Shining light

As industries get on board with laser technology, Aptella is providing the machines, training and support to meet their needs. By Kerryn Ramsey

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Aptella, an Australian company specialising in laser automation and positioning technology, supports four main industries—geospatial, civil infrastructure, mining and building. While its ever-expanding ranges of products are at the cutting edge of new technology, the company began 16 years ago.

“Aptella started life as a company called Position Partners in 2008 when five state-based companies joined to form a national business,” says David Grabham, national sales manager at Aptella. “Over the years there were more acquisitions and mergers and the company grew and expanded. In late January 2024, we rebranded as Aptella, with more than 350 employees across Australia, South-East Asia and New Zealand.”

LASER ACCURATE
The core of Aptella’s business is the supply, repair and maintenance of construction lasers along with automation and positioning technology in a wide range of markets and industries. This technology is used extensively across the construction industry, making work sites more efficient and measurements more accurate.

“One of our most popular products is the Topcon LN-150 Robotic Set Out Tool that provides 3D positioning,” says Grabham. “Not only does it tell you the height on site, but also your position. Instead of pulling string lines, using tape measures and relying solely on surveyors, the LN-150 automates that process and accurately finds your position on site. It can position the edge of a concrete slab within a couple of millimetres.”

Of course, this type of technology can be confronting to new users. Aptella understands this and provides comprehensive training with all its products.

“We are at the forefront of taking tradies and builders through the journey of technology,” says Ben Deans, Aptella’s customer success manager for wholesale. “We want to ensure all users are confident with the technology and gain maximum benefit from its use. We have a range of lasers suitable for a wide variety of jobs—after all, a plumber needs a very different laser to a tiler. Part of our qualification process is to match the right product to the right customer and their application. We then train each user and provide a remote support service called Tokara.”

Whether you’re using a 3D positioning system or an automated excavator system, Tokara gives the experts at Aptella the power to tap into the controller, take over the screen and help their customers solve any issues.

A GROWING BUSINESS
The success of Aptella in Australia has seen it expand to overseas markets in New Zealand and South-East Asia. Since each market is different, new solutions are required for local situations.

“When we moved into South-East Asia, the first thing we did was utilise a lot of local experience to understand their workflows,” says Grabham. “Not only are there different criteria and processes, but the actual method of building is different. Materials often differ between locations in Australia but those differences were magnified in Asia.”

Aptella already has a number of resellers in Europe. It’s a different landscape there and, once again, the company adapted for differences in processes and materials. While Australia is a big market for Aptella, the overseas market has huge potential and opportunity.

“Our lasers are well known in Europe,” says Deans. “The USA is a market that’s very enticing. There’s no doubt we’ll continue to grow and expand in those directions.”

SOLUTION READY
As laser positioning technology has many benefits for different industries, the uptake has been enormous. From residential building companies, small- and large-scale civil businesses, to giant mining conglomerates, the addition of laser technology is providing cost benefits, improved accuracy and faster completion times.

“The core pillar of our operation is customer service,” says Grabham. “We‘re a business and there’s a transaction that takes place, but we are not a transactional business. Our relationship with our customers is more of a partnership and a collaboration.”

Aptella prides itself in being solution-ready with many different options ready to go. “Whether it’s personnel, products or services, when someone needs assistance, we will find an innovative solution,” says Deans.

INNOVATIVE EDGE
All companies need to innovate and stay one step ahead of the game. Due to the nature of its business, Aptella is always looking firmly towards the future.

“All industries are enthusiastically embracing lasers,” says Deans. “The construction industry in particular has embraced this technology as efficiencies on site are more important than ever. At present, there’s a skilled labour shortage that’s only going to get worse over the next 18 months. This technology is all about finding solutions and navigating a way forward.”

Grabham agrees. “We‘re constantly searching overseas for new products, then testing those products ourselves,” he says. “Aptella’s future is based around our existing infrastructure and the core products we’ve introduced to the industry. Furthermore, we’re committed to maintaining those products and supporting our users. Continual advancements make this an exciting time for laser positioning technology. It’s an efficient and innovative way to find solutions to all kinds of interesting problems.”