VOL. 9 March ISSUE YEAR 2008


in Vol. 9 - March Issue - Year 2008
Another Major Restructuring In The Metallic Abrasives Industry: BK Koch Now Controlled By The Ervin & Frohn Coalition

In the Spotlight

In the Spot Light: Frohn, founded in 1952
Rounded Cut Wire for Shot Peening Applications:
Frohn is N°1 World Wide, with industrial operations in Europe, North and South America (USA and Brazil), and sales all over the world.

Stainless Steel Abrasives:
Frohn is the largest distributor World Wide of Stainless Steel media, covering over 60 countries.

Frohn R&D: a sustained effort of research and development, amongst the largest one in the metallic abrasives industry, leads to a consistent innovation flow.
Fohn operates its own sophisticated manufacturing technology, far better than any other producer, enabling Frohn to lead the game in quality and costs.

Business Model:
Frohn is focused where the quality requirements are meaningful, the customer processes demanding and complex, the stakes high.

Commercial Offer:
Frohn provides excellence from manufacturing to supply chain, at a competitive price.

Long Term focus:
Frohn is a family owned company, not in the hands of private equity funds seeking primarily a short term return on their investment.

Frohn is a secure partner for its customers.

In the Spot Light: ERVIN INDUSTRIES, founded in 1920

High Carbon Steel Abrasives:
Ervin is N°1 in North America and the N°2 World Wide as well as in Europe. Ervin operates two industrial facilities in the US and one in the UK. Ervin Amasteel is the largest metallic abrasives selling brand world wide.

Stainless Steel Abrasives:
Ervin is N° 2 World Wide. Ervin operates one industrial facility in Germany. Amacast and Amachrome are the Stainless steel media products.

The famous Ervin Technology Tecumseh Center is the most advanced and by far the largest and most sophisticated R&D center in the entire Metallic Abrasives industry with leading-edge atomizing technologies and resources, some coming directly from the space and military sectors. Ervin is, for instance, the only manufacturer in this industry to have mastered technology such as RSR (rapid solidification rate), which enables production of particles, near perfect spherical shape, with amorphous metal structures and perfectly uniform chemistry.

Business Model:
Ervin’s business model is simple and efficient: advanced technology, superior quality, straightforward marketing. 

Commercial Offer:
Ervin’s customers enjoy the best value for price and know what they buy: no deceptive multi branding, life and transmitted energy can be measured in their premises by mobile Ervin Testers to demonstrate the superior quality.

Long Term focus:
Ervin is a family owned company, not in the hands of private equity funds seeking primarily a short term return on their investment.

Ervin sides with the customers:
Ervin is long term orientated, trying harder for the customer, protecting and securing their needs.

The wave of changes taking place in the Metallic Abrasives industry has accelerated in 2007. The Frohn-Ervin coalition now controls BK Koch, the second largest stainless steel abrasives producer in Europe.

BK Koch is located in Germany, 35 km east of Cologne and was founded in 2001. The company produces stainless steel abrasives media, both Nickel Chromium and Chromium based particles, manufactured according to a proprietary technology. BK Koch is distributed throughout Europe and has enjoyed a strong growth in the past two years. The company has been facing the challenges of expanding export sales while the raw material prices, Nickel in particular, were very instable in 2006 and 2007.

The acquisition by Ervin Industries Inc provides BK Koch the strong support of the second largest world wide player in the Metallic Abrasives Industry, and access to powerful industrial resources, technological know how and cutting edge RD capabilities. Frohn GmbH will become BK Koch products largest distributor, selling the stainless steel media through its existing distribution channels in Europe, South America and other export destinations; these first class sales networks will give BK Koch products an immediate and direct link to most stainless steel applications and customers.

Steve Cowling, Ervin Amasteel Managing Director stresses the following points: “BK Koch acquisition is a turning point in many instances. We will enable a fast and global development of this company, based on the founding principles of Ervin: superior quality, productivity and efficiency of customer’s operations. The Frohn-Ervin coalition gathers the two best players in their respective categories, and will promote a new and wider offer, based on more value and genuine respect for customers. This signals a new era in the European Metallic Abrasives Industry order”.

Peter Beckmerhagen, Frohn Gmbh Geshaftführer, emphasizes that: “BK Koch will quickly benefit from the rule of excellence on which our business is built. Being associated with Ervin and Frohn is a greatly reliable passport and will open many doors, with a wider and innovative range of material. Furthermore combining our metallurgical and application related expertise will contribute tremendously to better serve industries and customers. This move will speed up Frohn global development in emerging markets and will further strengthen our positions in Europe”.

For Erwan Henry, Ervin Commercial director “This demonstrates that a critical mass is necessary to better tackle the challenges of the Gobal Economy, and it will have a huge impact on BK Koch business. The Frohn-Ervin coalition is also a smart and creative move to combine forces and better match customer’s expectations in quality and innovation. This alliance will show in the near future that resolved strategies, new models of operation and honest marketing can rock the Metallic Abrasives Industry old order”

The stainless steel particles are produced by atomization of molten steel, with proper metallic addition of Nickel (6% to 10%), Chromium(16% to 20%), and also Silicon (about 2%) and Manganese (about 1%) etc... The carbon content is low at about 0,2%. The micro-structures are Austenitic (Chromium and Nickel) or Martensitic (Chromium only). The shot hardens during the blasting operation up to 48 HRC or 200 HV1. Typically the particle size ranges from 0,1 to 2 mm diameter. Key know how is in the atomization itself, which is confined and gas atomized to obtain more compact and robust particles.

Cast stainless shot is used for cleaning, deburring, descaling and surface finishing of a wide variety of Aluminium and other non ferrous alloys castings and parts, whenever a bright, metallic looking finish, stain and corrosion free from ferrous residue, is requested. It often replaces corundum for a number of technical and environmental reasons, also providing a far longer life of the operating mix and much lower wear parts consumption.

The stainless steel abrasives market is rather concentrated: the main players are Vulkan Inox belonging to a private equity fund, Ervin, BK Koch, and a couple of secondary producers considering those media by-products issued from multi-purpose water atomizing stations. There is obviously a promising industrial synergy between Ervin and BK Koch, which will immediately benefit from all Ervin Technologies famous Research Center resources located in Tecumseh Michigan.

The Ervin-Frohn coalition will certainly generate a new and interesting business model in this rather traditional industry, and this will benefit all stainless steel end-users who will have a wider choice and access to cutting edge innovation.

For Information:
Tel. +49.2352.9281-0