Early September, during the first autumn thunder storms this year, our electronics lab flooded. Gushes of water poured down from the ceiling right above the shelving that houses the majority of our oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers, function generators and other equipment. Luckily, we detected the flooding quite soon. We’ve spent hours of evacuating equipment with water sloshing around in their inners. After pouring out the majority of the water, placing buckets and having evacuated all important stuff, we immediately began the laborious task of saving our valuable equipment. We took apart all equipment that had come in contact with water. We could hardly walk around anymore without stepping on a PCB, transformer, mechanical assembly, or housing. We had several dehumidifiers running non stop at the highest setting for the next couple of days to get the ambient relative humidity down to around 40% and the temperature up to near 30 °C.
Thus far it seems all equipment has been saved, including all paper labels on equipment and components, which dried up without too much discoloration and without wrinkling or tearing. We’re so lucky that we detected the flooding quite soon, even though it started in the evening after business hours.
However, our electronics lab is still not up. To be precise, most of our business is either shutdown or at reduced capacity. We are the owners of our buildings and thus are responsible repairs. Not only de we have to repair the roof, but also the ceilings, floors, walls, shelving et cetera along three stories. This, combined with moving between storage facilities; updating our ICT infrastructure and internal software; dealing with a world wide pandemic; recovery from a very traumatic experience, and dealing with a burnout really takes it’s toll.
We’re all quite struck by not having our desks and workbenches the way we’re used to and besides doing our regular jobs, also having to do construction work. We simply don’t have the space and resources during this pandemic to just fully clear the affected parts of the building and pay about € 80,000 for construction work to have everything sorted out for us in a month or two. Instead, we're now constantly moving equipment around to have access to damaged areas, taking preventive measures to shield equipment from dust and mold, and doing as much of the construction work ourselves as possible.
Please be patient, while we’re dealing with all of this. We’re sorry we have to divert some calls to our answering machine, can't respond to emails like we used to, or have to say no to a job. We’ve survived worse in the last 20 odd years; like being “Eugened” (a term coined by Louis Rossmann: "a fraudulent or deceptive act or operation especially by a construction company") for € 120,000; or in our first year losing our space without much notice.