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Jet Demolition founder has a blast as leading global specialist
13 March 2019
Jet Demolition founder has a blast as leading global specialist

Back-to-back wins in the 2017 and 2018 World Demolition Awards has cemented Jet Demolition’s reputation as one of the leading demolition specialists globally. The company has successfully taken on some of the most demanding projects in the world.

To be recognised on an international platform, in two different categories for two consecutive years, by friends, peers and colleagues from across the world is an achievement that cannot be topped, Jet Demolition Director Joe Brinkmann emphasises. “We are extremely humbled and grateful for this recognition, and feel enthused to continue in this spirit of hard work and excellence.”

Demolition provides a continuous challenge, with every project approached with the aim of increasing safety, production, and cost-efficiency. “There is no formalised demolition training available in South Africa, meaning that all our personnel are developed and nurtured in-house,” Brinkmann stresses. Mentoring ensures constant interaction with team members, which means that everyone is able to learn from each other.

Looking back at the company’s achievements to date, Brinkmann highlights Jet Demolition’s work on large water-retaining dams as some of the most important projects it has undertaken, from Hazelmere to Midmar.

These projects called for highly-controlled, cautious, partial demolition of large dams for rehabilitation and enlargement projects. New blasting techniques were developed to retain the structural stability of the dams, with no wasted effort. “We look forward to other challenging work of this nature.”

Brinkmann studied Mining Engineering, honing in on explosives engineering in 1980. Following his successful Masters in Blasting, he joined the Chamber of Mines in a research position. “I initially sold blasting instrumentation, and then developed shaped charges that were later patented. I was attracted to attempt demolition in 1991,” Brinkmann recalls.

His first large demolition project was at the Old President Brand Gold Plant in Welkom for Anglo American. “From there it was a natural progression into difficult and demanding demolition projects.  A hands-on approach, mechanical interest and aptitude, and a fondness for explosives came together to fuel my drive for demolition work,” Brinkmann reflects.

Commenting on the current state of the civils sector in South Africa, Brinkmann points out that “it is very much in intensive care at the moment. “In five years’ time, I believe we will be in a phase of good economic growth, with a strong prospect of growth in the civils sector.”

In terms of future trends, Brinkmann is a firm believer in Industry 4.0 as both a disrupter and an enabler of development. “It will impact heavily on our industry, with increased mechanisation under digital control. In turn, technology must always be driven by people, resulting in new and exciting skills to be developed in years to come.”

As for a message for new engineering graduates contemplating a career in the industry, Brinkmann concludes: “I believe that working in a bricks-and-mortar, hands-on industry holds great opportunity, and is a deeply-satisfying technical occupation. Step away from the gadgets, go outside, and experience life to the full.”

Brinkmann has been invited to deliver a presentation at the World Demolition Summit 2019 Conference and Awards from 23 to 24 October in Boston in the US. It will be the 11th edition of this major international event celebrating technical excellence and innovation in the global demolition industry.

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