In hydrodemolition and concrete refurbishment the concept of robotic water cutting technology has around for a while, but it has only started to accelerate relatively recently.
That’s the view of Roger Simonsson, chief executive officer (CEO) of Swedish hydrotechnology specialist Aquajet Systems.
Roger, appointed earlier this year after being a director of Aquajet for two years before that, says that European sales for the company’s robot water cutters have doubled since the start of 2015.
“There has been a huge and very sudden in increase in awareness and demand,” he said.
“In fact, in the past six months, the demand has actually tripled, but if we take our figures across the entire year then certainly European sales have doubled.
“Safety is one of the main issues. New regulations in Europe now mean severe penalties for transgressors. For a company calculating the cost of possible injury to personnel, the investment in robot technology can mean all the difference to its profitability, and even survival,” said Roger.
“Efficiency is another main issue,” he added.
“Investment in robotics, as in so many other sectors, can totally transform how quickly and efficiently a company does a job.
“This in turn enhances the image of the company, and its marketability.”
Outside Europe, parts of Asia are also beginning to appreciate the advantages of hydrodemolition robots.
Hong Kong and Singapore are the continent’s leaders in terms of purchasing Aquajet units, with efficiency, manpower reduction and safety driving both markets.
“Actual sales are still modest in Hong Kong and Singapore, but we are now seeing companies there drawing up their budgets for next year, and factoring in the purchase of this kind of equipment.”
“Australia is also proving to be a good market for us, with outstanding potential.
“The only market for us that is not yet changing is the United States, which tends to have its own established practices – but our understanding is that this will change.
“Canada however has far more of a European attitude and is another area of great potential.”
Aquajet believes the new generation of company owners and CEOs is helping to drive the market, as the younger executives have grown up with the concept of remote control technology.
“Younger entrepreneurs and managers understand instinctively the safety and the quality aspects,” said Roger.
To deal with the huge upsurge in demand, Aquajet has refreshed its own corporate structure to make it more flexible and responsive to market demands.
The distributorship network is being reorganised, with low-performing dealers released and the relationship with successful dealers being enhanced to partnership status.
Aquajet’s website, which has previously focused on practical aspects of the technology, is also being revamped to bring the names of the distributors to more prominence.