The Burning Rag
When I look back, one definitely dangerous situation comes to my mind. It was the day before the Hanover Fair, and we were still in our offices in Trittau. Our metalworker had specially crafted stylish exhibition tables with legs made of aluminum profiles and a chic wooden tabletop. To ensure they could be set up beautifully shining the next day, the tables were polished once again. Naturally, the wood and aluminum parts were treated with different polishes, and because it had to be done quickly, the used rags were thrown into a bucket. Suddenly, we noticed smoke coming from the bucket. We quickly opened the window, and with the rush of air, a flame shot out from the rags. In the next moment, the bucket, along with its contents, flew out of the window. That story has definitely stuck in my mind!
The Forklift Horror
AT has always stood for reliable and, of course, break-resistant products. However, when it comes to our components facing off against a forklift, we admittedly come up short. At least, we had to make this experience with Daimler Chrysler, for whom we had crafted a system for die casting monitoring with great dedication, using our infrared camera. Despite protecting all cables with supposedly indestructible steel pipes and making the control cabinet extremely sturdy overall, it quickly bit the dust after the customer decided to casually push the control cabinet away with a forklift. This action caused a small shock for us at the time, as we had invested an extremely significant amount of time and effort into this project and simply couldn‘t believe the forklift maneuver. Back then, it caused a lot of head-shaking, but today we laugh about it.
AT‘s Crash Pilots
The anecdote that has been circulating at AT for years is the one involving our two founders, Michael Wandelt and André Kasper, who simultaneously wrecked their cars in two different locations, thus immortalizing themselves as the two crash pilots of AT in the company‘s history. I was even present for one of these mishaps. Michael and I were about to leave the Hannover Fair when he realized he had taken the wrong exit in the parking garage. The result was that we got stuck with his wife‘s VW van. So, there was a crunch when going in and a snap when reversing. Around the same time, our CTO knocked over a fuel pump in France while reversing, being momentarily inattentive. Today, we laugh about it, but back then, we were not in the mood for laughter.
In Batman´s Cave
When we still had our offi ce in Trittau, a rather peculiar incident occurred one evening. A few colleagues were busy testing an infrared camera system with ultrasound as the excitation source when suddenly a bat flew into the room through the slightly open window, apparently attracted by the ultrasound. It seems that AT not only attracts attention from industrial customers!
For me, it is an event in the USA that will forever be etched in my memory, as it continues to fill me with a great sense of pride. In September 2012, I flew to Seattle with Michael Wandelt, one of the founders of AT, to present our mobile NDT (Non-Destructive Testing) system, C-CheckIR. At this event, all the key decision-makers from major companies such as Boeing and Airbus were present to listen to our presentation about our so-called „Gecko.“ It seems that we had the right intuition with our mobile NDT solution, as everyone was genuinely impressed. Since then, with the help of our Gecko, material from airplanes has been successfully inspected for potential defects up to this day.
The start of production for our explosion-proof housings for infrared cameras was definitely a milestone for me. In 2012, we received orders for 50 housings, including from a large refinery, which we had to manufacture relatively quickly. To meet the requirements of an explosion protection certification, everything had to be meticulously documented, demanding a lot from us both technically and logistically. The development and production of this product were among the greatest challenges in our early years at AT. However, even then, it was clear that no hurdle was too high to overcome as a team. And this team spirit, by the way, has remained at AT to this day!
Swedish Sushi Trauma
The meeting with FLIR in Stockholm will always be unforgettable for me because our partners in Sweden really pushed us to our limits during this trip, making the night etched in my memory. Starting with a special meal at a sushi bar, we then moved through all the bars in the capital of Sweden. Just when we thought the pub crawl was over around half-past four, we ended up in a Guinness bar for a nightcap. The result was three hours of sleep in the hotel before I was expected by the FLIR board for a presentation at 9 a.m. I managed to deliver the presentation with my last bit of remaining energy. Afterward, nothing brought me more joy than the nearest couch, which I then didn‘t leave for a very long time.