Piling Canada

Going Global

Italy’s DAT instruments has customers in more than 20 countries
Written by Jim Timlick
January 2022

A JET 4000 AME J installed on a drilling rig (Photos: DAT instruments)

Italy is known around the world for its contributions to art, fashion and the culinary arts. Its contributions to the global deep foundation industry aren’t quite as well known, but that is starting to change, thanks in part to a small technology firm based in one of the country’s most historic regions.

DAT instruments was founded in 2001, by Amedeo Valoroso, a computer science engineer who launched the company at the tender age of 24. Today, the company has customers in more than 20 countries and territories including Italy, Spain, Hong Kong, Turkey, Russia, Colombia, and Singapore. It’s grown from a single employee, Valoroso, to a staff of 10, most of whom are based in Cairate, a city in the province of Varese, located about 600 kilometres northwest of Rome.

DAT instruments specializes in the design and production of state-of-the-art instruments and software used in foundation construction for piling, jet grouting, diaphragm wall production, drilling, ground injection and soil mixing.

Valoroso had been working for another company, building electrical devices for construction sites, when he decided to branch out on his own and start his own business. He was inspired by a desire to choose the projects he worked on and to work at his own pace.

“I felt that if I worked on my own projects, I could give 110 per cent. And I needed to feel like a project was my own,” he said. “Here, there are times now when I am really busy with work and I’m working on new projects. Other times I am free to go and think about other projects. I prefer to change things up sometimes where the work is not the same all the time. I like the variety.”

DAT instruments’ primary offering is its datalogger series. The datalogger can be used on virtually any kind of drilling device that bores a hole in the earth’s subsurface to record a wide range of data including the amount of cement and the pressure at which it is injected into the ground to create piles, and how it flows. That information is instantly available to the operator through a large touchscreen monitor and can also be transmitted to an office or another remote location via a USB pen drive or internet connection.

Most models of the DAT instruments dataloggers come in both manual and automatic versions. The manual version provides easy to understand readings, which can be used to analyze quickly how efficiently a job has been performed as well as the performance of the rig’s human operator. The automatic edition of the device does all that, as well as automatically starts or stops the injector on a drilling device based on pre-set parameters such as the amount of cement required to complete a task, or when a maximum pressure is established. The datalogger can also be connected to specially-designed sensors which can explore ground conditions before companies begin any below-surface digging or drilling work; giving geologists a better understanding of the soil’s characteristics.

“We tell customers our data­loggers are like your eyes in the ground because you can see what you are doing in the ground, but you’re not actually in the ground,” Valoroso said.

While the DAT instruments dataloggers can be used for essentially any kind of subsurface work, it was originally designed for large-scale public works projects such as street, dam and bridge construction.

The JET DSP 100 / D model was recently used to create a new underground subway station in Russia, where it helped record the depth and inclination of a series of diaphragm walls. The DAT TinyLog was used to help carry out horizontal drilling as part of a huge underground project in Hong Kong, where it supplied up-to-the-minute data on everything from the number of revolutions a drill logged per minute, to the temperature of the engine cooling water and hydraulic oil. Meanwhile, DAT instruments’ JET SDP / IB was used in a series of geotechnical investigations conducted in Italy three years ago.

“Our goal is to find an established company who is already manufacturing or selling drilling rigs and can sell our products along with their products.”

– Amedeo Valoroso, DAT instruments

Valoroso says one of the primary benefits of his company’s datalogger is that it precisely records everything a machine operator does, including when a job is started or completed, and how much material is required for the job. That information can be quickly shared with other parties and provide peace of mind to a company’s clients.

The automated version allows the operator to position a drill perfectly and injects just the required amount of cement, which makes for a better pile. The automatic edition can also help to ensure that just the correct amount of pressure is used in jet grouting and to prevent any damage from occurring in the surrounding ground.

In addition to the 18.5-inch DAT WideLog, the company offers a smaller, lower-cost 12-inch version that can record all of the same information as its larger counterpart. Prices start at about $8,000 for the base model and can range as high as $30,000 or more, depending on the level of customization required.

DAT instruments buys a portion of the components used in its devices from suppliers, but handles all of the manufacturing itself. The company also installs all of its own software in each device. One of the advantages of the devices’ design is that the software can be quickly and easily updated when required.

DAT instruments has enjoyed slow, but steady growth since its founding. Valoroso says that was by design because he didn’t want the company to become too big too fast. By keeping the company relatively small, he says he and his staff can respond quickly to the needs of customers and provide the kind of one-on-one service that larger companies often can’t.

Like most companies, DAT instruments has felt the impact of Covid-19. Early in the pandemic many of its international customers began choosing domestic alternatives as a result of global supply chain issues. As the world slowly begins to open up once again, Valoroso has noticed many of those customers have started to return.

Still, he acknowledges that his company has to continue to be nimble when it comes to marketing its products.

“When you are selling product all over the world, you need to make the product better. It must be suitable for hotter, colder, sunnier and several other types of climates that we don’t have here in Italy. Plus, you are dealing with different situations and different cultures,” he said.

Despite its global reach, DAT instruments doesn’t have much of a presence in Canada or the rest of North America, yet. Valoroso is optimistic that could soon change. His company is looking to form a partnership with a firm that is already established in this country to distribute DAT instruments’ products here and elsewhere in North America.

“In Canada and the U.S., the customer wants a local distributor so we are looking for this kind of company who can sell our products over there,” Valoroso said. “Our goal is to find an established company who is already manufacturing or selling drilling rigs and can sell our products along with their products.”

Valoroso has no doubts that his company’s products will receive a favourable reception once DAT instruments gains a foothold here.

“Yes, of course. We sell our products all over the world. They work in Russia and other similar nations. I think they would work really well in Canada.” Piling Canada

For more information on DAT instruments, visit www.datinstruments.com.

Category: Profile

About Us

Piling Canada is the premier national voice for the Canadian deep foundation construction industry. Each issue is dedicated to providing readers with current and informative editorial, including project updates, company profiles, technological advancements, safety news, environmental information, HR advice, pertinent legal issues and more.

Sign Up

Submit your email to receive our e-newsletter.