SpektrumBau 2019: on to new successes

This unique invention has been a constant feature of Spektrum Bau in recent years, from the northern bypass in Zurich to large-scale constructions by Galliker Transport AG. The same picture emerged everywhere: BREXTOR impressed its users again and again. Alois Portmann’s invention has already won several prizes and international distribution is already in the final planning phase. In this interview, we talk about the challenges of global sales, initial customer feedback and Bauma Munich.

Alois Portmann inventor of Brextor

Interview with Alois Portmann Managing Director BauPers GmbH

BREXTOR was awarded the special prize for internationalisation at the Swiss Innovation Challenge at the end of last year. What does this award mean to you?

For me, this is a very valuable honour, because it proves that BREXTOR has great international potential. Now we have to realise this potential with all our might. Overall, we also came 6th in the Swiss Innovation Challenge. This also fills me with pride, because to be in the top 10 of over 120 projects submitted is a great achievement.

Speaking of BREXTOR: How did you come up with this name? Does it have a special meaning?

The name came about during a brainstorming session within our team. The specifications on our part were clear: the name should be short and concise. In the end, we ended up with the name BREXTOR, and this was obviously a good decision, because the feedback, especially from overseas, has been very positive. One advantage, of course, is that the name can be pronounced by everyone, whether English-speaking people or Asians. This helps us to market BREXTOR internationally as a strong brand.

Pile Breaking with Brextor

At the time of our last interview, production of BREXTOR had just started. How has production levelled off after a few months?

We have now taken a big step forward. We recently decided to set up a new company called BRC Engineering AG for production. To be able to face the international market, we urgently need new people, because as a small company we have neither the manpower nor the knowledge to operate internationally. The Swiss Innovation Award has just shown that our international product has huge potential, so we hope that we will get everything up and running with the new people and investors. I am pleased to say that Prof Dr Reineke will be taking a seat on the Board of Directors of BRC Engineering AG.. His contacts, especially in the Asian region, have already enabled us to do our first business and we are building on his knowledge and network. Incidentally, the existing BRC will continue to focus on the Swiss distribution of our products, above all BREXTOR, of course.

As already known, you were able to sell BREXTOR to a number of construction companies. How important will the rental business be?

The rental business will always be part of our concept, especially as supplementary material for a small number of piles to be processed. At this stage, however, the rental business only makes sense if the user already knows the basic technology, i.e. how to operate the appliance. This may of course change in 10 years’ time, once this technology has hopefully become established, but as things stand today, BREXTOR in particular is not a typical rental component that can be operated by every construction worker.

BRC pile head crusher

The first series-produced BREXTORs have now been in use for several months. How is the customer feedback?

The feedback has been positive across the board, everything has worked smoothly so far. Some well-known construction sites have already been processed. What has become clear so far is that user training is the be-all and end-all. Well-trained people can clearly work at a higher speed and are therefore more efficient than those who think that BREXTOR is similar to a hydraulic hammer.
I would like to emphasise in this context: We owe it to the construction industry and our clients to deliver a quality product that performs top-quality work. I also appeal here to the construction companies, which have a certain responsibility towards the clients. All too often I have seen damaged pile heads, which can massively shorten the life of a building, but the damage only appears years after completion, which is particularly perfidious. Thanks to our invention, every construction company can complete this important work cleanly and correctly with a clear conscience, without causing long-term damage.

So you offer this training for BREXTOR? How does this work?

Pile breaking with a pile breaker

We offer basic training as soon as a BREXTOR is sold. In the meantime, it has become clear that it makes sense to form a core team for each venture, which receives specific training from us. This core team then supervises the various construction sites in the initial phase and will of course continue to receive support from us, especially for projects that are difficult to manage. Customers can rest assured that we will not let anyone down who has decided in favour of a BREXTOR. For our international customers, we will also be training staff here in Switzerland so that they can be looked after locally by local people.

The journey now continues for you at Bauma Munich, the largest construction machinery trade fair in the world. What do you hope to gain from this international appearance?

Of course, we have high hopes for this, but we also have to take it one step at a time. As already mentioned, the market potential is enormous, piles are installed all over the world, and as no other method apart from painstaking manual labour can guarantee that the pile will remain intact, we believe we have very good chances on the international market. We are represented on the Kinshofer stand at Bauma. The Kinshofer product manager and 1-2 BRC employees will be available to provide information about Brextor to anyone interested. Of course, it is particularly attractive for us that Bauma is the place where we have the opportunity to draw international attention to ourselves. ▼

pile breaking of tangent pile walls

Original pressreport in German

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