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Luís Abrantes n. Innovation, Creativity and Knowledge

15 June 2011 No Comment

We could talk about his training in Mechanical Handling, his professional experience or the exemplary way he leads a team. However, what really stand out in Luís Abrantes are his efficient gadgets and his enjoyment in searching for solutions in technical manuals, in order to repair machinery failures.  At 41, this workshop supervisor of Mota-Engil Engenharia appears as a simple man but with a thirst for knowledge so clear that it rubs off on anyone who talks to him. Some of his inventions, which are practical and very cheap, since he reuses spare parts of other machines in order to build new ones, are certified and there’s even a brand that has already copied one of its devices. “The machine that loosens hydraulic jacks has fascinated the Caterpillar operators who came to the site. After using it a few times, they asked me if they could copy it.” He offered his idea for free, since his motto is to learn and share knowledge. The generators testing unit is probably one of the most important equipment he ever created within Mota-Engil. “Like all inventions, this machine also emerged from a need. We have a fleet of generators that we rent for works and actually the machines that came out from here were working correctly and soon after they broke down at work for some reason. We had to find a way to send equipment and forget them, or else we wouldn’t do anything but to repair the generators. So I decided to find a way to test the generators, which I achieved through a practical and inexpensive invention. With this unit we could generate an output protocol, which means that we know how this machine leaves the Porto Alto site because everything is verified and recorded in detail, therefore, if it fails it is because it is not being used properly. Moreover, when the machine comes back into the Porto Alto site, we obtain its usage history and, if the equipment has lost some ability, we know where to act so as to restore the machine’s full activity. “There is a spark in his eyes when he talks about his work that rubs off on other people and makes them want to know more about his ideas put into practice. This also enables Mota-Engil to avoid having always recourse to maintenance done by the equipment brands. Luís Abrantes is always looking for knowing more and better, which cannot be obtained only through the many manuals he reads. “When I came to Mota-Engil, I brought some knowledge and even now I still cannot stop studying. I’m addicted. I also have my team and I am proud to have achieved the respect of all those who work under my guidance. I highly value my staff and I usually say that it is the staff that makes a good boss. We may have a broad knowledge, but we are nothing without our team and the background. We can’t respond alone.” Luís believes that it is essential to learn with the fellow colleagues. As a leader, he says he never raised his voice and, despite all his responsibilities, he claims that he is a colleague because “if needed, I’ll do the same as they do, I don’t confine myself to commanding.” The mobile phone is a central tool, since the team is many times at work explaining what is going on with a machine while Luís is at the Porto Alto site looking for the possible cause of the failure in the manuals. “Making a diagnosis yet on paper is what I try to do so the next step is only to identify the part and to fix it. We should not handle anything without knowing what we are doing. It is usually a simple breakdown, so making a root and branch diagnosis may solve most of the problem.”  We could almost write a book about Luís Abrantes, whose disorganised desk does not reflect at all the determined and focused person he is. However, his life goals are quite simple: to continue learning, teaching, repairing failures (preferably very complicated ones) and of course creating new machines!