Altrex is an important
player in the global access equipment market, with a leading position in many countries. The company develops and manufactures high quality products for both the professional user and DIY user. All of Altrex’ quality products are designed to help the user work safely at height, and are produced in three categories: professional, heavy duty or home and garden. These products include rolling towers, folding towers, façade scaffold systems, suspended platform systems, ladders, folding ladders and stepladders.
Johan Courtz, production & development manager at Altrex, explains that 2010 will welcome in Altrex’ 60th anniversary, and that over the course of these decades the company has built a very respected brand: “Over the years we have become more specialised in access equipment, and we have established the motto ‘relax, it’s an Altrex’. We want our customers to realise that if they’re using a piece of Altrex equipment then they don’t need to worry, the equipment is fit for purpose and they can rely on its quality.”
He continues: “Of course our products have to comply to a number of safety standards, so what we do is ensure that as well as obtaining the correct accreditations, we also look closely at the design of the product to make it as easy to use as possible. We have found that people are more eager to use a product if its simple, and this makes them safer too.
“Our products are designed so they can only be used in the way they should be, and they have features which gives confidence in their reliability.”
Johan went on to give an example: “On one of our ranges of scaffolding we have incorporated ‘easy lock’: fastening of joints like a ski-shoe, instead of the more common used screw-joint. As a result people are more willing to use it. Safety is the biggest issue to consider when working at height – for example, we have also designed a stepladder that incorporates a collapsible knee rail. In the past some people used to simply remove these from stepladders because they made the product awkward to use and handle. By making it easily collapsible, we found a way of making sure it’s used and therefore a convenient and simple way to keep people safe.”
This sort of innovation is something that Altrex works on continuously, and it constantly releases new products. One of its most recent releases was the BISOMAC 210. Johan elaborates: “This was developed with our Japanese partner NIHON BISOH’s exclusive advanced technology, and is the next-generation traction hoist for the new era of ultra-high-rise buildings.” Highly durable, this full-powered, full-featured traction hoist is remarkably compact and lightweight. “Maintenance is also considerably simpler and faster too,” added Johan.
Altrex has also released other innovations to be used with its modular suspended platform system (MHB.) “We don’t often create completely new products,” Johan explains, “more we upgrade existing ranges, so it still fits on older Altrex equipment. For example we have created the Reversible Deck, the Access-Door and the Quickpin. All are new modular parts, which have been developed with a focus on compactness, less (transport) volume and quick assembly.
“The Quickpin secures automatically in a hooked position, and decreases the assembly time of the MHB,” he continues. “Because of the ergonomic design, the pin can be placed and secured in one motion and with one hand. The Quickpin makes sure the mechanism stays clean while the pin is in place. The pin is smoothly finished and secured by a double spring, and is easily released by pushing a lever.”
It is this kind of innovative approach that has enabled Altrex to expand, and experiences growing exports of its products. “We are represented in virtually every DIY shop in Holland, plus you can find Altrex subsidiaries in Belgium, Sweden and recently Spain.,” Johan confirms. Altrex distributes its access equipment all over the world from its modern distribution centre in the Netherlands.
In addition to its modern factory and logistics centre, Altrex has an international dealer network with partners, and as a result is represented by a dealer network and partners in the whole of Europe, North America and Canada, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, South America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the Middle East.
“We are the leader in America for our suspended platforms, and we are keen to continue to expand. However, we also want to stay the best, and that means creating the best products but also being best in a financial sense, which means getting a good return on investment and not taking risks,” says Johan.
This approach is even more important when taking the current economic climate into consideration. “I cannot say this hasn’t had any impact, as we have seen some changes in the market. For example, equipment rental companies have been less keen to invest this year, which has created a few difficulties. But because we work in several different markets, this problem was, to an extent, alleviated by other markets, which were doing well,” says Johan.
A team of people who understand what the customer needs to work at heights safely and comfortably, supports the brand reputation and reliability of Altrex products. Johan explains: “Our products are developed by devoted people with experience and expertise. The people working here have a knowledge of the products, combined with a knowledge of the production and this ensures we do a good job in making and selling our products.” This mix of experience and reputation also means that Altrex can help clients who have special situations, or who require custom-made solutions. A team of experts can personally advise customers about the best and safest solutions.
“We are always looking at new and innovative ideas for access equipment, or something that could make working at heights safer,” said Johan. “Our basis is aluminium, but we do consider other materials, so for instance we have developed a platform with a composite deck for our rolling towers, which is now the lightest weight platform available in the market.” Johan concludes: “With the amount of skill we have and the technology we can utilise, we can approach a problem from a position based on quality, knowledge, experience and especially innovation. Therefore when a client chooses Altrex, they are choosing safety, and nothing is more important than that.”
Products: Access equipment