Monday, 15 October 2012

Last week the Rei-Lux team attended the Logov expo for two days in Caboolture. Hosted by Moreton Bay Regional Council in 2012, this biennial event attracts dozens of suppliers of equipment and services, all hoping to catch the eye of a potential customer.

Rei-Lux had a stall in a tent nested in between a manufacturer of plastic water tanks and supplier of pre-cast concrete stormwater drains. We had our two demonstration poles set up on temporary bases where we could demonstrate the static and dynamic pole testing procedure. We also had a small traffic signal pole bolted to a concrete base to demonstrate how the rotational dynamic movement test works.  On this one we can loosed the anchor bolts on the base plate to demonstrate the effect it has on the test results.  It’s a great way to demonstrate how we can detect even one bolt that isn’t secure.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

One thing with being in the pole testing business is that no matter where you go, you are always noticing the poles.  I noticed these ones on the weekend while down the coast.

This one has clearly been hit from several directions and propped back up each time.  A bit of gaffer tape holds the column in shape.

This second image is a slip base pole.  I'm not sure where its foundations are.  Normally the lower set of bolts emerge from a large block of concrete and steel reinforcing to which the pole is secured .  In this case, there is no concrete - or reinforcing.  The bolt on the nearest corner is just a loose bolt with a nut threaded on it - not actually part of any foundation. I'm not entirely sure what's holding this pole up.  The whole thing is rocking back and forwards in the gentle breeze and sitting at an odd angle.  You can see where a couple of washers have been used as spacers to get the column vertical. Those washers are supposed to be under the heads of the bolts on the shear join.

A short walk down the road revealed several more light poles in similar condition.  I wonder if the asset owners are even aware of the situation.  We will be letting them know about these poles, but really, what they need is a program to systematically test and prove the integrity of their infrastructure.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012


Part of rolling a new business out in different capital cities involves packing everything in the van and going for a drive.  In this case, we drove 1,700km from Brisbane to spend two weeks in Melbourne demonstrating our services to a variety of asset owners.
June is of course Winter, and we got a fair dose of it.  There were a few spots of sunshine testing light poles in a park in Fitzroy where we successfully found two or three poles that had some serious rust issues.  The beauty of our testing is that we don’t actually need to dig up the base of the pole to find a problem, but since this was a demonstration the ground was excavated so we could have a look.

We spent an evening testing poles out in Rowville.  The gale force winds made life difficult – blowing hand written notes and maps away if we let go of them just for a second. But we persevered and successfully tested twenty four poles down the centre median of a main road thanks to the help of our traffic control crew.

The next night we were in Frankston with the aim of testing poles along the Nepean Highway.  The wind had stopped, but the rain had started.  It didn’t let up all night and the Bureau of Meteorology rain radar was showing a solid blanket of rain over the city.  We still managed to test a few poles – getting ourselves soaked in the process.  With only a limited time in Melbourne there’s not a lot of choice.

The time in Melbourne was well spent.  I think we impressed a few potential clients and proved that we can work quickly and reliably detect faults.
Hopefully we will soon have a permanent presence in Melbourne

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Travelling to Germany

This is hopefully our first blog post of many where we will relate some of the stories behind setting up a new non-destructive testing business in Brisbane, Australia.

We’ve been operational for about fifteen months now, but while we are a young company in Australia, what we do isn’t new.  When I started with Rei-Lux in January 2011 I went to Germany to see how they’ve been running a pole structural testing and measuring business for something closer to fifteen years.

I flew from Brisbane to Singapore to Frankfurt to Dusseldorf and then drove to the town of Erkelenz and met up with the Rei-Lux team on a frosty January morning. The size of the operation over there was impressive. Apart from running four or five field teams out of the office, they operate a large metal workshop where they develop and build these pole testing machines from scratch.

Along one side of the warehouse sized space are poles set up for experimental purposes.  They can build light poles in different configurations and attach traffic signals.  They can simulate faults by loosening nuts and bolts and then run tests on them to see how these faults manifest themselves in the stability measurement graphs. There’s a bracket for clamping damaged streetlight poles in order to run tests.  It looks a bit like something from a James Bond movie – with cameras, lasers, computers and a variety of experiments in progress.

I only spent that first day in Erkelenz.  Early the next morning three teams of technicians jumped in vans and drove out to the town of Isselhorst, 220km North East – about 1.5 hours at 160km per hour down the autobahn – which I’ll write about next time.