Interview with Mark McConway, Managing Director, WEB Systems International: “Make in India is a great initiative, providing us with support when needed”

Mark McConway, Managing Director, WEB Systems International

What has been the experience in the Indian market? What are the opportunities under Make in India?

Immersing ourselves in the Indian market has been a steep but exhilarating learning experience. Although well established in other parts of the world, the idea of using modern access methods to allow safe work at heights is still novel for India. This means that huge swathes of the industry must be taken from unawareness of the general issues associated with working at heights to modern safety standards and ultimately to the final decision of choosing WEB Rigging Systems International. Some of the biggest names in various industrial sectors have been eager to listen to what we have to say, and to engage with us in trial projects. At least one organisation, respected worldwide, is now a bona-fide customer in the steel industry. This could increase awareness and drive the adoption of our unique suspended access systems and dropped object protection solutions.

Make in India is a great initiative, providing us with support when needed. One of the most significant opportunities to come from this initiative is the support for grant applications. Our commitment to IP development and protection would be an expensive challenge without the Make in India support.

How are the company’s solutions and offerings for optimising projects?

If you compare WEB Systems, particularly our WEB Deck suspended access system against traditional methods of access, like scaffolding, it scores well on several fronts. The system should be seen as complementary to scaffolding rather than as its competitor. Think about it this way: If you have an asset that was built inside a steel plant maybe 100 years ago, the chances are that other buildings or roads have been constructed around it over the years. This fact alone would make the use of scaffolding a challenging choice as it has to be built from the ground up. It might even mean closing a busy road or a rail line beneath it. With WEB Deck, that problem goes away. The system is fitted from above by abseilers or “rope-access” operatives. Regardless of the height the installation, you will only ever require one slim-line layer of decks attached to steel ropes and held securely in place with pick-up chains. The system can be rapidly installed, allowing customers to expedite their inspection or maintenance tasks.

What are the measures being taken towards sustainability?
WEB Deck is already making a contribution towards sustainability. Since it is far lighter than scaffolding, it creates less impact, from a carbon footprint point of view, when it is being transported. Internally, our research and development teams are constantly looking at ways to reduce the number of components and, incorporate more environmentally friendly materials in manufacturing in the future.

What are some of the other innovations that can be expected in the future?
In the next few years, we expect to see new smart technologies used in conjunction with WEB Systems. We are already in the process of introducing radio frequency identification tracking into the decks and nets. This will allow a much more efficient collection of data regarding how and when the systems are being used. This will be particularly beneficial for ensuring the precise adherence to inspection and maintenance regimens.