Focusing on the customer

The international nature of steinexpo has increased continuously. This is not only the result of targeted measures by the organizers. Many exhibitors utilized the show as an opportunity to invite international customers and to present their range of products. So at this year’s steinexpo Sandvik have also organised another international customer day for the 4th September 2014 for interested parties from all over Europe, Russia, CIS, North and South Africa.

“There is no fair in the world which generates quite such a personal atmosphere in the industry as steinexpo. This trade fair immediately makes its visitors from the raw materials and construction industry feel at home. The show simulates a work environment, a visitor can see the equipment and machinery up close and in live demonstrations”, stated Michael Brookshaw, Distributor Manager EMEA for Sandvik Construction Mobile Crushers & Screens Ltd. at the steinexpo press conference (Fig. 1). “As an exhibitor this proves very positive as we have seen many cases of a prospective buyer watching the demonstration and being able to pose us very specific questions.”

At their steinexpo stand Sandvik celebrated several world premi­eres, e.g. the launch of two new models from the Sandvik Mobiles area: the UH450E mobile crushing and screening machine and the QA441 double deck doublescreen system (Fig. 2). Additionally the company presented on an exhibition area of 3600 m² and with almost 50 different exhibits a full product offering for the extraction and processing of primary and secondary materials: including the all new patented Sandvik CH540 cone crusher (Fig. 3). From the breakers the company hosted the global product launch of the Rammer Boom B300 and from the drill rigs the new Dino DC400R (Fig. 4) as well as the new +T51 from the tools and consumables range.

Also present at the steinexpo was Dinggui Gao, President of Sandvik Construction since October 2013 (Fig. 5). Ulrike Mehl, editor of the AT MINERAL PROCESSING, took the opportunity to talk to him about the requirements with regard to Sandvik as a worldwide operating company in global competition.

AT MINERAL PROCESSING: Sandvik was founded in 1862 – this company has now been in operation for more than 150 years. What is the recipe for success?

Dinggui Gao: In the first place, – right from the beginning and thus traditionally – Sandvik has been a very innovative company. In the past, Sandvik developed innovative solutions and products for our customers and it still does so today.

Secondly, Sandvik attaches great importance to training and support of its employees. In my opinion, we have a very good team - not only in product development, but also in production and sales. I consider this to be one of Sandvik’s plus factors, which will further develop the company even in the decades to come.

And thirdly, the company has developed further right from the beginning, along with the societal requirements - currently this also applies to sustainability and environmental awareness. In any case, Sandvik has a solid base for continued success. Our company employs 47 000 people worldwide. Imagine what we can achieve with such a manpower in our branch of industry!

AT MINERAL PROCESSING: steinexpo started in 1990. Since when has Sandvik been an exhibitor at this trade fair?

Dinggui Gao: Since 1990, Sandvik has been exhibitor at this very special fair. We appreciate this setting of a real-world working environment in a quarry. One can see the machines in operation (Fig. 6) while talking to other industry experts and discussing the latest developments. Moreover, the fair provides the optimum environment to meet customers, discus solutions for their individual requirements and for successful sales talk.

AT MINERAL PROCESSING: Do you think the business has changed a lot during the last 10 or 20 years?

Dinggui Gao: The business world has changed tremendously in the last decade. When I started my career at the beginning of the 1980s, industry was totally different. The borders of the countries were not as open as they are today and communication - at least in writing - went the old-fashioned way by letter or telefax. And then, we were outrun by technological advances and globalization of the economy with regard to production and trade as well as communication and networking of the whole world which closed ranks. Today we communicate with business partners across the globe in a matter of seconds.

We experience an incredible development on all continents. Twenty or thirty years ago, nobody imagined that China, India or even Brazil would have developed into such economic powers. And there is an enormous potential even in Africa, in particu­lar with regard to urbanization and thus to the building sector.

However, competition among one another has heated up. But in this way, our work has become even more exciting - you have to be vigilant about opportunities and you must become more innovative. For me, managing the global business portfolio of Sandvik is very interesting (Fig. 7). It is all about balancing which is the best technology for which business unit, and the optimum organization of Sandvik’s divisions.

AT MINERAL PROCESSING: In which product sectors do you see potential for growth or development?

Dinggui Gao: When we talk about growth in our branch of industry, we talk about infrastructure. And in particular in Germany, the government is currently spending money on the reconstruction of roads or bridges. Measures designed to improve the infrastructure will have a positive effect on our business. However, it is difficult to decide which segment provides more potential. Usually, this is a very dynamic development.

In any case, there is potential in the development of smart machines. Today, we think about unmanned quarries and mines, with smart machine controls and fully mechanized mining procedures.

AT MINERAL PROCESSING: What makes Sandvik products so special? In what way do the Sandvik products differ from those of your competitors?

Dinggui Gao: In my opinion, it is the absolute customer proximity that distinguishes us from our competitors. In direct dialogues, our employees learn what the customer needs, and then it is our task do develop and offer the respective solution. A good example for this is the current launch of our new mobile crushing and screening machine UH450E at the steinexpo (Fig. 8). This machine has been designed in response to customer demands. Its design combines the CH440 Cone with a banana-styled main screen for high capacity accurate screening together with a recirculating conveyor. This unit is the ideal choice for the production of the highest quality end products.

Both the cone and screen have many alternative settings and optional crushing chambers and screening media, which makes the unit very flexible and useful in many applications. It can work both as a secondary and tertiary crusher for the production of highest quality end products in extremely accurate fractions. Thanks to the advanced automation controls this unit is capable of very high capacities of fine fractions e.g. 300 t/h of calibrated asphalt fractions conforming to shape requirements.

AT MINERAL PROCESSING: Could you tell us something about the amount or the level of the investment in research and development at your company?

Dinggui Gao: We invest about 3 % of our revenues in research and development. This is standard in this branch of industry. However, it is important to ask in which kind of technology and products will be invested to be able to meet the customers’ requirements. As far as this is concerned - and as I mentioned before – when it comes to research and development the focus of the company is always on the customer. Another important issue is certainly the technological trend towards the smart quarry in which centrally controlled machines ensure the trouble-free mining of the raw materials, since the utilization and the control of fully-automated equipment in the quarry or in surface mining not only increases safety, but also the efficiency of raw material production.

Thank you very much for the informative interview.


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