TRACTO-TECHNIK looking confidently into the future after 50 successful years
As is often the case with highly successful companies, TRACTO-TECHNIK started its success story in a small rented garage in the village of Lennestadt – Saalhausen, Germany. That garage is still standing today. It all began on 14 November 1962 when 5 employees started to build pulling devices.
These devices wre designed to pull drill rods and sheet piles out of the ground. The main customer in those days was KRUPP Bautechnik in Essen.
The stable high pressure weather conditions on foundation day turned out to be a positive sign. In conjunction with the economical development all roads seemed to be leading upwards in the years that followed. Still, it was not easy in the beginning.
Wolfgang Schmidt, the son of the company founder Paul Schmidt and a company director to this day reminisced: “My father was an optimistic person and looked at things from this angle, ‘Whoever puts his head in the sand can not discover anything new’. In other words, he grabbed hold of every problem by the scruff of the neck when he believed that he could find a useful solution. Most of his results brought us forward very quickly. Our innovative strength grew through him and this is why, even nowadays, these driving factors and incentives underpin our main innovations.”
TRACTO-TECHNIK was still in its nursery years, but started to learn very quickly to stand on its own feet. The young company gained recognition and convinced clients with its competence and innovative strengths.
The company name was ‘pre-programmed’ as the first products carried the names TRACTODRILL and TRACTOMAT. TRACTOMAT won a coveted award in Brussels, ‘The Blue Band’, and is still utilised today for the pulling of guard railing rods adjacent to roads."
That was not all. A short time later KRUPP presented a development consignment to TRACTO-TECHNIK for a hydraulically driven ramming device. The professional knowledge in the field of hydraulics was obtained by Paul Schmidt and his colleagues at an evening school in Siegen. Afterwards they searched in vain for a machine for the handling of hydraulic tubes. This included cutting lengths, deburring, bending and the pre-assembly of cutter rings. In the end Paul Schmidt looked at this decided: “If there is no such thing, then we will invent the machine."
That was the birth of TUBOMAT and a new string to the company’s bow. Thereafter, interest from screwing manufacturers did not take long to grow.
Up until the beginning of the 1980's the company’s distributor was the Kracht company from Werdohl. Then TRACTO-TECHNIK took over the distribution of its products on its own account.
The item TRACTO-TECHNIK are happy about is the multiple thousand-fold proven TUBOMAT which, with small technical improvements to its original form, is still being used as the yardstick with regards to hydraulic tubing and therefore still retains its degree of esteem.
40 years after the arrival of the first TUBOMAT the business area concerned with pipe forming technology now develops and produces safe solutions all around the tube package. This includes innovative machines and precise measuring technologies, as well as intelligent software solutions. The latest highlight is a fully electric right-left pipe bending machine fitted with 15 servo-axials, which can produce highly complex pipe figures within seconds.
Only 5 years after founding the company it was time to move into a newly built factory. It was decided to stay in Saalhausen, due to the low cost property available and also because the personnel lived there. The main factor was ‘feeling at home there’.
A small incident, in 1970, lead to a radical upheaval in the company’s product politics. A fresh tarmac road in front of the Schmidt’s house had to be disrupted once again after only a few days in order to install a water pipeline. This gave Paul Schmidt another clever idea.
The GRUNDOMAT soil displacement hammer was born and this was the start of many innovative developments for the trenchless pipe installation sector. This was just the start of a triumphant succession of innovation from the company.
As a world market leader, GRUNDOMAT soil displacement hammers are now ‘Global Players2, as they are applied on a daily basis all around the world. For trenchless installation technology, the ‘mole’ has become a strong symbol. It has become the marketing sign of an industry that has won the trust and regards of the company’s customers.
Currently, more than 350 patents secure the company’s research and product developments. This has turned TRACTO-TECHNIK into a pacemaker and pioneer. TIMI (TRACTO IDEAS MAKE INNOVATIONS) makes sure that the innovation processes at TRACTO-TECHNIK have a true structure. The Avia Award given to the company by the economical examining engineers at DELOITTE had lots of praise for this ethos.
The broad-mindedness and enthusiasm at TRACTO-TECHNIK for technology has provided numerous new developments. These have also brought a large number of awards and tributes.
The company’s steered bore technology has been especially fascinating. The tasks and requirements were diverse and led the way to the level of technology available today. They were true pioneering achievements. New ideas have always been taken on the board – arising particularly from daily practical experiences – which were converted into this relatively young technology under the motto: ‘Good is good but Better is best’.
The company Beerman from Hörstel-Riesenbeck is currently working with 20 GRUNDODRILL bore rigs. The company owner Ewald Beerman has come to a positive conclusion: “Due to the collective experiences we have gained from each other over the years, we hold TRACTO-TECHNIK in high esteem, especially as they are always ready to listen to the challenges of the market, also for their innovative performances, as well as their reliability.”
The latest product is a bore rig for the installation of house connections, which is applied using a so-called ‘keyhole’ excavation with a diameter of only 650 mm.
A further centre of focus is the underground renewal of pipes with the GRUNDOBURST technology. Service and sewage pipes in need of renewal are replaced in the same bore path by pipes of the same size or even larger pipes with the relevant hydraulic capacity to provide a new effective service life for decades to come. The chief aspect in the success of this system is the patented QuickLock bursting rod, which is not screwed into place, but is simply latched into place on the previous rod.
The product has been constantly adapted to meet industry requirements with modern CNC manufacturing technology. The aim has always been to increase productivity, but based particularly on having a solid underlying quality for highly reliable and long service life products.
TRACTO-TECHNIK has over 500 employees world-wide. They are down to earth and reliable people. TRACTO-TECHNIK knows that only satisfied and competent employees are also able to keep the customers satisfied. There is a very strong bond between the employees and the company. Some 85 employees have been at TRACTO-TECHNIK since the beginning of their apprenticeships with some of them having spent all their working years with the company.
In the 1980’s the company’s growth started to accelerate and it started to spread out all over the globe, first of all in the UK, then in France, USA and Australia. The TT export department and the sister companies take care of and support more than 60 partners all over the world.
In Germany the service in all regions is covered by the home-based plants and many subsidiaries.
At the turn of the century the internet started to gain more acceptance and became a powerful instrument for increasing publicity and the development of national and international networks.
TRACTO-TECHNIK has got clear eco-political targets, which are thoroughly and constantly encouraged, as well as an environmentally-friendly machine technology and also numerous ecological projects. In the meantime the Germany’s nature protection board (NABU) has implemented trenchless pipe installation methods into its general directives.
In 2007, GRD bore technology was developed for an efficient exploitation of geothermal energy. Bores are carried out from a plastic manhole in all directions (360°) and inclinations (30°-65°). The compact bore rig is applicable to site even on the tightest of premises and hardly causes any surface damage. TRACTO-TECHNIK leads by example and successfully applies geothermal heat at its operating plants.
Continuity and stability have always been benchmarks in the company’s policy. Company directors Timotheus Hofmeister and Meinolf Rameil like to state this more precisely: “Our aim is for endurable and profitable growth. To do this we need products in line with the market and a powerful distribution force with a clear strategic alignment. We can only achieve this as a team.”
The challenges of the future are seen by TRACTO-TECHNIK as a need for modern and safe supply and disposal in the energy and communication field, where technologies and methods of trenchless pipe installation can contribute substantially.