Interview with Miles Johnson, Head of Business Development BAMTEC.

Easy Engineering: What sectors in construction do you think will grow in 2021?

Miles Johnson: We are still in a global health crisis, without a clear end in sight. Corona had and is having tremendous impact on economies and societies in general. As always and I believe it’s a very good thing, governments are pumping billions of Euros into the construction market to stimulate the economy. In the developed western world, it was long due to start fixing the crumbling infrastructure. So, infrastructure construction will see a boost. Also, climate change and green energy obviously remains a pressing issue and everywhere massive efforts will be undertaken. The ongoing boom in digitalization and e-commerce will lead to a demand never seen before in data- and logistic centers. Only in the USA Amazon is planning to build up to 1500 distribution centers.

E.E: What solutions do you provide for these industries?

M.J: BAMTEC provides the most advanced reinforcement technology to reinforce slabs and walls – it is the fastest and most flexible solution. It is and was used on 1000s of projects over the last decades. From single family houses, commercial construction to infrastructure projects such as road construction, bridges or windmill foundations – BAMTEC can be used for all applications.

E.E: Tell us about product innovations and what is their impact on customers?

M.J: Often times we are perceived as rebar processing machinery provider. But that is not really true. The true innovation behind BAMTEC is the fact, that we are the only solution provider in the rebar sector, that combines highly automated rebar processing (together with Progress Maschinen & Automation) WITH extensive civil engineering expertise. The advantages through that process are multifaceted. Rebar fabricators can offer in their market the most advanced reinforcement solutions – tailor-made rolled up rebar carpets, feasible even for complex structures. Rebar installers benefit from significant time savings and helps to address on-going labor shortage and contractors benefit from a shorter shell construction time. Time is money.

E.E: What trends in the reinforcement steel industry are you predicting?

M.J: All studies (e.g. from McKinsey) and industrial surveys point in one direction: OFF-SITE CONSTRUCTION. Historically the construction industry lags far behind other sectors such as manufacturing or agriculture. We basically build with the same speed than in the 1940’s or 50’s. This together with an aging workforce in construction and a general shortage of skilled labors lead to higher costs and delivery delays. BAMTEC actively helps to tackle these challenges – and has a proven track record of doing so. The productivity gap creates an enormous potential for all the stakeholders willing to adapt. For the concrete construction and reinforcement steel industry that means, that the reinforcement steel won’t be delivered in bundles, cut and bent anymore. Everything that can be pre-fabricated for a concrete structure, which is most of it, will be pre-fabricated – in an industrialized environment. Those high-quality, tailor-made and pre-fabricated rebar elements are delivered and installed on site. Instead of labor-intensive and inefficient tying, workers will place these elements to the right spot and install it. With this method a rebar job can be completed in half the time with half the workforce.

Traditional concrete construction faces another challenge: the rise of timber as building material and the ever more innovative and sophisticated pre-cast industry. Traditional concrete construction is labor intensive and slow. Using new methods such as pre-fabrication solutions soon won’t be an option anymore but a necessity in order to remain competitive.

E.E: What solutions do you bring for these changing industries?

M.J: While we are still in a niche I am convinced, that the industry is shifting fast towards pre-fabrication. While automation in production has its natural limits – less than zero workers to manufacture something is not possible, and the BAMTEC Evolution machine is designed for 1-man operation, on construction site there is an amazing potential and it’s necessary to start exploiting this potential. We help the rebar fabricators with our know-how and experience from many parts of the world and we support our partners with our civil engineering expertise to introduce our solution in their market according their needs. Our clients and the clients of our clients are benefiting from that.

But we also are constantly developing new tools, that helps our partners to increase their potential or to offer even more productivity improving solutions. Together with a company specialized in lifting technology we developed for example a special hook to use BAMTEC elements for walls – BAMTEC Wall. A very tiresome and dangerous work can so be done safe and fast. Or we offer a software tool called BAMTEC RED. That increases productivity in the production, logistics and installation.

E.E: How will you adapt your solutions for the future?

M.J: We always try to stay ahead. We focus on the needs of our clients, the rebar fabricators and as important on the needs of their customers: As mentioned the modernization of the crumbling infrastructure will be a dominating issue for the years to come. So we see it as very important to give our partners the tools, so they have solutions to be able to fulfill the needs of this demands. This includes constant developments on our software BAMTEC CAD for example or on the machine. Of course, BIM (Building Information Modelling) also is going to have a more important role every year. At the center of our efforts are always the questions: What are the advantages of process optimization for rebar fabricators and what results are achieved on the construction site as a result. Streamlined or even automated planning together with a highly flexible and automated production lead to material efficiency. Something we consider generally as very important, but will be even more important in order to fight and climate change and reduce C02-emissions. On this regard BAMTEC has a proven record.

E.E: How will these solutions benefit users?

M.J: To sum it up: When it comes to reinforce slabs and walls – there is no way around BAMTEC. Thanks to our unique experience in civil engineering, our strong partnership with the leading manufacturer of rebar processing equipment we have everything covered. The needs of rebar fabricators with state-of-the art machinery, the needs of steel fixers to save a lot of time and the challenges for the concrete contractors to build faster and more efficient, both time and material related. BAMTEC creates added value on the entire value chain.

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