Dedicated to the finish
In 2017 Mirka – a world leading abrasives manufacturer – announced that it had acquired Italian superabrasives company Cafro. The acquisition was in line with Mirka’s strategy, which is to expand its offering into the precision manufacturing industry. Superabrasives are solutions where materials such as diamond and CBN (Cubic Boron Nitride) are used for extremely demanding and precise finishing of hard surfaces.
Marketing Director Nina Nyman is in charge of the integration of Cafro into Mirka’s operations, and according to her, everything goes according to plan.
“Culturally Mirka and Cafro were a great match, as both companies were family-owned. The acquisition of Cafro supports a megatrend in our industry, i.e. that surface finishing becomes ever more demanding and precise.”
In addition to the acquisition of Cafro, Mirka has also taken other measures in order to expand its product offering. Alongside the abrasives materials that Mirka has produced since the start over 70 years ago, the company nowadays also produces the tools the abrasives are used with.
“The tools are becoming increasingly important and it is an area in which we invest heavily. This means that we offer complete solutions and problem solving rather than just single products,” states CEO Stefan Sjöberg.
Mirka has, for example, developed a robot sanding tool which doesn’t need manual handling, and which therefore can be used in high-tech factories. When it comes to hand tools, Mirka’s aim is to develop them further in order to enhance the working conditions and ergonomics of the people using them.
“If you work eight hours straight with a tool, it is of great importance how much the tool weighs and how it fits into your hands,” explains Sjöberg.
The fact that Mirka recently won the Red Dot Design Award for one of its tools, explains just how much effort is put into the tool design. The award-winning tool called AOS-B is the smallest battery-driven spot repair sander on the market and it is designed with ergonomics as a priority. This was already the second time that one of Mirka’s tools won the Red Dot Design Award. Mirka has always been a company investing heavily in product development. Consequently, the company has become the forerunner of innovative solutions in the industry today. Mirka’s biggest invention of all times was dust-free sanding – a concept which was launched at the turn of the millennium that competitors have tried to copy ever since.
“Dust-free sanding is another example of how we want to promote a healthy working environment. Traditional sanding can be quite messy and it is not particularly healthy to inhale the air in a collision repair workshop where damaged cars are sanded,” explains Sjöberg.
A person working in a cleaner and more ergonomic environment is of course also more likely to do his or her job in an efficient way. Increasing numbers of companies realise this and Mirka’s products are therefore sold all over the world.
As Mirka is growing rapidly, the company has a constant need for new employees. One common challenge in such a situation is to make sure that company culture is maintained. Mirka has therefore invested a great deal in training the staff not only in working methods and safety, but also in the company culture and values.
“One of our core values is a constant strive for improvement. This is exactly the mentality that created dust-free sanding and thereby solved the greatest problem in our industry – managing dust,” says Sjöberg.