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Focus on the versatility of trenchless pipe laying techniques

26.10.18 - Executing companies in the civil engineering sector are well aware that trenchless technologies can be used to install and renew different types of pipes in an environmentally friendly and economical manner The clients and planners, however, are not as well informed about the advantages and possibilities of NODIG systems for supply and disposal. To raise awareness, TRACTO-TECHNIK Marketing has developed a complementary communication approach and launched it at this year's Hands on Days. Embraced by the term "application communication", the focus of the presentation shifts from the function of machine technology to its wide range of applications for trenchless pipeline construction. In order to specifically address clients and planners, ten application fields were defined as examples, ranging from water pipeline construction and fibre optic networking to e-mobility and the corresponding application possibilities of the NODIG technology were demonstrated using specially designed communication media.

Burkhard Rarbach, Head of Marketing at TRACTO-TECHNIK, explains the concept behind this approach, the means and targets in an interview with the editorial staff.

TRACTUELL: Mr. Rarbach, how does "application communication" differ from the previous strategy for the marketing of our NODIG systems?
B. Rarbach: Up to now, our marketing communication mainly addressed the users of machine technology, i.e. construction and drilling companies that use trenchless systems. This target group is primarily interested in the functionality and performance of the machinery. With application communication, we enter marketing one step earlier, so to speak, to show planners and clients which NODIG solutions exist. Technical details play a rather subordinate role, because here, compared to the classical open construction methods, the fundamental possibilities and advantages are in the foreground.

Tractuell: Why do you think it is necessary to address clients and planners directly and what are the contents you want to communicate?
B. Rarbach: We keep noticing that private and public utilities and waste disposal companies as well as planning engineers sometimes know little about NODIG technologies. Many people are aware that trenchless solutions actually do exist, but have no idea how to tap their actual potential. Resorting to the application communication and examples of use, we want to show them that almost any type of pipe-line can also be installed or renewed ecologically and economically without trenches.

Tractuell: To what extent do your customers, i.e. the construction and drilling contractors, benefit from the application communication?
B. Rarbach: Our overall objective is to make trenchless technologies more popular, which stands to benefit the entire civil engineering industry. Specifically, we want to raise the "trenchless" share of tenders by increasing the knowledge of possible applications on the part of clients and planners. In the long term, this will increase the number of potential contracts for users of our machine technology.

TRACTUELL: You show the trenchless solutions using specific applications as an example. Which criteria were used to select and define them?
B. Rarbach: To define the applications, we have concentrated on the current challenges in supply and disposal. Basically, this means securing the supply in view of the increasingly complex pipe-line infrastructure, but there are also other issues such as the provision of fast Internet or the energy revolution.
 
TRACTUELL: Speaking of supply guarantee, the global problem of drinking water supply comes to my mind. When I hear "fast Internet" and "energy revolution", I spontaneously think of fibre optic cabling and green electricity.
B. Rarbach: Precisely these issues are the topical challenges at present. This is why our exemplary applications include water pipe-line construction, fibre optic network expansion and the interconnection of wind farms. For the client, this raises the question of how these tasks can be solved as cost-effectively and sustainably as possible. We take up these problems and show how they can be cleverly solved thanks to the advantages of trenchless technologies.
 
TRACTUELL: Where exactly are the special advantages of the NODIG solutions and do they apply equally to all applications?
B. Rarbach: The ecological and economical advantages of trenchless methods over open construction are manifold. Valuable surfaces and resources are preserved because complex excavation and restoration work is no longer necessary, the flow of traffic is hardly hindered, emissions and the consumption of natural resources are greatly reduced and construction times are considerably shorter, thus lowering direct and indirect costs significantly. Co-benefits, so to speak, which cover the complete application range of trenchless pipe-line construction.
 
Tractuell: How do you present this multiple benefit, what is the concept of application communication based on?
B. Rarbach: Because it is our goal here to point out specific solutions, we limit ourselves to the essentials and use a powerful visual language. We list the advantages briefly and concisely and then use easy-to-understand schematic drawings to illustrate in detail how to extend the pipeline network, install house connections or renew pipelines underground. The possibilities vary depending on the application. We convey these contents cross-medially.
 
Tractuell: Cross-medial means that printed and digital media are used. Which are these exactly?
B. Rarbach: First, there is a brochure entitled "Why dig trenches when there are better solutions". In this brochure, we describe possible innovative NODIG solutions for the ten previously mentioned specific applications. The schematic drawings used there are also available as animations, to be shown on our homepage or other digital platforms, for example. In addition, all contents were rehashed in a PowerPoint presentation, which is primarily used for individual conversation between our sales staff and partners with the clients, planners and users. It has a modular structure so that each user can compile the contents for his or her presentation individually and expand them as required.
 
Tractuell: Can you illustrate the concept using a specific application as an example?
B. Rarbach: With pleasure. Let us take the broadband development. This is taking its time in many places. Although digitisation cannot work without a powerful fibre optic network. The sluggish expansion of the network is due not only to the costs of installing the lines, but also because of the time-consuming complexity of traditional civil engineering work. By contrast, the trenchless methods are basically the perfect solution here, because the glass fibre can be installed quickly and at a safe depth underground - with innovative property service connection technologies even right up to the end customer. We describe this briefly and then use the schematic illustrations to show exactly what is possible with which trenchless methods. In this case, these include parallel installations or crossings for the development of the distribution network as well as the many innovative possibilities for property service connections - keyword FTTB and FTTH. This presentation can be found in the printed application brochure as well as in digital form and is rounded up by the animated schematic drawings. In this way, we show which process and which machine can be used to carry out the application safely - thus closing the loop between supplier, planner and customer or between application and machine technology.
 
Tractuell: Rapid broadband development is actually the biggest challenge facing the telecom industry today. Are the other applications described comparably up-to-date?
B. Rarbach: Yes, we continuously address acute problems and show the trenchless solutions. In addition to fibre optic network expansion, these include water pipe-line construction, natural gas distribution networks, underground cable laying, sewerage construction, e-mobility, pipeline construction, the networking of wind farms and district heating network expansion. The advantages are weighted differently for each application. For example, safety is the top priority for natural gas and precision is crucial for wastewater pipe-line construction.
 
Tractuell: It's really amazing how versatile the NODIG technology has meanwhile become. What is the reason for this?
B. Rarbach: This is due to the constant technical development of process equipment and accessories in an innately innovative branch. This is particularly true for the people from TRACTO-TECHNIK; we always pick up current problems from the markets and develop suitable NODIG solutions to solve them. Examples of this include the many possibilities for installing property service connections underground or the trendsetting keyhole technology. Today, virtually any type of pipe installation or renewal is possible underground. And no matter what the NODIG solution actually looks like, trenchless pipe-line construction is basically more environmentally friendly, more sustainable and more economical than open construction. Interested clients and planners are welcome to contact us to find out more. Of course our customers and partners may also use the material for their marketing activities or as a reference.
 
Tractuell: Mr. Rarbach, thank you very much for this interesting conversation. We will be happy to delve further into the topic in forthcoming issues.
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