Since its creation in 2012, DESAMI sprl occupies an essential place on the Belgian market in the road infrastructure sector.
It specializes in the installation of guardrails and road equipment. Its commercial offer consists of high-performance devices combining rigidity and ductility. It also offers solutions that are technically compatible with engineering structures thanks to a mastery of the ruin modes calculated at the ELU.
DESAMI is an SME belonging to a group of international partners. For several years, this company has been one of the market leaders.
It also deals with the engineering, dimensioning and calculation of engineering structures (in interaction with restraint systems).
With its partners, it also carries out projects abroad.
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How did your DESAMI company come into being? And from there, the DOLRE project?
David de Saedeleer:
I graduated from school in 2004 with a TFE which dealt with the subject of “safety barriers on the roads”, TFE made at the Arcelor research centre in Liège.
I continued to work at the Arcelor research centre (since taken over by the CRM) on the subject of metal safety barriers. The objective at the time was to meet the new European standard, to carry out crash tests with products to achieve new performances. This standard was “revolutionary”, the geometry of the barriers was no longer imposed, before, all the barriers were the same, the barrier had been designed once and for all and the winner was the one who managed to produce at a lower cost.
Today there is still this notion of lower cost but the important thing is to create a product as light as possible to achieve a given crash test performance, which leaves much more room for engineering! The engineer’s work has a strong added value because we can really try to get very specific performances, which was not possible before, when the geometry of the barrier was imposed.
Having always worked in the sector, I finally started DESAMI’s activity in 2012. First in a moderate way since from 2012 to 2014 we were only renting machines to install the guardrails.
In 2014 we launched the activity full time between the building material, the marketing of the products and since then we specialized in all that is work of art (the road bridges, road car).
By working in the engineering structures sector, we have come to understand which cases were most often found; engineering structures are relatively old and have not been sized in relation to new safety devices and requirements. We will, for example, ask to retain a truck, which was not the case before, retain a truck is to transmit important forces at the level of the engineering structures and it is of the blow to reinforce the structure.
From there came the DOLRE project in 2016, the business model of the project is to say we will develop a product which will cost more than a traditional product but which will make it possible to get rid of the reinforcement, knowing that the reinforcement costs much more expensive than the slide itself. So today the first DOLRE (we have 3 DOLRE that passed the crash tests), these are products that transmit 4t of force, when the average product on the market transmits 20t of force, so we can say that today we are 5x lower in terms of effort transmitted to the bridge structure. This has already been the subject of a patent application and has allowed us to have first orders: a first order on a purely aesthetic criterion since the DOLRE has the specificity of being a product that we will qualify as design in terms of structures and two others on the criterion of efforts transmitted.
In September 2017, the first 2 DOLRE geometries successfully passed the full-scale crash tests, so we have 2 products that come out with 3 crash tests (1 test with a small Peugeot 106, a test with a BMW 5 series and a crash test with a coach). The crash test is the judge, we do not master everything in the crash test there is a series of hazards, the average success rate in the crash test is 2 out of 3, and there we did 3 out of 3 for the first campaign, after there will be other campaigns, I do not expect to do 100% success everywhere, we planned to miss crash tests, error is part of the advancement but 100% success in the first campaign, we were very pleased.
We succeeded in a 3rd product in June 2018 which has the specificity to land on a pavement not anchored to the work. This further reduces the transmitted forces and offers even more possibilities for installation on existing structures.
For the moment Desami’s commercial activity is a representative activity of a range of products that is manufactured abroad. So today we are working a lot on the highways in the region: the Beez viaduct, the renovation of the 2 ramps of the Daussoulx interchange. We are going to start a very big project this year which is the renovation of the E411 between the Beez viaduct and the Daussoulx interchange. We have just finished a very beautiful project: the renovation of the Charleroi ring road, there was the beginning of DOLRE (2014-2018), an important work, the initiation of the DOLRE project internally.
In terms of staff, we hired a 1st engineer to develop the DOLRE project, and we just hired a 2nd engineer to set up the whole industrial side, so today we can say that we hired 2 engineers specifically for the project. We want to hire a sales technician in 2018 because we are in the process of setting up the whole industrial business plan, so we will have to get enough orders to invest in the industrial tool in order to be able to hire the necessary production staff at that time. But it will be in a second time, knowing that in a first time we will subcontract to local companies and these subcontracting will also generate employment.
How has MecaTech helped you?
The main help, and not negligible, is the preparation of the files. The follow-up was important especially for a small company, the assembly of file is not easy, it takes time, it is not obvious humanly too… all that is judged imperfect not the jury is flunked and it is necessary to hang on, as when one defends his TFE. It’s a lot of work and the fact that we were regularly coached, that we got an outside look from people who know how it can work helped us a lot, maybe we wouldn’t have been able to build the file without the Pole’s coaching.
MecaTech also supported us when we wanted to modify the organization with our partners in order to improve it. The fact of calling on an outside party who knows the project, allowed us to rely on someone and to have interesting advice.
What markets are you active in? International?
Today 2 markets have priority: France and Belgium. France has an important part in DOLRE’s strategy, Wallonia remains a small market. To exploit the full potential of DOLRE we must seek international opportunities.
What about future developments?
In the project there were 3 crash test campaigns planned, we did 2, where we released 3 products, and we are working on a 3rd campaign for the end of the year where we would like to release 1 or 2 more products. Product approval will take us a long time because we have to perform virtual computer crash tests; all special cases have to be tested virtually.
DOLRE 1.0 must be a pump that has been primed and the objective is not to stop in 2019 but to continue according to commercial results, and here I hope to go get a DOLRE 2.0. The combinations on work of art are so numerous, the need is very broad one will not have enough with the 3 years of the project to cover all that therefore the DOLRE 1.0 is only a beginning !