Vol. 17
January Issue
Year 2016


in Vol. 17 - January Issue - Year 2016
USA Opens Its Doors To Lowering Costs

Charlie Gorman, Product Manager-Americas of Winoa USA, Inc.

Craig Wallbank, US Technical & Training Center Manager of Winoa USA, Inc.

Winoa USA Technical & Training Center

WA 3D profile, WGH 25

Walue Expert

Customer training

Customers visit in the Technical & Training Center

Trial customers in the Technical & Training Center

The WA Clean technology

Measures of the surface cleanliness

MFN was able to obtain an interview with Charlie Gorman, Product Manager-Americas & Craig Wallbank, US Technical & Training Center Manager of Winoa USA, Inc.

(?) MFN: We have the pleasure to interview Mr. Gorman, Americas Product Manager, and Mr. Wallbank, North American Technical & Training Center Manager. Please, introduce yourselves to our readers.

(!) C. G.: My name is Charlie Gorman and I have been with Winoa USA for 9 years, with approximately 23 years of industrial blasting, coating application, coated abrasive & chemical sales experience.

(!) C. W.: My name is Craig Wallbank and I have been with Winoa working worldwide for a total of 14 years with the last 8 years in North America. I have approximately 26 years of foundry, blasting & industrial engineering experience with a NACE level 1 certification.

(?) MFN: With five Technical & Training Centers implemented in France, Japan, Brazil, Czech Republic and Austria, Winoa group decided to open the 6th Technical & Training Center in the USA. Is there any particular reason for this geographical choice?

(!) C. G.: The new Technical & Training Center is located in Texas, 20 miles north of downtown Houston on the Interstate 45 corridor and in close proximity to George Bush Intl. Airport. It is a national and international hub to welcome our worldwide customers. The Houston location offers close proximity to support our Mexico market where we enjoy the #1 market position, Southern USA with a predominantly surface preparation market and easy access for our customers in the Northern USA & Canada with no more than 4 hours flight time from any major hub.

As the world's largest manufacturer of cast steel abrasives (four times larger than our closest competitor), this newest and Winoa's 6th technical facility worldwide will expand our capabilities and continue our tradition of teaming up with our customers to offer our technical solution-based philosophy in the North American Market.

(?) MFN: Can you explain to us the concept of "technical solution-based philosophy"?

(!) C. W.: Winoa's philosophy of consulting, training, and testing are three wells from which our customers draw knowledge to advance their blasting operations. Winoa expertise is unique in the blasting world! Today, this has made us a key player in the success of our clients. One feature we use is the "Total Cost of Blasting" approach. This is quantified by use of our exclusive WA Cost program that was developed to evaluate and measure all costs associated with the blasting process. It is designed for use in either air blasting or wheel blasting.  

Our new 3D profile technology is another example of our technical solution philosophy. With this new tool, we can now examine all aspects including the skew and complete topography of surface profiles.

(?) MFN: What do you propose in terms of training and testing?

(!) C. W.: This facility will be utilized for a variety of purposes including new product development, new customer trials, existing customer trials where we will work together to test different products in order to improve the parameters associated with the blasting process. We are also prepared to conduct customer training sessions and internal technical training for Winoa personnel. While we also train on-site at a customer's location, this new facility will expand our capabilities to offer an off-site custom-tailored program to train customers with all our tools available for use in both wheel and air blasting.

(?) MFN: What do you propose in terms of consulting?

(!) C. G.: We are the world's leader not only in the manufacture and sale of steel abrasives, but also in the technical aspects of surface cleaning and preparing. We are constantly looking for ways to improve a customer's process. Our expertise lies in finding new ways to clean or prepare a surface, improve surface quality, and reduce the costs associated with blasting through product and process development. This "zero risk" solution enables the customer to determine all the blasting parameters before setting them up on their production line. A dedicated team of technical experts collaborate with our Technical & Training Center and also at the customers' premises.

Our new patented WA Clean technology is an example of how we can now measure the surface cleanliness with quantitative values modernizing the traditional method of qualitative measuring using visual reference charts.

(?) MFN: What else do you expect from your North American Technical & Training Center?

(!) C. G.: It will greatly support our innovation and product development programs; for instance, we are currently in the final stage of completing a product optimization review, allowing to guarantee our WAbrasives product offer the best value to customers.

More interesting is that we are able to benchmark actual shots of different brands available on the market with ours, using a WAAT machine. This is an actual blast machine fully instrumented and designed to measure precisely the breakdown of abrasives. The WAAT machine is the only technology available today to accurately and consistently measure the abrasive consumption in real-life conditions of use, replicating the conditions of the customer's process. Offering these real blasting conditions with our Technical & Training Center and henceforth granting future best blasting conditions for our customers is what makes us proud on a daily basis.

(?) MFN: You think that the choice of equipment is important?

(!) C. W.: Since December 2015 the facility has housed a tumblast machine allowing customers trials on this type of equipment, a spinner hangar, a roller conveyor and an air-blast room, which is equipped with a variable speed drive oscillator and turntable for shot-peening and I.D. applications. The choice of technical center equipment, all with VFD's (variable frequency drives), will enable us to replicate any application found in the blasting market.

(?) MFN: When is the official opening of your Technical & Training Center?

(!) C.W. / C. G.: The official opening of the Technical and Training Center is scheduled for January 2016; however, we have been conducting small trials since December 2015. We will keep MFN readers up to date on our progress.

MFN would like to thank Charlie Gorman and Craig Wallbank for this interview!

For Information:
Winoa USA, Inc. Technical & Training Center
18527 Imperial Valley Dr.
Houston, TX 77073 USA
Tel. +1.936.253 5301, 5302, 5303

E-mail: charlie.gorman@wabrasives.com
Tel. +1.915.526 5180
E-mail: craig.wallbank@wabrasives.com
Tel. +1.281.853 5463