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.