Thorsten Heskamp, Customer Engineer, joined Peikko in 2005. Located in Germany, he supports customers and finds the best solutions for their needs. We asked him to tell us more about the successes of bolted column connections in the German market.
Successful in Germany
My background is in the construction industry and I finished my studies in Civil Engineering in Münster in Germany, back in 1997. In 2000, I started working at a precasting company and this included some work in their technical office. This is where I first came across Peikko’s bolted column connections and it’s where I first saw precast factories using Peikko products.
In 2005, after 5 years working at various precasting companies I found my way to Peikko here in Germany. Now, as a Customer Engineer, I design column connections and make proposals, and consult with our customers to help them find the best solutions.
Championship level connections
Here in Germany, many of our biggest projects have been football stadiums. Even back in 2000, before I joined them, Peikko was already working on these kinds of projects. In the past 17 years, our bolted column connections have been selected for over twenty stadiums, for teams in the first to fourth divisions. For example, we delivered anchor bolts and column shoes for Cologne football stadium, as well as for the Borussia-Park stadium in Mönchengladbach. And Peikko products were also used in the recently completed stadium in Freiburg.
“In the past 17 years, Peikko bolted column connections have been selected for more than twenty football stadiums.”
Providing international support
I am based in Germany and one of the things I like about working for Peikko is that I get a different point of view, because they are a Finnish company. We offer solutions like bolted column connections and DELTABEAM® that are different to the traditional ones used in Germany. I like that. I also like I like the international side of things. Part of my work is supporting my colleagues in the Austrian and Swiss markets, and I also work with people in the Netherlands and the UK, and in many other units. And of course, I work with a lot of Finnish people, so I don’t only get a German view of the market. It’s always good to meet new and different people. Even if it can sometimes be challenging, it’s very good for the job itself.
A market with potential
Peikko is well-known in the German market and we sell a lot of projects, however, bolted connections are not yet the number one choice. One of the reasons for this is that the German construction industry has its own way of erecting columns which involves making the column and foundation in one piece. This is fairly unique and not common in other countries, but it is also quite labour intensive and slow. So I could say that Peikko definitely still has potential for growth here. Let’s put it like this, the market is twenty times bigger than Finland but we don’t yet have twenty times more projects!
However, we are doing well here and every year we get some really big projects, like paper mills. These are great projects for us. The structures require rigid frames and we can deliver the performance that’s needed with our beam shoes, and there’s no other suitable solution on the market. We also deliver solutions for a lot of high storage buildings, and our bolted connections are very popular for columns up to 30 m high. They are a great choice for other industrial buildings as well, including projects in the chemical and automobile industry.
“We deliver solutions for a lot of high storage buildings, and our bolted column connections are very popular for columns up to 30 m high.”
Peikko has the solution
As a Customer Engineer, customers come to me to make their project work. They know Peikko and they know that we can provide a solution. Usually, we will make some proposals for them and then, depending on the project, we can discuss things and optimize them further. And we can also provide special solutions. For example, Peikko’s bolted connections can provide solutions when it’s too difficult to use the traditional one-piece columns and foundations, and our solutions also work with existing buildings.
Whatever the customer’s challenge, Peikko will find a solution, although sometimes we might make it too easy for them! For example, I know that we have found good repair solutions even when something has been cast wrongly. It’s not really a good way of working to get someone else to fix your mistakes using a lot of effort, human resources and additional costs. But they asked us to help, and with our expertise and solutions, Peikko was able to make it work.
A bright future
We just launched a new column shoe, BOLDA®, and that’s good because we should always have new products and keep developing them. Here at Peikko, we also work to ensure our products have EU assessment, which is really important. We are always developing and improving things, so we have more coming all the time.
Another thing is that the circular economy will be important for the precast industry too, because resources like concrete and steel will be more limited. Therefore, in the future, our industry will be reusing more columns and reassembling them into new buildings. Peikko’s bolted column connections are ideal for this – you can just unbolt the columns from an old building and simply bolt them into a new one.
A good place to work
Just like the market, Peikko in Germany is changing and growing rapidly, but it’s always a nice place to work and almost everyone knows each other here. In fact, the Managing Directors started as employees and worked their way up. So we really know each other, you know. I think it’s good thing when you know the people you work with and it will help us be successful in the future, too.
Want to know more about our 30th anniversary of Bolted Column Connections?
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