Safety not only depends on the anchor05. July 2018
In many cases it is the substrate that fails and is unable to carry the transferred load; or the anchor was installed incorrectly. As a trainer at the fischer Academy, the experienced former construction manager Wolfgang Schultz explains in an interview how he gives DIYers and traders an understanding of selecting the right anchor and compliant installation.
Mr Schultz, construction projects can easily reach a volume of several hundred thousand or even millions of Euros. Who bothers with placing the correct anchor when it comes to this order of magnitude?
This is a crucial topic for DIYers, but also for structural engineers and architects. An anchor may be a small component, but it is crucial to transferring the load into the substrate and therefore must guarantee quality and safety. If an anchor is placed incorrectly or its surrounding construction material fails then the consequences could be fatal. Selecting the right anchor depending on the substrate, edge distances, temperature and other influencing factors while correctly installing the anchor is relevant to safety. The fischer Academy therefore supports specialists through seminars and training sessions. The anchor’s various functional principles and behaviours in the respective substrate together with the loads that are to be carried are also highly fascinating.
What exactly does the fischer Academy offer?
The Academy is part of the fischer Group of Companies. We want our customers to get the full benefit of our products, i.e. to profit from a safe and economically optimal overall solution alongside an easy-to-use system. For us it is important to not only sell products but also solutions, for example through a free hotline, through on-site application engineers, through free software and also through the Academy. For this reason, we regularly host seminars in Germany and also internationally that are tailored to the respective target groups.
We have the right content for DIYers, specialist retailers, engineers, and even for master students, apprentices and other groups. We also differentiate between industries, so that metalworkers, carpenters, sanitary and air conditioning technicians receive the right offer, as do joiners, sun shade technicians and electricians.
That sounds very comprehensive, but also very complex. Why does fischer provide this offer?
We want to give our customers the best possible support. Our anchors have all been tested and the approved systems have a projected duration of use of at least 50 years, during which the given loads are compliant. But safety does not depend solely on the anchor, but also on the substrate and the type of installation. Our seminars convey the right fixings for the DIYers’ applications with a theoretical and practical component in a target group-oriented manner.
Of course, our approach in social media is also part of the ideal customer support. Through direct communication with users, fischer can show first impressions and details of current reference projects such as the Louvre Abu Dhabi and the Brenner Base Tunnel on Instagram, for example. On YouTube fischer provides descriptive tips and tricks on the right use of fixing solutions, as well as insights into the company’s numerous events. Users can submit questions directly to the fischer experts on Facebook, or receive support from the community.
That is bound to lead to a lively two-way exchange of information. What advantages do the seminars provide for your customers and also for fischer?
They are meant to give customers certainty when choosing and handling anchor systems. The customers learn how to understand and use the various products and their mechanisms of action. The anchor’s allowable loads mean that the quantity and layout of anchors can be precisely calculated using our free “Fixperience” software, for example, so that an economic solution provides safety for many decades.
What was your own personal fischer moment?
A while ago I was in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. These countries that are very poor in part often use cheap anchors due to a lack of funds and knowledge. These fixings have not been tested and do not have allowable loads, which unfortunately leads to frequent accidents. We carried out many training sessions there in order to emphasise the importance of high-quality anchors for the transfer of loads and in order to create an understanding for these relatively small but exceptionally important fixings. After one of the training session, our local importer told us that he is proud to be able to bring quality and safety to the market with fischer systems –an important step towards the future.
What exactly does the practical part of training involve?
Alongside conveying theoretical knowledge on anchors, the correct and compliant installation of various anchors is carried out in practical rooms in various construction materials. Proper installation is essential to complying with the stated loads. Pull-out tests are also frequently carried out, during which an anchor is loaded with several tonnes until it yields.
Our practical rooms are currently being renovated and equipped with attachment parts in order to demonstrate fixing examples, but also in order to visualise the transfer of loads. A special room for carpenters and wood constructers where the use of screws and anchors is demonstrated through specific applications has already been completed. A second room is dedicated to the sun shade and metalwork trades, where the impact of various load situations is simulated with the attachment parts. Another room is being planned for installation systems and fire protection.
Who can take part in these seminars? Can I simply call up and register?
The field sales employees would encourage this as a rule, but you can also register online. We also inform our customers about our offerings through newsletters. The seminars mostly take place at our headquarters in Tumlingen, but there are also regular one-day seminars all over Germany. In special cases, seminars will also be carried out directly at a company’s site.
On an international level we are gradually setting up Academies in our 42 subsidiaries, as we want to sell technical products with high customer value while providing optimal advice to the customer. This is part of our integral service idea with which to provide the best possible support to the customer.
What are your plans for the future?
Following the two rooms for wood construction and sun shade, or rather structural engineering, a further room is currently being set up with installation systems and applications for electricians. We are using more and more digital possibilities in the training sessions, such as webinars and e-learning. In terms of products, we are adapting to a growing market for insulating construction materials; while fischer is also offering more and more sanitary and electric fixing systems. Our high-quality range of screws has been significantly extended while the range of products beyond fixing systems, such as drills, bits, foams, silicones and installation and facade systems has been considerably expanded. Our aim is to support DIYers from a single source in the best possible manner, to simplify their work and to provide quality and safety through innovative products.