Home > Spotlight
SELI’S CUSTOMIZED TUNNEL-EXCAVATION SOLUTIONS WORLDWIDE
The Italian company Seli is the only business in the world of tunneling to provide equipment and specialists as well as offer tunnel construction. Seli, which registered a 165.4 million Euro turnover in 2007 (+15% annually), operates in extreme hydrogeological conditions while guaranteeing maximum compliance with deadlines and operation in complete safety. We asked Remo Grandori, the president of the company, to tell us the full story of this company’s success.
Let’s start with some history: you are at the head of a company more than fifty years old. How did Seli come about?
Seli was founded in 1950 by my father, Mr. Carlo Grandori, with the aim of designing and applying new technology in the construction of tunnels. He wanted, above all, to improve the working conditions, which can be extremely difficult and dangerous, and use advanced machinery to minimize construction time.
What references support the statement that Seli is the most experienced tunnel excavation company in the world?
We are proud to have carried out more than 80 projects excavating with “TBMs”, to have constructed more than 800 km of tunnels and to have a strong presence on the international market, with exports accounting for 60 to 70% of our production. When I say “TBMs”, I mean a type of machinery that, unlike traditional methods, requires no explosive but involves sophisticated, cutting edge equipment called tunnel boring machines, hence the acronym. TBMs allow us to excavate tunnels and apply interior lining at the same time. This ensures the work can be carried out in maximum safety and much more quickly.
Can the type of earth affect how well the TBM can excavate?
Our TBM excavation system has proven to be extremely reliable even when the rock is especially hard and granitic and in the case of water infiltration. In short, Seli can operate in all kinds of hydrogeological conditions, which can often be extremely difficult.
To what extent has your versatility had an effect in acquiring commissions around the world?
It has certainly allowed the company to take part in some important infrastructural projects such as the underground railway system in Athens, Thessaloniki, Sao Paulo, Vancouver and New York, and excavation of the exploration borehole for the Brenner Base Tunnel. We are fortunate to have good steady relations with leading international companies in the industry we can trust and work with on the most demanding projects.
In which countries does the company operate and what work are you now doing?
Seli receives dozens of projects so now works in 25 countries, including Italy, Austria, France, Greece, Portugal, Switzerland, Spain, Turkey, China, Hong Kong, India, Iran, Vietnam, Brazil, Columbia, Equador, Venezuela, Canada and the United States. We have specialized knowledge of public services such as overground and underground railways, aqueducts, sewer system and urban services.
Offering “custom-made” solutions is undoubtedly a key to success. Is your offer standardized or can it be customized according to purchasers’ needs?
Seli’s most salient feature is probably just that – the option of customized solutions. This is what makes us most able to beat the competition. Each excavation project involves research and design focusing on the machine’s construction as well as the actual excavation work. Seli often uses different machinery and equipment according to the size of the excavation site and whether it is intended for railway tracks/roads/plant engineering, and according to geological composition.
Could you give us a few instances of your customized solutions?
As an example, we have invested much over the past two years in the development of a new “TBM Compact” machine suited to working in conditions where the land geology is of such poor quality as to make all work on foot impossible or where the working area is relatively restricted. The vehicle has already been commissioned by two customers – Enel in Italy for its site at Crevola Toce, and a Chilean company who want to create a haulage road at a copper mine.
Which important international partners do you work with?
A strong presence on the international scene and involvement in some of the most important infrastructural projects in the world has naturally lead us to strengthen new markets by opening new branches in the areas of greatest potential development (such as India, China and North America) and to establish stable relations with leading businesses in the industry, such as Odebrecht (Brazil), Aesek (Greece), Snl Lavalin (Canada), Kiewit (USA), HCC (India), Dragados (Spain), Ilci (Turkey), Vinci and Bouyges (France), and esteemed Italian groups such as Impregilo, Maire and Trevi.