PET-ECO – An offer you can’t refuse

Seeing the stunning low entry price of the PET ECO probably made you wonder why we try so hard? Well …. It all started at Piletest 20 years ago when testing a finished pile was complex, whether you have tried using low strain NDT methods or heavy weight load testing.

Both methods where complex enough and expensive enough to justify testing only a few or one pile per site.  This was not a very logical thing as the fault in a pile were by nature more likely due to human error, with very low correlation with the soil structure, which was the common thing among the piles. It was clear that it’s only when we will be able to drive the requirement to test 100% of the piles, only then we will be able to reach the reliable safety level Civil Engineering is striving to reach.

This made it clear that the goal should be creating a very simple, fast and therefore low cost test method, which should enable testing 100% of the piles on a site. This kept Piletest engineering to strive for a simpler operation of its pile test systems, and continually use new technologies to come with a lower entry price point systems to enable the growth of the market in third world countries as well as in industrialized ones. In countries like the UK or Hong Kong, this assumption has proven correct as the penetration of low strain NDT pile tests has become more and more popular while the cost per pile dropped continuously and the percentage of piles being tested on site continues to grow rapidly year by year.


To drive the entry price even lower, we had to use a financial tool. We had these four options: Heavy discount, Instalments, Rental, or Pay per pile.

In addition, one must understand that Piletest sells its equipment to 100 countries around the world, which makes the financing aspect very fragile in many far countries and thus requires us to use strict policy of advance payments.

The option to rent the equipment (Rental) can be very complex when operating internationally. This is mainly due to shipping cost and custom aspects, which eventually makes rental not relevant in most countries. The only way to make rental work financially is by having a local operation per country which again reduces the effective coverage worldwide. Actually, we only have rental service in the USA, a large size market with zero custom issues. Even under these favorable conditions, rental is economical only for the more expensive equipment like the CHUM, which justifies the high rental fees.

Another option for reducing cost is the broot force – Heavy discount. Yet this is not a long term strategy which one can justify as it dramatically reduces our margins which makes the solution uneconomical


Instalments sounded like a great way to go and yet the credit aspects in each country is different. Some may have credit cards instalments option, yet they are usually not for international deals. Actually, this could be an option the local reseller may apply depending on his financial backing,

This narrowed it down to a pay per pile solution which we are now learning as we go.

This is a solution similar to SaaS (Software as a Service) by which users pay for the usage of the software and do not own it. They may download it or parts of it, yet they use it for a limited time or capacity, depending on what they paid for in advance. It is also called a pre-pay service, and is common among cellular service operators.

Doing the same with a hardware device is a bit more complex. By making some adjustments, we were able to count the number of pile tests and thus charge per use. Since this is an offline service by definition, it was clear that one would be required to preload the device with a fixed amount of usage/service which in our case is measured by a number of piles tested.

A test was another thing that needed a clear definition. We have defined the counted test for the usage counter as follows:

When you press [SAVE] on the PET operation software, for the first time the usage counter decreases by one. Note that additional [SAVE] for editing does not activate the usage counter.

Once we had the technical aspects resolved, we were able to present the product/service.

The $1500 before customs and fees makes a very aggressive entry price of a pile integrity testing device like PET. The solution allows for new testers to enter the market, even with a small project and allow them to make a reasonable risk when purchasing the PET ECO.

It also allows them to pay for the usage as they grow their market and keep on purchasing additional usage by paying online for additional 200 tests at a time.

This business model has an additional great advantage when calculating the cost per pile for the tester. As the price per pile of the PET equipment is known and fixed in advance.

We believe all these advantages of the PET ECO make it attractive for small consulting and testing operations, in the pile testing market.

Larger companies in the testing and consulting service will find the PET ECO less economical in the long run. This is because the annual test they perform is large enough to drive the cost per pile from a repurchased PET USB, lower than what the PET ECO offers. Also, consider the fact that PET lifetime cycle, can access 10 years.


PET ECO cost per pile = $1500/100tests = $15 cost per pile

And when buying more test its even lower

Additional 200 tests for $900 = $4.5 cost per pile

For large companies averaging 300 pile test a month or 3600 a year

$8700/3600tests = $2.4 cost per pile

And of course, it keeps on dropping further as the usage increases

Bottom line

Hence, if you are a new player in the market, whether a small test and consultant shop, or large company trying to initiate a new department and you wish to penetrate the testing market at a low upfront cost/investment with lower financial risks, PET ECO is the right choice for you. However, if you are targeting over 3000 pile test annually then the PET USB is a better solution financially.


1 comment

Jannina campos

We are interested knowing more about the equipment to inspect piles

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