Following Winoa's new identity, and the launch of the new "W Care™" brand that specializes in services, MFN had the opportunity to speak with Iann Bouchard, Winoa's communications director, to learn more about this development plan and strategy.
(?) MFN: We all know Winoa and its W Abrasives™ leading abrasive brand, so why develop a new brand under W Care™?
(!) I. B.: In order to better meet the current service, repair and maintenance needs of Winoa’s customers, we have decided to develop a business line 100% dedicated to the service, advice and repair of blasting equipment. This division and its teams will be known as W Care™.
For years, our range of W abrasives™ products has relied on technical teams called "Walue” members who aim to optimize the blasting processes of our customers. This support for users of W Abrasives products still exists, although demand has evolved among our customers asking us for specialized labor for mechanical, technical and in-depth support. Following global skilled labor challenges, they now want more than advice, and are asking us to implement our recommendations. We therefore created the W Care™ business line specializing in all aspects of this implementation.
(?) MFN: Repair services already exist, what are the advantages of your W Care teams for customers?
(!) I. B.: It is true that the repair service already exists with our customers or from local contractors. On the other hand, as mentioned previously, labor challenges, staff turnover and specific and technical knowledge in the field of shot blasting and shot peening have meant that the demand for specialized technical service is growing.
Our W Care™ service teams therefore provide our customers with an all-in-one solution. From training, to evaluating the machine and the blasting operation, from optimizing the process to repairing and updating equipment, our specialists will now be able to carry out the work so that our customers obtain optimal efficiency of their cleaning process.
(?) MFN: Is this repair and maintenance offering already available globally?
(!) I. B.: Yes, with the development of the W Care™ brand and range of services, we now provide an expanded service and maintenance offer. Some countries currently limit themselves to more modest maintenance and adjustments like blast pattern fine-tuning or air-washing mechanical optimization while others offer full ranges including equipment updates, annual maintenance plans and machine upgrades. In addition, when required by customers, we offer the supply of parts and equipment.
(?) MFN: We mainly knew Winoa for the W Abrasives media. W Care is an important growth plan?
(!) I. B.: Yes, and you are right. We have broadened our vision. From being the world leader in Steel shot and Grit, our vision is now to be the world leader in innovative surface preparation solutions, services and eco-friendly products. Our agenda is to develop related products and services to realize this vision.
This new W Care™ business line now allows us to operate and support customers on all aspects of blasting costs, including improving equipment reliability, reducing maintenance downtime, reduction of abrasive losses, wear or replacement of parts, and not only to operate on the consumption of abrasives.
(?) MFN: You already have technical centers; will they be under W Care and do you have any plans for that?
(!) I. B.: One of the important points for our customers is the possibility of carrying out tests and trials on their parts without disturbing their production. We have of course heard their requests, and are therefore opening new technical centers in appropriate locations.
Currently, we have four test centers located around the world to which we will add two more in the coming months. One of them is in the final construction stage and is located in Pittsburgh, USA, and should be open when this interview is published.
In this technical center, customers will thus have the opportunity to test and optimize their shot blasting or peening processes without having to carry out in-house tests, and this will have great positive impact on their own production.
Using different shot blasting machines (Tumblast, airblast, Wire mesh belt, etc.), a full range of abrasive media and lots of knowledge and experience, our teams reproduce the customer's shot peening process on the customer's parts in order to find the best possible parameters (choice of abrasive, projection parameter (pressure, speed, etc.), position of parts, surface profile, etc.). This allows the customer to guarantee optimum results right from the start of production. We can easily estimate cost reductions of 10% per part cleaned for customers who have carried out these tests.
In addition, the test centers allow us to organize private training for our customers. Specifically designed around their needs, these "hands-on" learning programs encompass component maintenance and adjustment (from blast pattern to air curtain), and from understanding the various applicable “standards” to understanding possible problems and their solutions.
(?) MFN: What are W Care's other development plans?
(!) I. B.: Several other projects are in development or launched recently.
One of them is our online training program "W Academy™".
Developed as part of the W Care project, this “virtual” training program in the form of webinars and self-training allows our customers to improve their skills at their own pace. Often associated with machine inspections or technical support, this program allows our customers to confirm or deepen their knowledge shared by our teams.
Another major project of the W Care program is the opening of sandblasting and shot-peening centers. For the moment, I cannot reveal the extent of the project, but a first agreement in principle has been reached with a recognized surface treatments & peening specialist for the opening of a first center dedicated primarily to peening.
The synergy of our two companies will make it possible to develop centers of world quality thereby serving our common global customers, and in an innovative and sustainable way.
(?) MFN: Thank you for your time.
MFN would like to thank Iann Bouchard for this interview!
528 Avenue de Savoie
38570 Le Cheylas, France
Tel. +33.6.43 66 51 65