Slavomir Matiasko works as Product Manager for Precast Frame Connections in Slovakia. We asked him what the best thing about bolted column connections is, what their future holds and why he likes working at Peikko.
Good opportunities with Peikko
I joined Peikko more than 10 years ago, and I’m really happy that I did. Back then, I was studying composite structures I noticed that there was an opportunity to join Peikko as an R&D Engineer. Conveniently, the position was also in Bratislava, where I was studying. Peikko looked like a dynamic and exciting company, and the products they were working with were closely related to what I was studying. It seemed like a very good fit for me, so I applied for the position and got it. And since then I have always been part of the connections team.
Bringing bolted column connections to Slovakia
Bolted column connections aren’t yet widely used here in the Slovakian market. They are still seen as something new, compared to the Nordic countries. I’d say that the market situation here is similar to other countries in mid-Europe, and even where there are precast factories, they still often use traditional connections.
The situation has improved recently but long traditions are difficult to change – that’s just part of the fight. At the moment, bolted column connections are still new to them. They don’t want to change and this makes them hesitant when something new does come along. But I can see the same thing in myself. For example, I kept using button phones for a long time before changing to a touchscreen one. But then I saw the benefit and never went back. It will be the same thing with bolted column connections. When people see the benefits, they will change too. They just don’t know it yet.
Moving in a positive direction
Here in Slovakia, I can see that precast elements are becoming more popular in more segments. This is because precast elements and bolted connections offer better quality and faster assembly, and less manpower needed on site. However, there are still strong traditions, so we still need to demonstrate to customers that it is worth using bolted connections. We have to show that they give them something more than the traditional methods.
As a result, there are still plenty of opportunities for us in Slovakia. Customers are beginning to change their minds in a positive direction, and bolted column connections and Peikko products are becoming better known and more and more popular.
Demonstrate the benefits of going bolted
The best way to convince people about bolted column connections is to demonstrate the benefits in practice. One really good example is a football stadium project that Peikko was part of. To begin with, most of the work on site was done in the traditional way, and Peikko bolted column connection were only being used in a few areas. However, when the customer saw our bolted column connections being used in real life, and how it let them assemble the precast columns really quickly and easily during the project, they were able to see the big advantages they offered. After that they decided to use precast and bolted column connections in the next phase of construction, as well. In fact, the customer told me, “We will go bolted only next time, we’ll never go back.”
The customer told me, “We will go bolted only next time, we’ll never go back.”
Better air quality with precast construction
Assembling precast elements with bolted column connections can also have other benefits. As we know, they make it faster, safer and more efficient to assemble buildings than traditional methods. However, they can also help customers to minimise air pollution.
This was really well demonstrated at a large event in Asia with a lot of business people taking part. Because air quality was a serious issue there, the city put a lot of restrictions in place before and during the event to minimise air pollution as much as possible. This meant that all casting work was stopped in the city – traditional casting work can cause a lot of air pollution, like dust and exhaust gasses from traffic. However, because working with precast elements has a much, much smaller effect on air quality, construction using precast elements was still permitted. This is a nice example of how precast can be better in an environmental way.
The best thing about bolted column connections
What’s the best thing about bolted column connections? It’s simple, they are bolted. This simple fact brings a lot of benefits. Every handyman at home is comfortable using bolts, they know how to use them. It’s the same on a construction site, everybody knows how to use them so everyone can make a bolted connection. But if you need to weld connections you need special equipment and quality control.
In the longer term, connections with bolts are also demountable, which enables precast elements to be reused, contributing to sustainability and circularity.
A good team spirit leads to great ideas
At Peikko, we keep working to improve our products and solutions. We listen to our customers, about what they prefer and need – this is essential for developing new products, as well as small refinements. Now, there is also more competition in the market than in the past, and I think this is a healthy thing because it motivates us to develop and improve. When we develop our products we do a lot of testing so we know how they behave, and not just for single bolts but for the full assembly, as well, so the whole solution will be covered by the ETA assessment.
There’s a good environment here in Peikko and we have great team spirit. We can discuss things openly with colleagues – anybody can raise an idea. When it comes to product development, you can get an idea from anywhere, and some of the best outcomes happen over coffee. We also have a system for collecting ideas where we evaluate them and give feedback. And we do develop some of these ideas further.
The bolted future is bright
I think the future looks bright. We have an excellent product portfolio and I like the positive approach in Peikko. For example, it was really nice to see how we reacted and managed as a company at start of 2020 with the COVID pandemic. We were able to cooperate and take responsibility even remotely and from home.
I’m proud to be part of Peikko. There are many things satisfied with, including how we support and help our customers, and the success of the BOLDA® launch.
Another positive thing for the future is that Peikko is working on making construction more sustainable by increasing the circularity of precast elements. When you think about it, bolted column connections are designed with both assembly and disassembly in mind. They make reusing precast elements much easier. The construction industry has a big environmental footprint, so I’m pleased that Peikko is trying to make a positive impact. As a company, we really are trying to improve things in a greener direction.
Read the earlier stories:
My Bolted Story: Linas Lelešius
My Bolted Story: Thorsten Heskamp
My bolted story: Topi Laiho
My bolted story: Petri Suur-Askola
My bolted story: Raimo Lehtinen
My bolted story: Jorma Kinnunen
My bolted story: Adrián Liste
Want to know more about our 30th anniversary of Bolted Column Connections?
Visit our campaign site here.