VOL. 17 July ISSUE YEAR 2016
in Vol. 17 - July Issue - Year 2016
Innovating For The Customers
Stephen Gobby, Group CEO of GMA Garnet Group
GMA will be launching new products for the surface preparation industry that will simultaneously enhance technical performance & increase productivity
The company's garnet range for waterjet cutting applications is trusted by major waterjet cutting manufacturers and users around the world
GMA's recent exploration programme in Western Australia has confirmed that the mine will continue to produce at current annual production levels for several more decades
GMA Garnet (GMA) has spent over 30 years establishing itself as the global leader in the garnet abrasive market. GMA not only mines, processes and distributes garnet for the surface preparation and waterjet cutting industries, but also leads the way in garnet recycling. GMA is the only garnet abrasive producer to own and manage its entire supply chain from start to finish. At the helm of this unique organisation is Group CEO Stephen Gobby, who shares with MFN the company's outlook and customer-focused initiatives for the future.
(?) MFN: As the global leader in the garnet abrasive market over the past 30 years, how does GMA maintain its market position?
(!) S. G.: To start with, we offer a very pure, high performance product and we ensure that the same exceptional quality is produced and delivered every single time. Our product is known for its natural hardness, durability and abrasive characteristics, resulting in the perfect formula to achieve optimum abrasive efficiency. Due to faster cleaning and lower consumption rates, it is a cost-effective alternative to silica sand, mineral slags, steel grit and shot, providing a safer and more productive blasting abrasive.
Our garnet range for waterjet cutting applications is trusted by major waterjet cutting manufacturers and users around the world. The high purity of the garnet and accurate sizing of grains enable a steady flow of garnet, free of blockages through the focusing tube. This minimises machine downtime and lowers repair and maintenance costs.
Our global distribution network, comprising both GMA-owned warehouses and long-term distribution partners, are strategically located across major continents and in close proximity to where our customers operate. Therefore, we deliver our products to our customers with the shortest delivery timelines and we have a strong track record of reliably delivering a high-quality product to our customers.
Equally important is the customer service and technical support GMA provides. We have always focussed on passionately meeting our customer needs and proactively responding to technical challenges. Over the decades, we have built long-term business relationships and strong partnerships with our customers in the abrasive blasting and waterjet cutting industry.
However, we do not want to be complacent. We need to be in tune with what our customers need today and be able to think ahead to what they might need in the future, given our customers really are the heart of our business.
(?) MFN: What are your initiatives and key focuses in the coming months?
(!) S. G.: We're focused on developing our new supply sources and continually innovating with new products as we evolve and grow our global business into new regions and end market applications.
Over the last 12 months, we have worked towards expanding our annual production of garnet abrasive to meet the growing needs of our global customer base. This will ensure that our consistent, high quality garnet will always be readily available, ensuring that our orders will continue to be met with the shortest delivery lead times.
We have made significant investments to improve and upgrade our production facilities through developing and adopting innovative new processing methods and technologies. We are committed to continuing as the leader in the garnet industry with the most advanced and effective processing methods.
Our continuous focus on innovation is culminating in the launch of new products for the surface preparation and waterjet cutting industries. These products will simultaneously enhance technical performance and increase productivity. This will open up opportunities for customers to use garnet in applications where they previously had to use traditional, less efficient abrasive products. The addition of these new products will allow us to provide an extended range of mesh sizes to meet our customer's entire abrasive requirements.
(?) MFN: Besides product innovation, has GMA also developed technological solutions?
(!) S. G.: We constantly challenge ourselves to think ahead and develop new ways to improve the value we provide to our customers. Being innovative in everything we do has always been in the DNA of the Group.
In 2011, GMA developed the first Abrasive Blasting Calculator App in the industry. This user-friendly tool was designed to assist project estimators and contractors compare the true cost of blasting. The cost calculator generates the total cost per m² or ft² of surface area blasted, taking into account the total abrasive consumed and the total time to complete a given project. The true cost includes not only the abrasive, but also the cost of disposal, labour and equipment hire. The Abrasive Blasting Calculator App effectively demonstrates the superior blasting and economical performance of GMA Garnet™ compared to other abrasives.
(?) MFN: What is GMA's approach to disposal of abrasive waste?
(!) S. G.: As garnet is a non-renewable resource, we searched for solutions to maximise the life span of this precious mineral and reducing our customers' waste management burden by creating a sustainable product life cycle. GMA Garnet abrasives can be recycled five to 10 times depending on the application, due to its superior toughness and low friability.
To date, we have made significant investments in the design and development of large-scale garnet recycling facilities in Italy, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and we are currently constructing our largest facility yet in the United States of America. These facilities provide our customers with an environmentally friendly solution to dispose of used garnet responsibly. We have also worked alongside local authorities around the world to develop garnet recycling and waste minimisation programmes.
(?) MFN: As the garnet mineral is a non-renewable resource, will be there be a possibility that there may be a shortage in supply in the future and how does GMA ensure that this product will be available for years to come?
(!) S. G.: Customers can be secure in the knowledge that we have a growing and certain source of garnet supply for their business. Our recent exploration programme and long-term mine planning in Western Australia has confirmed that the mine will continue to produce at current annual production levels for several more decades.
We have also acquired additional garnet resources in other parts of the world. This is in line with our strategy to expand our production, enabling GMA to offer a complete range of high-quality alluvial and crushed garnet to meet all our customers' requirements.
Around the world, GMA's products are preferred by leading companies that use garnet abrasives for surface preparation, waterjet cutting and precision cutting applications in specialised industries such as automation, aerospace and broader industrial manufacturing.
The product is used as a blast cleaning abrasive in various industries and is approved by major oil companies, shipyards and major paint manufacturers.
It is suitable for all areas of surface preparation, especially stainless steel, anti-magnetic steel and all specialty alloys as it is free of metallic iron.
Specially fine grades of GMA Garnet™ abrasive are also available for aluminium, turbine blades, fibreglass and other unique surface preparation applications.
MFN would like to thank Stephen Gobby for this interview!