“We have consolidated our presence in India with the appointment of Sahara Enterprises.”

Interviews post authorEliza Bhalerao 28 May 2021

“We have consolidated our presence in India with the appointment of Sahara Enterprises.”

Henning Hiller-Steckel,
Sales and Marketing Director,
CORODUR Fülldraht GmbH – Das ORIGINAL

CORODUR GmbH focus is on the production of high quality welding consumables for wear surfacing for almost 30 years. How has been the journey so far?  

CORODUR has been in continuous production for 35 years and it has been an incredible story of growth such that today our reach extends right across the globe. Diversification has been a key strategy so that we have been able to manage the business growth and mitigate risks associated with single-sector dependence.

Could you brief us on the range of products? Any recent product developments / launches?

We have an extremely active R&D department and today we have more than 800 different products and sizes in the portfolio. Over a 35-year period, that represents a formidable rate of product development. Our principal areas of specialization include Hardfacing, Repair and Maintenance and we would say that in the area of Hardfacing we have constantly pushed the envelope to create a clear lead that field. Unlike many other manufacturers, we do not try to be “all things to everybody”. We have a very clear focus, are concentrated on our core competence and that is to be the very best in our very specific areas of activity.

Our product range includes special welding alloys for Work Hardening, Impact Resistance, Tool Steels, Abrasion Resistance, Cobalt-based Alloys, Nickel-based Alloys, Cast Iron, Tungsten Carbide and a range of Special Steel and Adapted Alloys.Recent development is our CORODUR 620 ES ECO coming free of nickel and chrome.

We have known that the company’s product development takes place at its own laboratory and also in collaboration with universities and technical institutes. Please elaborate.

To be a Leader, CORODUR must also be an Innovator and for that, having our own product research and development facility is key. We also partner with ‘Centres of Excellence’ around the world to ensure that we create the correct solutions. This includes renowned technical institutes in Germany and overseas, as well as the laboratories and field-testing centres of major industrial entities. This gives us unparalleled access to data essential to create the leading edgeindustry-specific solutions for which we are famous. Furthermore this enables us to develop special customized products inhouse.
Besides, products that have been in operation for 30 years are so constantly being further developed and updated.

Could you describe us on your state-of-the-art production facilities? Any expansion plans?

CORODUR production technology is proprietary and protected know-how. We focus on three things: Quality of Strip, Quality of Ingredients and Quality of Manufacture. We never compromise on Quality and our answer to inevitable price competition is to offer better and better products and drive the market expectation higher and higher. We design and build our own wire producing equipment and create our own alloys. This allows us to constantly review and perfect solutions – sometimes on the fly if that is what it takes. Currently we produce wires exclusively at our Willich plant in Germany. Expansion plans include new production lines and the establishment of forward supply bases in several key parts of the world – especially within the Asia-Pacific, which constitutes a major growth area for us.

Which are your targeted industries and countries so far?

We cover all of the major process industries including Cement, Power, Iron & Steel, Oil & Gas, Petrochemicals, Mining & Tunneling, Pulp & Paper, Agribusiness and many others. We manage distribution by region and systematically target those countries most actively engaged in process engineering. We are truly global in outlook and presence.

Can you describe on some of the projects that Corodur has worked upon?

As a manufacturer supplying globally through a network of distribution as well as direct selling, we engage with projects through our global partners generally and only occasionally directly with project owners. For projects we consider key to our future product development, we do deploy our own industry specialists around the world to engage, recommend and assist the project team partly to educate and partly to learn. This strategy is especially important in the creation of new solutions. It may interest you to know that CORODUR R&D creates a new solution to a new industry problem on an average monthly basis!

Examples of such projects include joint development of a new hardfacing with one of Europe’s largest miners; a new solution for dredging Australia’s sandy ports and; development of a new high impact/high abrasion alloy for one of Asia’slargest cement producers.

Our projects are as diverse as they are complex, especially where multiple wear factors come into play.

Which are your ongoing and upcoming projects?

As a “Solutions Provider” we, any one time are actively engaged in multiple locations around the world and we are looking at solutions from both an alloy design as well as a customer application perspective. Keeping up with the times means that we need to consider applications such as Laser, Plasma Transferred Arc, Spray-Arc as well as more conventional welding technologies. To stay ahead, we have long-since moved out beyond our traditional strengths in open arc, MIG and submerged arc wires. We are probably the first company in the world to perfect filled wires for laser application for example.

What is your say on the Indian market?

As is the case with any other resource-rich, fast-developing economy, India presents a huge opportunity for CORODUR given its wide industrial base. There is everything here that interests us from a buoyant industrial market to an educated, experienced and pioneering mentality within the work-force. Whilst competition is an obvious factor to consider, as is common anyplace else, there is the same inherent desire in India for better and smarter ways to weld, protect, repair things. CORODUR is quite at home here!

Any plans to mark your presence in India?

CORODUR The Original is already wellknown in the Indian Welding Industry and over the decades we have been in interaction and knowledge sharing with locally-based welding manufacturers and distributors, some of whom are using CORODUR technology. Recently, we have consolidated our presence in the country with the appointment of Sahara Enterprises.

Corodur’s business focus is also into the coating of machine and construction parts. Please brief us more on this?

As a pioneer in wear prevention technology through the application of welded coatings, we are focused on all areas of industry where the combined factors of abrasion, impact, heat, corrosion and adhesion, have a deleterious effect on the lifetime of machinery tools and components. Factors to consider in devising the correct solution include process lifetime expectations as well as cost of protection and of course cost of application. Let’s look at the example of Brick Manufacture in Asia. Study of this “low cost” industry shows that the primary medium of wear is wet clay abrasion of the mixing parts. Shut-down is scheduled in the majority of cases for the change-out of these parts only. So extending the life of mixer parts has a direct impact on production cost of the entire plant. Traditionally, clients in this industry have solved the cost issues by re-welding these parts as cheaply as possible using low-grade alloy products and teams of relatively inexpensive welders. CORODUR’s solution focusses totally on extending the life of the mixing parts as long as possible using high quality alloys. The result is that we can offer the customer 8x less shut-downs a year. From every 2 weeks to every 16 weeks. The impact of deploying a high quality welding alloy solution on the economics of a brick factory cannot be more clear – regardless of labour cost.

This genuinely “solutions-based” engineering approach is applicable to a multitude of industries and is the hallmark of CORODUR’s philosophy of driving the specialist coatings market upwards.

Could you elaborate on company’s efforts towards Training?

CORODUR’s ethos is one of educating the market. Wear and Maintenance is a specialist field and most often a very conservative one. What worked twenty years ago is often what works today. But advancement of new coating technologies proceeds apace.

Metallurgists of today do not graduate simply to manage the past. Advances in hardfacing and repair engineering depend on these metallurgists looking at industry problems in new ways. Process and manufacturing techniques are not standing still. New solutions must be found. New alloys need to be created and deployed in ways that can extend tool life far beyond what was ever possible in the past.

Training is therefore a large part of what we do. We maintain a team of dedicated staff around the world that is able to reach out to distributors and clients alike. We conduct in-house seminars for client engineers and back this up with managed field trials of new solutions.

Training is the key to industry uptake of new ideas and methodologies, and this must be an active process. Clients and future clients are always highly appreciative that we leave them with the gift of knowledge. This in return “future-proofs” CORODURs reputation in the industry and of course ultimately impacts our top line trading results.

What challenges do you come across and how do you manage to cope up with the same?

Challenges to our industry are no different to any other. Leading the way, innovation, communication, enlightenment – everything we have mentioned so far, are all customer centric activities. CORODUR believes that we are in business because of the customer (and not the other way around). Placing the customer first drives our business to the core. We develop new products at an unprecedented rate.

Our challenges are therefore all driven by customer demand. This is manifest and determines our R&D, Manufacturing, Distribution and Logistics and follows through to Distributor and Client education and training.

Competitive pressures keep us seeking for better solutions at more sustainable prices. This can only be achieved through the adoption of state-of-the-art metallurgical engineering techniques. More expensive solutions are easy to administer but cheaper, better solutions are the real challenge.

Last but not least we meet the increasing need to face ecological responsibility in realizing products meeting these requirements like our new chrome an nickel free ECO line.

Availability of skilled manpower in one among the major challenges. Your say. What is Corodur’s role to cope up with the same?

There are special skills that we need to import but generally and as a rule, we prefer to train, improve, re-skill from within. It is the smart way and our preferred way to develop skills. Everybody has an innate desire to improve themselves so we just provide the “tools” to facilitate that improvement. It leads to a more motivated workforce and not surprisingly an extremely high staff retention rate.

Safety at work is one of the key considerations. What is company’s effort towards health and safety?

CORODUR has an active program of Health and Safety in accordance with industry practice and in conformance with ISO 9001. This particularly includes the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations in regards to trade associations (German BG).

Women in Welding are a growing trend. What is the company’s initiative towards encouraging women in welding?

As CORODUR is a manufacturer of welding consumables rather than a welding company as such, we can answer this question accordingly. CORODUR ascribes to a policy of total equality within the work-force and does not discriminate by gender. Family-friendly working-time models are a matter of course. It is no surprice then that almost 1/3 of CORODUR employees are women.

However, we would appreciate and support more women in the entire sector. Women are taken seriously in our company. We could well envisage to establish more welding training and guidance tailored to the needs of female user. For example, right in this Moment, we support a women engineer with our technical expertise for her Bachelor thesis.

What are your future plans for the upliftment of the company?                                                       

CORODUR continues its aspirations of leadership within the industry. We will continue to grow and expand through our policy of driving the market upwards and away from the “me-too” copy-cat culture which is very prevalent in the industry. We do not want to offer cheaper equivalent products. Only better solutions tailored to industry-specific scenarios. Engaging heavily with R&D to ensure improvements can be achieved at the lowest possible price points. Better solutions do not have to mean more expensive solutions.

Closing Message

Now also in India, we will forge our future path through a combination of innovation and a distinctly ‘Customer-First’ mentality. Sure, there will be plenty of copy-cats to contend with, but that only keeps us striving for the development for ever newer, smarter and more ecological solutions.

Sahara Enterprises we found the right partner to distribute and ensure CORODUR’s strategy and philosophy and in India. We are looking forward to work with Sahara Enterprise in the future and invite everybody to be a part of this success story.

 

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