Smets Technology: Manufacturer and Contractor of Passion
Airports, contractors, road authorities and marking companies usually know us as manufac-turers of rubber removal, demarking and retexturing equipment. However, we love working with our trucks ourselves to expand our understanding of the challenges and requirements of our customers.
We thus maintain our own contracting fleet in Europe and South-East Asia to provide rubber removal, demarking and retexturing services.
Our contracting business makes us better manufacturers and helps our customers grow their contracting business after purchasing our equipment! You want to know how? Let us start from the beginning…
How it all started…
Stephan Smets, CEO and co-founder of Smets Technology, has more than 45 years of experience in ultra-high-water-pressure technology and associated contracting services. In the 1980’s, Stephan founded and ran the largest contracting company for ultra-high-water-pressure applications in Austria. This contracting company was amongst the first to remove rubber on an international airport with pure waterpower (Salzburg Airport).
However, the equipment available at that time was not meeting the needs of a serious contractor. The rubber removal equipment could only work with water-pressures up to 1,000 bar. In addition, the high-pressure pumps had an enormous water consumption of 150 liters/minute, which led to constant working interruptions for refilling the tank.
Before and after his time at WRG, Stephan worked in the management of renowned ultra-high-pressure pump producers, KAMAT, WOMA and Jetstream. The combination of our co-founder’s profound knowledge of the ultra-high-pressure technology and the performed works as contractors led to the development of the first runway cleaning prototype in the mid 2000’s, which was later sold to Hanoi Airport and is operating up to this day.
What does our contracting work mean to us?
Since the development and sale of our first runway cleaning equipment, the ARC 1000, we have never stopped being contractors. First, we started to remove rubber on over 30 international airports worldwide with our subsidiary, RCS Contracting.
Then, in 2013, we merged the contracting business of RCS with Smets Technology and are since then performing on roads and runways across the globe. In 2018, we expanded our contracting department to South-East Asia with another subsidiary, NVT Runway Master, which is cleaning the runways of 9 airports in Thailand including Bangkok Suvarnabhumi and Bangkok Don Mueang. In the middle of next year, our contracting fleet will get its newest addition with our own ST Contractor.
While our contracting fleet is growing, we are also growing as manufacturers. We are confronted each day with different contracting scenarios, working conditions and learnings about the technology. The combination of our daily work as contractors on airports and roads all around Europe and South-East Asia together with the extensive testing of our machines during the manufacturing process is the perfect fit for our vast know-how in ultra-high-water-pressure technology. This makes us better manufacturers overall.
What does it mean for our customers?
We have a better understanding for the needs and requirements of co-contractors, marking companies, road authorities or airports since we are working with them every day with our own fleet. Therefore, each truck is designed and manufactured according to the needs of every single customer and is therefore unique on its own.
Are the lines wider than usual, the city streets to narrow, the rubber unusually sticky or is the bitumen too hard to wash off the tank after doing retexturing works? We know it all and designed specific problem-solving solutions for our customers!
However, contractors that work with hydro-blasting are one of our major customer groups. Many people therefore ask us if we are potential contracting competitors for our own customers. The answer is easy: No. In case of a sale of our equipment to companies that are providing rubber removal, demarking or retexturing services in the same region as we do, we always find an agreement for the future cooperation to even strengthen the market position of our customers.
The best example is our Greek customer, Eco-Tech. Eco-Tech is currently cleaning the runways of numerous airports in Greece. Airports where Smets Technology used to provide the services. Eco-Tech took over the contracts with those airports while having a mutual cooperation that ensures that we work for Eco-Tech if they need additional equipment and vice versa. That way, we were able to increase the contracting revenue of both companies since we could tackle larger jobs from then on.
Joanna Machairidou, CEO of Eco-Tech, says about the relationship with Smets Technology: “We have a close relationship with Smets Technology since we bought one ARC 1000 back in 2019. Smets Technology was at that time the major rubber removal service provider in Greece, working for 14 airports. We took those airports over from Smets Technology with the purchase of the ARC 1000 and are since then working closely together. We are helping them with our manpower and fleet in Summer when we cannot work on Greek airports and Smets Technology is helping us out in Winter. We never had the feeling that we are competitors. Our contracting revenues just grew together!”
We Move Water