovate and provide our customers with the best filling equipment solutions and world-class customer service!