Hamburg based imagery company Olympus’s focus on the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey translated into a regional legal entity in Dubai to cover the region two years ago, says Maurice Faber (pictured) who was appointed as regional managing director.
“My tasks were to build the entity, start the workshops and hire the right team that would allow us to grow our business in the region. So we’ve done well, and we show our revenue and income independently now,” says Faber.
Olympus’ multi-million dirham facility in Dubai employs 35 staff with 60 others throughout the region across product and application specialists, repair technicians and training professionals. Aviation’s promising outlook has caused Olympus to focus intently on the sector. “We were already working with most of the global airlines as well as engine manufacturers such as Rolls Royce,” he says. “The Middle East is probably the fastest growing aviation region in the world which is why we’re very interested in it.”
The company’s services in remote visual inspections (RVI) and non-destructive testing (NDT) went live only in April this year, but within a short time are able to cater to 70 percent of all requests, says Faber. “We concentrate on safety and testing, which we have the best equipment to cater to. With offices in Dubai we can deliver not only better quality but faster service which is the main advantage to a regional presence. Without needing to import or export parts, we can deliver up to 70 percent of all services and will be able to deliver the whole portfolio of our solutions very soon,” says Albert Alterjman, who works with Faber as general manager for the region.
NDT used to be done via X-ray and is quickly being phased out by ultra sound, eddy current and magnetic resonance technology, a lot of which requires external technicians to be trained on with workshops and demonstrations. “The airplane turbine has a lot of small parts. Our strength is imagery, and we can deliver the resolution as well as the flexibility, in terms of bending and moveable cameras, unlike any other company in the world,” says Faber.
Apart from turbines Olympus’ services span turbine blade inspections to test their sturdiness as well as the fuselage for corrosion and other repair needs. “We have a global market lead with our Omni-scan technology,” says Alterjman. “The ultrasonic technology tests any surfaces for cracks, fatigue and any other weaknesses. In the Middle East we have 50 percent of the market share with the technology and even more across the rest of the world.”
The Middle East’s harsh environment makes Olympus as a natural fit for the aviation industry. “We have similar equipment that’s used in oil and gas, power generation even in the healthcare and surgical business. All of those are harsh and extreme areas where we have developed an expertise that lends itself well to aviation as well,” says Faber.
The big challenge in the Middle East is hiring the right staff. “Training technicians can take up to three years which is why so far we have recruited experienced professionals from other Olympus workshops around the world,” says Faber. However, by working with 18 channel partners, which it hopes to double by next year, Olympus is bridging the talent gap. The company is also currently training 70 NDT specialists at its workshops in the Middle East which it hopes to graduate by the end of the year.
“We train and track them with very strict quality standards,” says Alterjman. “After all with the amount of demand we are receiving from region including from airlines looking to grow such as Saudi Arabian Airlines as well as others in Ethiopia, it is important that we provide the same standard of service across our network.”