Judges Scientific: GDS Instruments

Former Sales Manager at GDS Instruments, Judges Scientific PLC

Why is this interview interesting?

  • GDS is the global leader for high-end geotechnical instruments
  • It's unlikely another company with the know-how would enter the market given the size and lumpy cash flows
  • Order volume is lumpy given over 80% of revenue is from academic research and there is no maintenance or support revenue
  • The mechanical part of the instrument hasn't changed much in decades
  • One challenge for GDS is expanding sales abroad
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Executive Bio

Takis Halkidis

Former Sales Manager at GDS Instruments, Judges Scientific PLC

Takis is the Former International Sales Manager at GDS Instruments, Judges Scientific's largest portfolio company. He was responsible for selling GDS machines across Europe and the US.Read more

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Interview Transcript

Disclaimer: This interview is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a basis for investment decisions. In Practise is an independent publisher and all opinions expressed by guests are solely their own opinions and do not reflect the opinion of In Practise.

Could you briefly explain the types of products GDS sells?

GDS specializes in geotechnical instrumentation for labs. They make a range of systems which perform standardized tests that target the soil and rock mechanics industries. These tests determine the strength of the soil or rock, either for construction purposes or when academic institutions or R&D analyze the performance under certain circumstances. This may sound generic but it is governed by standards like ASTM or ISO which specify how a range of specialized instruments or systems take samples of soil or rock and subject them to particular loads and forces.

How are the tests run?

Many machines fall under the general category of loading frames, but what goes inside the frame changes. In materials testing you have tensile grips or compression plates which test the standard metal or plastic specimens. GDS uses a cell to emulate true conditions of the specimen in the ground, because it is not enough to simply pull a specimen out of the ground and break it. The materials will be put under tight pressure or inside water, and everything is controlled by a PC running software.

GDS was started decades ago by two professors with extensive industry knowledge. They created one of the first systems to be operated by a PC rather than manually. These tests used to be manual and you would have to open and close several valves to regulate the pressure inside the cell. You had to take loggings by hand on an hourly basis by looking at displacement gauges. Most basic tests like the triaxial test have been around for a long time. GDS made a difference with the evolution of modern technology and pressures are now controlled by a pressure controller connected to a PC, which takes electronic commands rather than manual ones, and regulates the pressures inside the cell. Output from pressure transducers is fed back into the PC, which controls the loop.

Why are GDS’s computer-controlled tests more effective than manual?

You no longer need user intervention to log or adjust pressures manually. You can simply set up the duration of the test and other parameters on your PC, press start and when it finishes, the results are automatically fed back to your PC. The process requires minimal manpower and if you multiply that by the number of machines most labs have, it equates to massive savings for the organization.

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Judges Scientific: GDS Instruments(May 16, 2022)

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