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Give Me the Night…

After a seven-week business trip covering thousands of miles across Asia and Australasia, Mr Loadlink is back on home soil.

When I’m centre stage at karaoke night in a pub in Chichester, not far from my home in the UK, belting out George Benson’s classic “Give Me the Night”, those lucky—or unlucky—enough to be in attendance can pretty much see all the elements involved in my performance. There might be a spotlight, screen with words on it and a backing track.

At the other extreme of live entertainment, the stages of summer festivals and world-class venues not only dazzle with lighting, sets and special effects that unfold before the audience’s eyes, an incredible amount of rigging is behind the scenes making sure everything is safely held in place or moved in time with the performance. I suppose shows are like icebergs in that sense.

I was aware of this to some extent already but it was an eye-opening and awe-inspiring experience to attend the Live Entertainment & Event Expo, which took place earlier this month at the Makuhari Messe during my trip to Japan—the home of karaoke! Distributor RUD Lifting Japan Co. Ltd. unveiled our new wireless load shackle to a show that attracted thousands of attendees from the entertainment industry.

As I told trade media recently, we were very keen to use the Live Entertainment & Event Expo to highlight the key features of the product and visitors were quick to identify how the load shackle could enhance safety and efficiency in their applications. The enquiries we have received are for multiple units and we anticipate that being typical as the product gains increased recognition. More on that in a minute.

Five-star performance

I took an opportunity to walk the aisles of the Makuhari Messe and get an appreciation of the true size and scale of the entertainment industry. Chain hoists, truss systems, rigging, wires, cables, lights, speakers, special effects, catering facilities and more go into even one night of a performance sometimes. Imagine the potential that creates for us on a yearly, global basis.

It reinforced my belief that Straightpoint can become a significant supplier of load cell technology to the entertainment business, which probably offers even more opportunities than I realised. RUD Lifting Japan did a fantastic job of launching the new wireless load shackle and I am tremendously excited about its potential based on the feedback we received.

As I said, it is a sector that consumes multiple units. Where an industrial application might have one load cell monitoring a load test, for example, a theatre or event production might need 20 load cells on a truss system that moves during a performance in time with music and special effects. Our software lends itself to that activity; we give clients the ability to display up to 100 load cells on one screen complete with load data and alarm systems.

From a business standpoint it is a sector that should also provide steady growth and some immunity to the cyclical nature of other industries, typified by the cost cuts we’re seeing in the oil and gas market, impacted by the low oil prices. Theatre districts across the world—and it’s certainly true of the West End in London—have even thrived during the recent recession and larger productions rarely compensate on the impact of their shows.

The trip to Japan concluded a long but very rewarding business trip, the final stages of which saw me travel from Singapore to Australia, where I spent some valuable time with our distributor Australian Calibrating Services (ACS) in Melbourne. The state of Victoria can have cool winters though and one of my memories of the trip is how cold I was with a suitcase full of Straightpoint polo shirts and no warm clothing!

A great adaptation

I came back to my desk to find a mountain of parcels and letters that had built up over the past seven weeks. Once I could see my keyboard and screen again, the biggest challenge was adapting to my desktop computer having been working from a MacBook on the road.

Travelling the world and meeting our partners will always be the most enjoyable and rewarding part of this job, but it was great to be back amongst the brilliant team at Havant HQ and deal face-to-face with people who have been on the other end of a telephone or the other side of a computer screen for the last couple of months.

One has to accept in such situations that it isn’t going to be a seamless transition back into the office lifestyle. I needed to catch up and that became easier once I had accepted that it wasn’t going to be something I could achieve in the first couple of days back.

The whiteboard came in very handy in planning how to make the first week as efficient as possible. It was also a useful tool in collating all the notes I had made whilst on the road and presenting them to the team. It was satisfying to share the questions that had been put to me at trade shows and meetings, whilst putting into context that everything we do in the office impacts the way we are perceived by distributors and users in the marketplace.

The audience were uplifted

It is important that one of those perceptions is that we are successful in engaging our audiences wherever in the world they work. To that end we are increasing the amount of material we publish in foreign languages. Last year we produced multilingual product manuals in 10 languages and we received followup requests for French and Spanish catalogues.

The French material allows us to better penetrate certain African markets that are French-speaking while John Molidor, who oversees our North American subsidiary, is very keen to distribute Spanish literature to some South American markets that are showing increased interest in our weighing and force measurement product range.

We will consider translating content into other languages and we would urge our partners and distributors to contact us if they feel they could be more efficient with information in the local language of their customers. I know RUD Lifting Japan frequently translates content and visitors to the Live Entertainment & Event Expo certainly appreciated that.

Thank you for reading. Keep following us on Twitter—@LoadCell

Mr Loadlink

Hope you all had a great summer…

I hope you had a great summer and are now feeling refreshed and ready to embrace the rest of 2014! As usual, I’m bringing you up-to-date with all things that have happened in my world over the last couple of months or so, including an announcement on our US office, our growing team, a sneaky preview peak at our new company video and details of a brand new product launch…

US Office Announcement and Expanding Management Team
I am delighted to announce that, as of just a couple of weeks ago, I purchased the shareholding of our US division at Straightpoint Inc., which means that the global offering will be more streamlined under the new combined ownership of our worldwide offices. Along with the ownership change, Straightpoint Inc has moved to new premises, just minutes away from the previous office – click here for our new contact details. Business resumes as normal, and John Molidor and Jenifer Wolfe continue to be your contacts in the US. I would like to thank Paula and Richard Sharpe for their commitment, hard work and for building up the US business so successfully over the years.

straightpoint team
As Straightpoint continues to grow, I know how important it is to have the right structures and staff in place to keep the business running as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

In the previous blog, I welcomed Richard Woollett as our new global Financial Controller.

He is now joined by two additional members to our management team; Alfie Lee, Operations Director and Roshan Divakaran, Design Engineer. Plus, I also welcome several young apprentices to the company too.




New Product Launchnew radiolink plus
I recently helped to man the Straightpoint stand at London ExCel’s LiftEx exhibition, which is where we chose to launch our new Radiolink Plus™ product. We gave demonstrations and everyone loved the new design and improved electronics. As part of the new design, it also achieves IP67 protection, even with the battery cover missing, which is ideal for marine or offshore applications. Also, the product’s span is enhanced giving the user a 3600 range to read loads. Click here if you’d like to read more…


Case Studies:
I thought I’d let you know of a few recent (and varied!) applications of our loadcells:
Straightpoint Loadcell Used to Safely Lift 6.5t Offshore Wind Station
Straightpoint’s 12t Loadlink Plus™ was used by Larkin Eng Services Ltd to load test a weather station’s lifting points, which is being used in Europe’s first commercial floating offshore wind measurement campaign.
The weather station’s lifting points were proof tested to check the greatest load that can be applied without straining them beyond the elastic limit, ensuring the weather station could be safely lifted and transported to the DONG Energy and FLiDAR offshore wind measurement campaign in the Irish Sea.
John Dodgson, Senior Rigging & Inspection Engineer at Larkin Engineering Services said ‘I have used Straightpoint’s products for many years. With over 1 million GBP-worth of equipment being lifted in this project, we had to get it right first time. That’s why we chose Straightpoint, as we knew we could reply on the accuracy of their loadcell to safely monitor the load.’

New Straightpoint RadioLink Plus™ Used to Test Mobile Crane:
Independent engineering inspector, James Haire, used our newly launched RadioLink Plus™ to test a mobile crane – watch the video of the test in action here!:

Straightpoint Loadcell Used For Mercedes Press Launch:

UK company Bickers Lifting lowered three brand new Mercedes GLA-Class SUV 189-metres below ground in the Winsford Rock Salt Mine in Cheshire as part of a press launch, to take the cars as far off the beaten track as possible.

Bickers designed, fabricated and tested the rig used for the lowering.

As the shaft was very limited in size, the cars had to go down vertically – a Straightpoint loadcell was used to give Bickers accurate weight readings throughout the process.

If you have an application for one of our products you’re able to share with us (text and images or video), I’d love to hear from you too… (if so, a Straightpoint goody bag awaits!)

And Finally…

Largest Shackle Sent to Singapore
Ever wondered what a 1000t shackle looks like?!

This monster was ordered by our Singapore distributors Intermarine for use in the shipping industry.

Pictured left: Shackle with Mr Loadlink


Our Saudi Arabian Distributor Came to Visit
Gamal Al Motaiam from NTE Projects, our distributor for the Saudi Arabian market, came to visit us recently at our UK office.

We spent time discussing new products, support and Gamal also spent some time with our production team learning more about repairs and calibration.

Pictured right: Mr Loadlink and Gamal.



Straightpoint Sponsors The Next David Beckham?
20140819_StraightPoint_1600I’m proud to announce that Straightpoint has recently been confirmed as the main sponsor for Portsmouth FC’s under-11 side during the 2014/15 season, with all the sponsorship money going towards the academy, helping to buy the team’s equipment and kits. The team consists of players who have been scouted from the local area and selected to play for the academy’s elite programme, where potentially the next ‘David Beckham’ could be spotted!

Pictured: Far left Josh Young (calibration engineer) far right Alfie Lee (Operations director)

Last But Not Least…
I recently asked our video company to come up with a new company video – a shorter version, which will be uploaded to our website; plus a longer version which I’ll take with me to meetings and exhibitions. Here’s a sneaky peak of the shorter video before it’s uploaded to our website – I’d love to know what you think – send me an email with your thoughts!