From roads in Palestine to tunnels in Sweden

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Thirty year old Alaa Alshaqra moved to Sweden two years ago from Palestine, due to the dangerous situation back home. In Palestine he used to work as a civil engineer in construction of roads and buildings and was a site engineer for United Nations in different projects supporting the Palestinians in Gaza strip.

When he got to Sweden, he had difficulties in getting a job within his field and was unemployed for some time, even though he attended different internships. When the E4 Stockholm Bypass project started he got an offer to participate in Edvirt´s shotcrete and grouting certification courses, arranged by the City of Stockholm and EfAS (The Unit for External Employer Interaction). The courses equipped Alaa with hands on knowledge that was great to combine with his engineering degree and previous work experience from Palestine. It also helped him to get a job in the tunnelling industry. “It was a really good course with a mix of theory, practical assessments and information around safety procedures. The course is well suited for both operators and engineers”, says Alaa.

He now works for LSAB (Lovön Samverkan AB) at the site FSE308 in the E4 Stockholm Bypass project. His job duties are mainly quality control engineer, but also to follow up and apply shotcrete and to be part of the grouting team, both of which he is certified for by the Swedish Transport Administration.

The course Alaa attended was initiated and financed by the City of Stockholm and the department EfAS. Edvirt is now also running a similar employment program with West Hisingen district in the City of Gothenburg.

“We especially enjoy to hold courses for participants like Alaa, where the course can make a huge difference for individuals. It’s really great to see him at his new job”, says Edvirt’s CEO Tomislav Rogan.


Employment project with City of Gothenburg

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The demand for underground workers in the Swedish mining and tunneling industry is getting bigger and bigger. At present, there are a couple of major projects ongoing, including LKAB’s and Boliden’s mining sites as well as the tunneling projects E4 Stockholm Bypass and the Westlink.  The are also huge projects underway like the Nuclear storage project in Forsmark and the extension of the subway in Stockholm. There is already a shortage of underground workers in the industry and over the next 10 years there will be an even bigger need.

Edvirt has together with the City of Gothenburg entered into a collaboration about the training of 10 unemployed individuals living in the West Hisingen district. The participants are given the opportunity to go through Edvirt’s shotcrete training courses, equipping them with skills for work underground. The courses and training is currently in progress and will include theory, concrete lab tests and shotcrete VR-training. The participants will after the training also do internships at various sites in Sweden.

If you are interested in getting more information, or potentially can offer an internship or a job, please contact:

Tomislav Rogan
Tel. +46 737 66 02 40
Email. tomislav.rogan@edvirt.com

Edvirt in Mongolia

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Edvirt performed shotcrete training in Mongolia for operators working at Rio Tinto, Oyu Tolgoi. The site is a combined open pit and underground mining project. 
The Oyu Tolgoi mining project is expected upon completion to produce 450,000 tonnes of copper and 330,000 oz of gold annually.
Other than operators performing training, Edvirt had a lot of engineers that tested the VR Shotcrete Simulator™.

Eric Odkrans elected to EFNARC Executive Committee

Our Head of Business Development, Eric Odkrans, has been elected to join the EFNARC Executive Committee, which is the governing body of EFNARC.

"I'm happy to join the committee and help Mr. Eckstein and the others. Edvirt has vast experience in shotcrete training and certification, as well as digitalization, so we can hopefully contribute to take EFNARC to the next level." says Eric Odkrans.

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About EFNARC
EFNARC is a not for profit organisation founded in 1989 and comprises Company members and Associate Members from Europe, Asia and Australasia. Its current focus is underground construction technology, particularly in relation to sprayed concrete having launched the Nozzleman Certification Scheme in September 2009.

EDVIRT GEARING UP AFTER MANAGEMENT BUYOUT

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EDVIRT IS A VR AND TRAINING COMPANY TARGETING THE TUNNEL AND MINING INDUSTRY. EDVIRT TRAINS AND CERTIFIES STAFF USING VR TECHNOLOGY. THE COMPANY WILL NOW TAKE THE NEXT STEP IN ITS GROWTH PLAN; HAVING THE MANAGEMENT BUY THE COMPANY, APPOINTING A NEW CEO AND DEVELOP A NEW VR SERVICE.

Eric Odkrans and Petter Börjesson founded Edvirt after studies at Chalmers University of Technology. The company has also been owned by the startup accelerator Chalmers Ventures, as well as the tunneling contractor BESAB.

Edvirt has now been acquired by Eric, Petter and the company's new CEO Tomislav Rogan. The management will change in such a way that the former CEO Eric Odkrans will instead become sales and business development manager, in addition to the role of chairman of the holding company. The new owners will continue to focus on virtual education for the tunnel and mining industry, while expanding Edvirt's service portfolio and presence in existing markets.  The company is, for example, planning the release of a new virtual training service during Q1-2019.

 From left: Petter Börjesson - Technical Manager, Tomislav Rogan - CEO, Eric Odkrans - Head of Business Development 

From left: Petter Börjesson - Technical Manager, Tomislav Rogan - CEO, Eric Odkrans - Head of Business Development 

 

Comment from founder and former CEO, Eric Odkrans

Why are you buying the company?
The main reason is because we believe in the company, both in terms of what we have done so far and the future strategy. Edvirt was founded in 2013 and it has been an incredibly journey. Our spray concrete simulator has gone from being a research project at Chalmers, to a requirement by the Swedish Transport Agency and a national standard in Sweden. We have developed three different products and related services that are today being sold internationally. Furthermore, I am very proud that we have implemented VR in a good way. Many companies seem to only use the technology because it's a "cool thing" - it has added great value for us and our customers.

Edvirt has in a short period of time established itself in the tunnel and mining industry, and we have customers all over the world. Our subsidiary in Australia was started with a minimum budget - and now, after two years, it has already reached break-even. We have developed Edvirt with a strong focus on sales and customer financing and so far we have not received one dime in venture capital – therefore it is even more exciting to show sales of approximately 8.5 MSEK in 2017 and an operating profit of about 1 MSEK. It feels like the right timing to make an ownership change, keep momentum and accelerate forward.

Why the change of CEO?
I am very pleased that Tomislav is joining the team. I have know him since the university and we have worked together before. He is extremely industrious, structured, and capable of leading people. AND we have fun together! Having Tomislav join the team, I will be able to focus more on what I like the most - sales and leading our sales team. We want to increase the company's sales so I think its best if I focus my energy on that.

How will the Board be constitued?
It will change somewhat. In the last two years, Petter Börjesson, Jan E. Liljeqvist, Lars-Göran Dahlqvist and Christian Kleen have served as Board members. I would especially like to thank the last three.

Lars-Göran and Christian at BESAB have also really proven that their company cares about improving the tunnel industry. However, the person who has contributed the most has been a substitute, their CTO, Tommy Ellison, who came up with the idea of spray concrete simulator to begin with. Tommy is a technical genius and a great asset for us and also the entire tunnel industry.

 

Comment from CEO Tomislav Rogan

What happens now?
I have known Eric for many years now and I've followed Edvirts development from the start at Chalmers. I am very happy to take a place in the team and I look forward to have Edvirt gearing up. An exciting time is awaiting, where our focus will be on strengthening our home markets Sweden and Australia, as well as increasing the number of international partners. We are also working on a new virtual training service for the Australian mining industry, which we are looking forward to launch.

Our goal is to grow Edvirt while at the same time maintain good profitability. We all believe in a structure where all owners are active in the company and we hope to take the steps required to reach 20 MSEK in revenues with a profit of 20-25% over the next two years.

 

For more information, please contact

Eric Odkrans
Head of Business Development
Tel: +46 73 766 26 37
Email: eric.odkrans@edvirt.com

EDVIRT AND NCC IN COOPERATION AROUND VIRTUAL TRAINING FOR WEST LINK PROJECT

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NCC'S TUNNEL OPERATORS ARE UNDERTAKING EDVIRT'S DIFFERENT CERTIFICATION COURSES TO BE EQUIPPED FOR THE WEST LINK PROJECT. AS A PART OF THIS, THEIR SHOTCRETE OPERATORS ARE  BEING TRAINED AND TESTED IN VIRTUAL REALITY. 

The West Link project has just received approval and the project has officially started. Together with the German company Wayss & Freytag Ingenieurbau, NCC has been awarded the Korsvägen stage, which is one of the sub-projects with the most work underground in the project. After the summer, this work is expected to begin and until then the tunnel operators need to be fully trained.  

In total, the West Link project's budget is 20 billion SEK. It will be 8 km, whereby 6 km will consist of tunnel and it will include three underground stations. The Swedish Transport Administration has so far procured stages worth 14 billion SEK. NCC has so far been awarded the biggest part, as the contract for Korsvägen is worth about 2.4 million SEK and the new Central station is approximately 4.7 billion SEK. 

As for the E4 Stockholm Bypass project,  the Swedish Transport Administration requires operators who performs spray concrete, grouting and bolting works in the West Link project to be certified. Edvirt and NCC Infrastructure have therefore entered into a cooperation where NCC's tunnel operators will undergo Edvirt's different certification courses.

The concrete spraying certification includes a few days of training and simulator tests, where operators have to prove their skills. During week 21, Edvirt initiated the virtual courses at NCC's facility in Jordbro and their first operators underwent 17 tests in Edvirt's 'VR Shotcrete Simulator ™'.

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For more information contact:

Eric Odkrans
Head of Business Development
Tel: +46 73 766 26 37
Email: eric.odkrans@edvirt.com

 

WTC in Dubai

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Between 21-25th of april, Edvirt, in collaboration with BASF, attended the World Tunnel Congress in Dubai. Edvirt´s own Adrian Hedström held a presentation about sprayed concrete certification training at the ITAtech meeting.
Alot of people also got to try our VR Shotcrete Simulator during the BASF Master Sprayer Competition. We look forward to seeing you again next year in Naples, Italy.

Bergdagarna

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Bergmekanikdagen och Bergteknikdagen (formerly known as BK-dagen) was held at Münchenbryggeriet in Stockholm.
Edvirt had a sucessful exhibition at the event where we had great discussions about concrete spraying and the importance of training.
Congratulations to Anton Lind who won the Master Sprayer Competition and recieved a tablet.

Edvirt in Hong Kong

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Edvirt™ started off the year by making an apperance in Hong Kong to showcase our VR Shotcrete Simulator™ in the asian-pacific region.
The event was organized by BASF and included visits to CIC (Construction Innovation and Technology Application Centre), Paul Y. Engineering and Infinity Lab where the "Golden Nozzle Competition" was held.

We would especially like to thank James Mulholland and Michelle Poulter for organizing this amazing event!

Collaboration with employment agency

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The Unit for External Employer Interaction in Stockholm (EfAS - Enheten för Extern Arbetsgivarsamverkan, Stockholms Stad) is an agency that works with special employment programs and various forms of adult education to give local citizens the opportunity to work, career change and develop in the workplace.

Edvirt has during the autumn collaborated with EfAS in training 9 selected participants with the aim of getting them work in the E4 Stockholm Bypass project. The training included both sprayed concrete and rock grouting courses developed to equip the participants with vital knowledge to work with the processes in the project. The courses included theory, laboratory tests and simulation training. 

Certification at Boliden

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Edvirt® is currently training some operators at Boliden's sites in the Skellefteå area as a part of Boliden's new certification Bergförstärkning med sprutbetong inom Boliden ("Rock support with shotcrete at Boliden"), established together with Edvirt®. The certification courses include theory, lab tests and simulator training and assessments.

Simulator to Hinkley POINT C, UK

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As of early October this year, Bam Nuttall in United Kingdom recieved a 3D Shotcrete simulator™. The simulator is to be used by operators who work on the construction site of Hinkley Point C, a new nuclear power station by EDF Energy.
Bam Nuttall is requiring all SCL operators to pass an on site assessment and Edvirt´s simulation certification program, ESCOT™.
In charge of the training is Malcolm Galvin, SCL General Foreman at BAM Nuttall.

Edvirt at BASF shotcrete workshop

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During 23-25 october Edvirt joined BASF for a sprayed concrete workshop in Switzerland. The workshop was held in Hagerbach Test Gallery, a showcase tunnel for research and development in underground mining. Edvirt had the opportunity to showcase our shotcrete simulator and talk about the importance of training. The event also included cement and accelerator reactivity testing, concrete mixing and a spraying demo with Atlas Copcos ME5.

Training collaboration with Redpath Australia

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We are pleased to announce a training collaboration with Redpath Australia to provide Edvirt’s sprayed concrete operator training courses to their operators. The first training sessions have been conducted at Redpath Australia’s head office in Brisbane during March and April. Additional training courses will be rolled out across a number of Redpath’s Australian projects.

The training consists of a theory and a simulator module and will be integrated into Redpath’s training organisation. Upon satisfactory completion of the course, operators receive the ESCOT™ certificate.

First E4 Stockholm Bypass Sprayed Concrete theory course performed

Shotcrete Theory Course

Edvirt is accredited by the Swedish Transport Administration to run sprayed concrete courses and issue the certificate "Sprutning med sprutbetong inom Trafikverket". The certificate is required for operators that work underground with sprayed concrete in the E4 Stockholm Bypass project. 20 persons attended the first course that was held at SIKA's facilities in Stockholm last week. The course included theory, laboratory tests and simulation training. 

The next course is scheduled for 2-5th of May. If you want to know more or register, please go to http://www.edvirt.com/sprayed-concrete-e4-sthlm-bypas or contact eric.odkrans@edvirt.com

First two E4 Stockholm Bypass grouting courses - Fully booked!

Edvirt is accredited by the Swedish Transport Administration to run grouting courses and issue the certificate "Berginjektering inom Trafikverket". The certificate is required for operators that work underground with grouting in the E4 Stockholm Bypass project. 40 people attended the first two courses that were held at SIKA's facilities in Stockholm last week. Johan Funehag was the course leader and the courses included theory, laboratory tests and simulation training. 

The next courses are scheduled for 24-28th of April. If you want to know more or register, please go to http://www.edvirt.com/sthlm-bypass-injection-cert or contact eric.odkrans@edvirt.com