“It is hard to believe that it has been more than 33 years since TRACTO-TECHNIK founder Paul Schmidt assisted with the management buy-out and the formation of TRACTO-TECHNIK UK Ltd in 1982” comments David Toms, co-founder and Managing Director of TRACTO-TECHNIK UK Ltd. It was at that time that Paul spotted the potential for TRACTO-TECHNIK UK Ltd to become his international sales partner not only for the UK and Ireland, but also for the former British Commonwealth countries. Since that time TRACTO-TECHNIK UK Ltd has gone on to supply Grundomat, Grundorams, Grundodrills and Grundobursts to many faraway places. including Cyprus, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Middle East, Nigeria, Singapore and South Africa.
The TT-UK staff in the early 80‘s.
The Key to success was TRACTO-TECHNIK UK's Customer Services Division headed up by Customer Services Director Nigel Gardener, whose undoubted practical skills enabled him to evolve a group of travelling customer services engineers who could get the best out of TT’s equipment even in the most extreme environments and ground conditions on varied pipe and cable renewal/replacement projects.
With this unique product knowledge and operational experience, TRACTO-TECHNIK UK went on to pioneer the sales of TT-G products to Australia and New Zealand combined with a team of carefully selected sales agents. Some of the success in New Zealand was pioneered by the late Jack Balemi of JB Sales and who subsequently started product sales and support in Australia. On-going sales in the Antipodes led to the formation of TT-Asia Pacific in 1998. Following on from this, Paul Schmidt’s son Wolfgang Schmidt’s idea was to best take advantage of TRACTO-TECHNIK UK’s marketing, sales and demonstration engineers expertise and make TT-UK responsible for the Middle East/GCC (Gulf Co-operation Council) and even today the first Grundodrill 20S sold to TCC in Saudi Arabia some 13 years ago continues to give good service. In addition the Grundoram technology for the direct installation of steel gas and oil pipelines remains increasingly popular.
Major Joint Developments
In the mid -1980s, British Telecom approached TT-UK to produce the first Grundomat 40-45mm diameter soil displacement hammer, and the slogan ‘TT or BT it’s got to be (Grundomat)!’ was born.
This was the inception of the small Grundomat impact moles and since that time thousands have been produced, sold worldwide and are used on a daily basis. This is just one example of the tried and tested successful TT inter-company co-operation.
British Gas together with D J Ryan jointly patented the pipe cracking method and equipment which started the UK gas and water pipe on-line replacement process. Shortly after this time, TRACTO-TECHNIK UK/TT-G were approached to become the preferred equipment manufacturer and many hundreds of Grundocrack pipe-cracking hammers were supplied to contractors throughout the UK which subsequently spread throughout Europe, the USA, Japan, South America, Australia and New Zealand.
Bursting with New Ideas
Following on from the success of pipe-cracking, TRACTO-TECHNIK UK Ltd spotted the potential for static pipebursting equipment using traditional screwed rod and friction jaw technology; this was quickly followed by more co-operative innovative ideas between TRACTO-TECHNIK UK Ltd and TT-G and from valuable input from the now deceased Alfonse Hesse who helped devise the world-renowned (ladder type) Quicklock Rod Grundoburst 400 (40 tonnes) alternative which together with larger models up to the Grundoburst 2500 (250 tonnes) continue to have success world-wide.
Energy & Utility Skills (EU Skills) Recognition of Learning programme has been accredited to TRACTO-TECHNIK UK Ltd. Family-owned business TRACTO-TECHNIK UK Ltd, is the first company to receive the Recognition of Learning programme, as a service provider for Suction Excavator training.
The Recognition of Learning programme has been designed to improve the quality of training and to provide employers with information on where they can obtain accredited courses that meet their individual needs.
Gary Preston, Training Manager at TRACTO-TECHNIK UK Ltd said, "With the help of EU Skills, we have developed a bespoke training course. The Recognition of Learning programme ensures that our customers are receiving a comprehensive accredited training course. We are now striving towards all of our training programmes to be recognised and endorsed by EU Skills i.e Grundomat, Grundoburst, Grundodrill, and Grundowinch."
Increased demand led to the formation of TT-Ireland in 2002. News of the success of Trenchless Technology in the UK/Northern Ireland quickly spread to the Republic of Ireland, home to many of the major Irish contractors who operate their core construction businesses in the UK. TRACTO-TECHNIK UK Ltd then extended their after sales service and technical support to Irish customers, particularly those operating Grundodrills (20S, 15XP and 15N), Grundorams and Grundoburst where fast service and parts response times are of the essence.
Many of TRACTO-TECHNIK UK’s staff are in regular contact with their colleagues at TT-G and many have become friends, having worked in close daily liaison for over 30 years.
As well as pioneering the sales of TT-G’s products, TRACTO-TECHNIK UK Ltd has gained an insight into “minimal dig” or “No dig” applications; increasing sales by promoting other quality German-manufactured products such as Grundowinches from Bagela and the increasingly popular Suction excavation technology from RSP.