SpektrumBau 2021: New challenges in international sales

Brextor should already be well known to you, dear readers, as we have written several times about this unique machine for pile breaking. The goals for Alois Portmann, CEO & owner of BRC, have always been clear in the past: Brextor should become a major international success. In this interview, we talk about the extremely difficult opportunities for international marketing of Brextor due to the corona crisis, the future prospects and, last but not least, the opportunities for interested customers to experience Brextor live, even in these difficult times.

Pile breaking of a 2 Meter pile

Interview with Alois Portmann, CEO & owner of BRC and inventor of the Brextor


The COVID19 crisis has not spared the construction industry either. What impact did the exceptional situation have on the production and distribution of the Brextor?

To be honest, I didn’t think we would feel the effects of COVID19 restrictions so strongly. However, as a construction service provider and subcontractor, we were the first to have to stay at home when the restrictions on the construction sites began. This situation lasted until around the end of June, beginning of July 2020 and we now have a pretty good level of capacity again at the Brextor construction sites in Switzerland, despite the second lockdown. I suspect that there is now some catching up to do at the construction sites, which is why work is being intensified again. What also makes me very happy is that, despite the difficult circumstances, other large companies such as HASTAG, Aregger and Marti Construction have also adopted Brextor technology and are now using it in Switzerland.

Alois Portmann

You have contacts all over the world. Do you sense a hardening or change in sales conditions in the international environment?

International marketing came to an extreme standstill, mainly due to the restrictions on flight movements. In other words, we can no longer travel to customers and customers can no longer travel to us, even though demand remains high. Nevertheless, we have been pleased to see in recent weeks that our activities on social media platforms such as LinkedIn are starting to bear fruit. This is reflected in the fact that we have enquiries from Germany, Austria and Denmark, which may even be concluded without excessive travelling, which makes me personally very happy.

secant pile wall

The two Swiss construction machinery trade fairs in 2021 were recently cancelled. Where can potential buyers view Brextor?

Brextor is currently being used on at least six to seven construction sites in Switzerland. Interested parties are welcome to contact us and we will organise a local appointment at one of these construction sites so that they can experience Brextor in action. Of course, you can also visit our production facilities at any time. In the medium term, we would like to concentrate on the BAUMA construction trade fair in Munich, which we hope will take place again next year. We are currently planning to demonstrate Brextor Live on our own stand, and discussions are currently underway.

In our last interview, we talked about Brextor’s huge international potential. In our last interview, we talked about Brextor’s huge international potential. Could this be utilised? What about international sales?

In fact, international sales have of course not developed according to our wishes. Nevertheless, despite the difficulties already mentioned, we were able to maintain a high level of interest. In the meantime, we have also attracted the attention of some manufacturers of competing products who have realised that their products do not have the same potential as Brextor. Initial talks are underway to bring our technology to these manufacturers.

One of BRC’s aims was to keep the added value in Switzerland. Have you succeeded in this endeavour after several years of production?

So far, it has actually been possible to keep the added value in Switzerland. However, if we succeed in supplying the international market, we must be realistic and recognise that we will not be able to keep all of our production in Switzerland. From a purely ecological and economic point of view, it makes no sense to produce a machine in Switzerland and then transport it overseas by container ship when we could outsource production there.

The Brextor was recently used on a gigantic pile with a diameter of 2 metres. Do you expect to see more of these unusually large diameters in the future?

2 metres may sound gigantic at first glance, but pile diameters of 3 metres are also used in Asia. Brextor can also handle these dimensions without any problems, provided that the excavators are adapted accordingly. Our technology really comes into its own with large diameters. In fact, you could say that the larger the diameter, the more the properties of the Brextor come into their own, which of course also apply to the smallest diameters.

tangent pile wall

Like other products, Brextor is constantly being improved. How does customer feedback flow into your future design changes?

The biggest advantage in this area is that we are also Brextor users ourselves; our subsidiary uses the technology directly on the construction site, which is why we are already receiving a lot of feedback in-house. However, we are also very happy to receive customer feedback. Eberhard Bau AG, for example, uses Brextor very intensively on its construction sites, which is why we also listen very carefully there and take the concerns of users very seriously. This is how the Brextor continues to develop.

Brextor is legally protected worldwide by various patents. Has this protection so far been able to prevent illegal imitations?

The entire working process of Brextor has been patented and can be easily documented by us should imitations come onto the market. So far, however, we have not seen anything like this and I am pretty sure that no comparable products will appear during the patent protection period.

Pile cutter

Two years ago, we talked about possible production bottlenecks that could occur with Brextor. How long is the waiting time from ordering to delivery of Brextor?

Due to the delayed market entry abroad, we do not yet have any production bottlenecks. During the pandemic, we have not sent our production staff home, but have produced various parts for the warehouse, which will take some of the pressure off us in future. We can currently deliver standard sizes within three weeks of receiving an order.

What are your wishes for the BRC and Brextor in 2021?

I am very confident that we will be able to take the next steps forward this year. Our greatest wish is that we can get the pandemic under control and finally get back to normal socialising without having to worry about our own health. The rest will follow, because I am convinced that the Brextor technology will prevail, I have not the slightest doubt about that. Implementing this is a tough and exciting task, but we have recruited some top people who are actively supporting us in this area, which is why I am fundamentally very positive about 2021.

Original press release in German.

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