Two industry leaders in technological manufacturing and innovation have joined forces to deliver the latest foundation-testing products on time and wherever needed. Pile Dynamics, Inc. (PDI), one of the world’s largest manufacturers of deep foundation testing equipment, and Molex, a global electronics leader and connectivity innovator, have developed a strong collaboration revolutionizing the piling industry.
It began a few years ago when demand for PDI’s Thermal Wire product increased. The Thermal Wire cable measures the temperature of curing concrete in a drilled foundation and sends that data via cellular data collection boxes to the cloud to be analyzed by engineering firms. As users began to see the advantages this testing method held over others, it began to be used more frequently around the globe.
“At Pile Dynamics, our mission is to catch issues ahead of time so that a quality foundation is poured each and every time,” said George W. Piscsalko, production manager at PDI. “For 50 years, we’ve been innovating, always trying to stay ahead of technology to bring advancement to the industry, as well as more cost-effective solutions.”
At first, PDI would buy raw components and build its own cable assemblies in-house. “But as our products became more widely known, demand increased quite rapidly, and the volumes got larger and larger,” said Piscsalko. “We needed an answer as to how to make such huge quantities – that’s when we turned to Molex. They came in, gave us the solution, went on their way and built it for us. And they’ve been rockstars ever since.”
According to Daniel Koch, senior product manager, global consumer and commercial solutions division at Molex, the two companies first collaborated in 2019. “Their business was scaling, and the quality and capacity they needed drove them to work directly with Molex for our drop-in connector. We are top in our industry, which can mean a lot of things, but for us, it’s our behind-the-scenes focus on ramping productivity. That’s the value proposition we offer our customers. Where most suppliers will say, ‘We can’t meet your needs,’ our attitude is always ‘We can do it.’”
Molex took on PDI as a customer and met their demand by making the necessary investments in automation. Koch said, “That’s how our Molex teams work: taking what’s available today in the marketplace and customizing it to a customer’s needs.”
Molex’s experience in demanding markets, such as automotive, consumer electronics, healthcare and data centres, helped address PDI’s rigorous performance requirements. Molex also aligned its global supply chain management, procurement and logistics experts to manage production schedules during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We started shipping product in 2020,” said Koch. “We proved we could meet and exceed our commitments, and our relationship with PDI blossomed from there.”
Adding a Molex drop-in connector for PDI addressed reliability and availability concerns in real-time.
“Our quality issues have disappeared, we’ve kept the same price point and are able to deliver these on time,” said Piscsalko. “We realized early on that Molex could help us solve problems and really help move our business forward.”
Koch explained that PDI’s disruption within its industry using electronics is key to PDI’s innovations. “PDI uses technology and electronics in a way this industry has not seen before. It’s a perfect partnership with Molex’s industry-certified manufacturing plants supporting design manufacturing from early production to high-volume, fully automated assembly.”
PDI and Molex are working together to deliver products and processes that meet the exacting demands of this highly specialized industry sector. For example, Molex has provided connectors that will be used to join Thermal Wire cables together in spliced cage applications. This new connector assembly allows multiple Thermal Wire cable sections to be joined together quickly, thus limiting the amount of time workers’ hands and arms are inside cage sections for a much safer operation.
“As our relationship grows, we’re learning other things that Molex does – they’re not just connector people,” said Piscsalko. “They are also antenna experts, so we’re working with them to improve our products that use antennas to collect data from a pile, send it up to the cloud where the office can download and create reports. Everyone talks about IoT (Internet of Things); now we really have ‘smart piles’ that talk to us and tell us what they look like using our software and technology, speeding up the construction process and catching potential problems with installation.”
PDI and Molex have found a common vision of delivering new precision technology that disrupts the status quo. “We are working together to deliver products and processes that meet the rigorous demands of this highly-specialized industry sector,” said Koch. “From product selection to rapid prototyping, we continue to collaborate on developing more efficient solutions with ever-increasing quality improvements to address stringent requirements for world-class structural foundation testing.”