Strategic Collaboration Transforms Structural Foundation Testing

Just over a year ago, a 12-story oceanfront condo building in Surfside, Fla., collapsed, and it was the largest emergency response that didn’t involve a hurricane in Florida history.   While the cause of the collapse remains under investigation by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the widely held belief is that substantial issues with the building’s structural foundation precipitated the collapse. The advancement in deep foundation testing equipment and technology has grown by leaps and bounds since 1981 when the Surfside building was constructed. Had it been available at the time of construction, could game-changing structural testing technology have prevented this catastrophic event?

Avoiding such tragedies with better testing has inspired technology companies to think differently. Enter Pile Dynamics, Inc. (PDI), the largest global manufacturer of dynamic foundation testing equipment. Through a powerful commitment to innovation that’s positioned it at the forefront of the industry, PDI has developed a testing method that yields accurate results in a fraction of the time legacy processes typically require. Additionally, PDI utilizes secure cloud data storage which reduces time, cost, and carbon footprint by eliminating the requirement for site visits.  The result is increased stability of skyscrapers, bridges, and everything in between, reinvigorating the construction industry with a cost-effective way to confidently build structures of all shapes and sizes. With more than 50 years of industry-leading development, PDI has improved quality assurance on jobsites in more than 100 countries worldwide. “We are a technology company that happens to service the deep foundation industry,” says PDI President, George Piscsalko.

As cycles of innovation have progressed over the years, demand for PDI’s solutions surged. The overarching focus on quality and on-time delivery exposed reliability and availability issues with an existing supplier. And as PDI continued to add sophisticated technologies and sensors, a more progressive, proactive connectivity solutions provider was needed to support the growing business.

PDI seized the opportunity to team with Molex, who significantly improved the quality of connectors and cable assemblies for its product portfolio.  “We realized early on this was the company we could solve problems with and really help move our business forward,” Piscsalko explains.

Prioritizing Quality, Safety and Efficiency through Collaboration

And so, the two teams got to work.

A prime example of the team’s collaborative approach to innovation is PDI’s Thermal Integrity Profiler (TIP™), which evaluates concrete quality both within and outside the rebar cage. This innovation produces results fast and enables the findings to be securely accessed through the cloud from anywhere in the world. Not only does this level of accessibility enable PDI to stand out in the industry, but Molex also incorporates sensors directly into the Thermal Wire® cable to speed and simplify production.

The result: real time testing results that identify areas of concern and potential construction issues far earlier than other integrity test methods, which can take hours or days to deliver feedback. But it wasn’t always easy.

“Both companies have this ‘never say no’ attitude, which has contributed to a shared determination to find innovative ways to solve critical challenges,” says Daniel Koch of Molex, who worked closely with PDI to get the solution right. Bringing forward an extensive history in working alongside customers to solve demanding problems in automotive, consumer electronics, healthcare and data center environments using ruggedized solutions that must perform flawlessly, Molex was in the unique position to fully understand the company’s quality and durability requirements.

Adaptive Manufacturing and Proactive Material Sourcing

In the past five years, PDI’s growth, aided by Molex, has been exponential. Responding to the increase in orders, Molex developed custom automation solutions to streamline and speed operations. Incorporating automation ensured that PDI could build prototypes faster and focus on design while simultaneously scaling product development to meet global demand.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, PDI was deeply challenged to meet its demand while also avoiding supply chain disruptions. To ensure that these disruptions were limited, Molex teams worked to keep raw materials available, so lines could maintain required levels of production.

“Sometimes, we’d look at our global supply and see very little out there,” recalls Piscsalko. “Despite that, the Molex team always managed to find connectors and deliver them not only on time, but even early. The team always said, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll deliver’ and they were true to their word.”

 A Dynamic Relationship to Support Dynamic Testing Growth

Though the relationship between Molex and PDI began with cable assemblies, it has evolved, enabling PDI to bring the newest, cutting-edge technologies to market while revolutionizing the way foundations are tested, from pour to production.

 “Molex and Pile Dynamics have really been a team since day one, and that relationship has only strengthened as our work together has evolved,” concludes Piscsalko. “We view Molex as a strategic collaborator that will be here for the long-term growth of our products and our business.”

To learn more about how PDI and Molex are ensuring the safety integrity, and reliability of foundations around the world to keep structures safe and sound, check out the comprehensive case study and video