Italian Spaghetti, Swiss Chocolate and Galvanised Wire Mesh

It has been a hectic ten days what with lugging a bag between Milan and Zurich (or Romanshorn to be more precise). Firstly let me apologise if you have tried to get hold of me over the last ten days or so – being in the northern hemisphere is not conducive to communication although I was able to access my emails which kept me in touch with most developments back home.

GeoZone GeoServices is now the official southern Africa agent for SISGEO Geotechnical Instrumentation who are based in Milan, Italy. We had the pleasure of touring their factory and meeting their MD and international sales team and they even took us to lunch. SISGEO have certainly have kept abreast of the new technology, even to the extent that the monitoring stations can be remotely monitored via GPRS. They are able to supply and install their products and provide a monitoring and analytical service should this be required – in short a one-stop-shop, or alternatively they can just ship the various systems and allow the client to manage the process. This latter option of course has its obvious drawbacks, particularly when it comes to optimising the installation and ensuring trouble-free monitoring. They manufacture a slew of instruments ranging from inclinometers to load cells, with everything in between, and data is captured via a ruggedised data logger which is compatible with all their instruments, which is a real bonus. For more information please have a look at www.sisgeo.com.

Following my taste of la dolce vita it was off to Switzerland for a week’s product training with Geobrugg. Many of you will have travelled Chapman’s Peak Drive and seen the catch fences installed there – these are Geobrugg products. We were very impressed with their professionalism and dedication to what is a superb product, all backed up by a team of technical experts. They have a group of amazingly young guys with a frighteningly thorough understanding of their business and who are mandated to sell throughout the world. The five days of lectures covering everything from slope stability analysis to writing contract specifications were pretty intense and we would leave their offices at the end of each day feeling somewhat frazzled. It wasn’t all lectures though – we visited their sister wire rope factory as well as the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) testing site at Walenstadt where all Geobrugg products are independently tested – for a short video of a 16 tonne (5000 kilojoule) test have a look  here.

We also spent a grand afternoon construction a RXI catch fence which gave us unique insights into intricacies of installing the product. There are some very obvious applications for the Geobrugg products with slope stabilisation, underground mining, and protection of mine infrastructure and haul roads springing to mind. We have also a great working relationship with Alpinist Safety Consultants who did the Chapman’s Peak installations and Nautical Steel who are the official Southern African Geobrugg agents. The geotechnical input will be from GeoZone GeoServices, all backed up by Geobrugg’s technical team, so we are looking forward to providing cost-effective solutions to all those who need to support rock slopes or prevent rock falls in sensitive areas. For more information go to www.geobrugg.com or send us an email. Don’t forget about the geotechnical instrumentation either, particularly those of you who are involved in tunnels, large dams or large earthworks projects.