Installation supervision 2020 style!

mageba’s recent introduction of remote supervision of installation – with the supervision from Europe of TENSA®POLYFLEX®ADVANCED plug-type expansion joint installation in Australia – ushers in a new era of lower costs, increased flexibility and environmental sustainability.

mageba has always strived to move with the times, harnessing the power of modern technology in every way possible to increase efficiencies and improve the functionality, durability and reliability of its products. And now we are pioneering a new approach to supervising the installation of our products once they have been delivered to site.

Installation of bearings and expansion joints in bridges and other structures requires appropriate knowledge and experience in order to ensure that these key components will perform their critical function, as designed, for the full service life expected. Many things can go wrong if even the simplest bearings or expansion joints are not installed properly – for example, if the correct pre-setting of the device at the time of installation is not ensured. For more complex components, such as mageba’s TENSA-POLYFLEX-ADVANCED PU plug-type expansion joint, expert supervision of installation is critically important.

Traditionally, mageba has made expert technicians available wherever required to supervise the proper installation of its products, but this presents a number of downsides and challenges: travel time, travel costs and hotel costs; the environmental impacts of travel to site; and lost time or re-planning costs due to programme delays on site (e.g. from bad weather). And 2020, with the difficulties of international travel due to the Covid-19 pandemic, has given us a whole new reason to offer solutions that do not require international travel.

On the one hand, mageba has tackled these challenges by expanding the company’s network of locations around the world, making “local” support much more widely available than it once was. However, even after the rapid expansion of the last decade, international travel by installation supervisors has still been required in many cases to support the employees on site and ensure an optimal installation. But not anymore, as demonstrated by mageba’s new approach to remote supervision on this pilot project. Although mageba has a subsidiary in Australia, the company’s competence centre for the TENSA-POLYFLEX-ADVANCED PU plug-type expansion joint is in Austria, on the other side of the world. In the past, the presence of an expert from Europe was always required, but the clever use of modern communications technology makes that no longer necessary. Using a head-mounted mini-tablet with video functionalities, connected to other persons as required via the Microsoft Teams communication platform, a non-specialist engineer from mageba’s office in the Sydney suburbs could efficiently oversee the installation work on site. This was made possible by the real-time video images transmitted from the local engineer’s head-mounted camera to the installation specialist in Austria, and the ability of the specialist, sitting in the office, to make drawings and other information immediately available on the user’s head-mounted screen, with voice communication possible at all times.

With the expansion joints on this project having been professionally installed, we are excited to see where the use of this technology will lead us in the years ahead. For now though, we are happy to have already made a small contribution to reducing the environmental footprint of our work, and helped reduce the installation costs of one of our clients, by giving a whole new meaning to the term Installation superVISION!

Although Austria and Australia are on opposite sides of the world, the innovative use of modern communications technology – most notably, a head-mounted audio and video device – enabled the required highly specialised supervision capabilities to be provided remotely from an office in Europe to the site in western Australia

A wearable (head-mounted) mini-tablet with video functionalities is connected to other parties as required via the Microsoft Teams communication platform

Mageba’s local engineer, wearing the communications device on his head, shows the product specialist in the office in Austria what is happening on site, and can relay instructions back to the installation team – hands-free, and therefore able to assist where required

A screenshot from the Microsoft Teams communication platform during the installation process, showing mageba’s product installation specialist in Austria (top left), the installation work on site as viewed by the local engineer’s head-mounted camera (top right), project management in mageba’s Sydney office (bottom right) and mageba’s product manager in Austria (bottom left)