“Finally Europe’s on the Go”

Published 28/12, 2016 at 15:51

The situation on the global concrete floor grinding and polishing market is a bit diverse. Some markets are experiencing a strong upturn while others show a very modest increase.
PDi’s Jan Hermansson reports.

The most recent changes in the industry reached PDi just before press stop. Swedish manufacturer Scanmaskin Group, with annual sales of approximately  €11.5M, has been acquired by the investment company Indutrade.


More muscles to Scanmaskin

Scanmaskin will be a part of Indutrade’s fluids and mechanical solutions business area. Indutrade is an international industrial Group that sells and develops high-tech components, systems and services. Indutrade market solutions to streamline systems and processes. With a decentralized structure, Indutrade operate through nearly 200 subsidiaries with more than 5,000 employees in 27 countries and four continents. The operations are divided into six business areas of engineering and equipment, flow technology, fluids and mechanical solutions, industrial components, measurement & sensor technology and special products. Indutrade has been listed on Nasdaq Stockholm since 2005.

“That Indutrade has acquired all shares in the company is an excellent solution to secure the future development of the company,” said Scanmaskin founder Claes-Göran Bergstrand. “We will also have a better situation and more muscles to develop new products and in particular to grow our business. In terms of our organisation things will go on as usual. Change of ownership will not affect our clients except in a positive way. All people in the company will remain in their positions. But I must admit that it was a strange feeling to realize that I am now just an employee after have founded the company and been its owner together with my son for 30 years.” The new chairman of the company is Göte Mattsson from Indutrade.

Currently investment companies own HTC and Scanmaskin. Polaris acquired HTC in 2013. See feature on page 30-32.


Europe is picking up still but led by the US

But how is the business for concrete floor grinding and polishing out there. PDi contacted many concrete floor grinding and polishing manufacturers to gauge their reaction to the market situation. “We actually have seen an increase with some 20% each year for several years in a row,” said Superabrasive US marketing manager Monika Angelova. “In those European countries where we have distributors we have even seen a stronger growth. We see a lot of potential in Europe and we are now building our brand there and it looks quite promising. However, due to the strong US dollar we experience a slower growth in South America, Australia and New Zealand. We have very little presence in Africa, Asia and Middle East. The main obstacle in these markets is that the quality of the concrete in many cases is not suitable for polishing and there is an abundance of cheaper equipment and tools.”

Ercole Bibiano from the Italian manufacturer Klindex agrees and said that he sees a big growth in Europe and the former Eastern European countries, but also in Far East Asia. “In North America and Australia the concrete is much better and easier to treat or polish,” said Bibiano. “Our experience is also that polished concrete floors have become very popular in Europe and the market has just started to open up. In the Eastern Europe and Far East Asia concrete floors are very poor and not easy to polish. But what we are seeing are builders starting to be interested in polished concrete and build the concrete floors after that. Africa and South America is still very hard to promote the polished concrete.” 


Europe delivers the biggest potential

Superabrasive and Klindex have similar views on the biggest potential markets in the next five years. Angelova said that Europe has the biggest potential “Also Turkey has a great potential for us and off course the US for floor preparation and polishing. When it comes to purely polishing we believe that the fastest growth will remain in the US.” said Angelova. “In the US the market is driven by the innovation and fast adoption of new and more efficient methods and technologies. It is another way of thinking in the US. The areas to polish are much bigger. In the US they are also looking for more efficient flooring solutions including maintenance. The contractors are also very eager to find more business and more types of services to offer.”

Bibiano agrees that Europe and the Eastern part has the greatest potential, but indicates that Klindex also sees a great potential in the Far East Asia in the coming five years. Bibiano emphasized that the quality of the concrete floor plays a key role. The better concrete floor to work the better the final polished product gets and also the business is much better for everyone. “The US has the advantage that concrete floors are ideal for polished concrete, further more they already know the problem of the resin coating and as a result they like polished concrete. We think that Europe will be the first area where the polished concrete will grow in the short term,” said Bibiano.


Important features

What are the most important features that manufacturers consider for the future development of concrete floor grinding and polishing systems and diamond tools? “I believe innovation is key now and also in the future. And for Superabrasive innovation means to make the process faster and easier,” said Angelova. “This I consider important for the equipment and the tools. Also contractors look for machines now and in the future that are durable, easy to use and versatile so they can be used on different types of projects. They also want affordable and productive equipment that is simple for operators to run in order to minimize the risk of mistakes and downtime. When it comes to tools, contractors are looking for productivity and tool life in order to maximize their return on investment, but with so many choices, it is often a matter of trial and error. To avoid that contractors are sticking to familiar brands they can rely on.”


Floor preparation suitable for rental but not polishing

Bibiano from Klindex believes there is potential for general polishing, but not so much in the rental industry. “In the immediate future we will not see any progress regarding renting polishing systems. To polish a concrete floor needs special knowledge and also special tools. I don’t think so many will go to a rental company and rent the equipment. With floor preparation it is different. Maybe we will see contractors renting polishing systems in the US where contractors have more expertise with these things,” said Bibiano.

“Here in Europe and particularly the German speaking market I don’t see any market for renting polishing systems. But in floor preparation I think there is a good potential for floor grinding machines and tools. These machines are increasing in the rental companies’ fleets every year,” said Superabrasive Europe representative Fredrik Andersson.


Who provide the service?

Which floor preparation and concrete floor polishing contractors are dominant and will dominate in the future? “How I see it is mainly resin floor coating contractors, concrete contractors and construction firms who want to expand their businesses. But we also see more and more cleaning companies that maintain commercial floors that are widening their services and maybe also need to offer restoration as well,” said Angelova.

Andersson agrees, but adds that there will also be an increasing interest in these services between concrete sawing and drilling contractors and demolition.

Bibiano believes that the biggest users are found among specialized flooring contractors.

However in concrete cutting, demolition, renovation and flooring, contractors that perform renovation and other similar work are keen on taking up floor preparation and polishing. This is a strong trend in Scandinavia and also in Germany and the US. Many branch associations in concrete cutting organise special courses for members to learn how to handle floor preparation and polishing machines.

Since the last concrete floor preparation and polishing feature the industry has witnessed a number of new machines and tools.


Several new products from Blastrac

Blastrac has launched a number of new machines. The Blastrac BG-250RS is a new single-head grinding machine for the preparation of concrete floors. With a 250mm working width and a weight of 230kg, it has enough power on the diamond tools to deliver perfect results. There is also a remotely controlled version. The BG-250RS has a program for automatic grinding.

The company also has the Blastrac BMG-555 triple head grinder equipped with a planetary grinding system. It has an ergonomic design with a handle locking system and has been designed for the middle size grinder market. It has some new features not found on other grinders in its class, like a bottle holder, extra protection of operating buttons and storage for a Smartphone. The BMG-555 has a floating shroud with extra floor nozzle on the back for even better dust extraction and can be supplied in 220V or 400V.

Also new is the Blastrac BMP-4000 heavy duty ride-on sawing and pavement milling machine for large milling and sawing applications. The BMP-4000 is a multifunctional machine and by changing the hydraulic motor the operator can swap from milling to sawing and vice versa.


New Blastrac Vertical Steel Blaster 200VMB

The new Blastrac vertical steel blaster 200VMB has a working width of 200mm. It is ideally suited for medium sized vertical steel cleaning jobs and is remotely controlled for operator safety, comfort, and productivity.



Extreme duty Bull floor machine from Crusader

Crusader Manufacturing, based in Farmington, Minnesota, US has the extreme duty Bull floor machine. According to Crusader it is the strongest 115V floor machine on the market with a totally enclosed motor and an 11:1 gearbox and solid steel coupler between the motor and the gearbox. It is ideal for use with a scraper tool or a concrete preparation tool. Users can add up to three additional weights to the Bull and there is a variety of accessories, such as the orbital diamond driver, weighted diamond pad driver, and rotary scraper.

Crusader will exhibit at the World of Concrete 2017 in January at booth S11951.



DRS-FLOOR by Dr. Schulze

The German drilling solutions manufacturer Dr. Schulze offers its flooring equipment from a single source under the trademark of DRS-FLOOR. This consist of non-stop customer service seven days a week for all technical and commercial questions about any type of flooring projects: engineers providing suggestions for sequence of working, application of chemicals, methods for achieving the required floor quality, and project costs estimates.

In addition there is a range of chemicals for transforming concrete to the high-performance industrial or commercial floor; a range of materials for repairing of cracks, joints and all other surface defects; machines for all types of floor processing; diamond tools for any application and a range of dust collectors and separators.


New grinders in 2016

In 2016 Dr. Schulze launched its new shot blasting machines, the DSBM-250 and DSBM-400 with working width of 250mm respectively 400mm. Thee smaller DSBM-250 suits smaller projects working up to 100m2/hour, the larger DSBM-400 is for bigger projects and daily output of more than 1000m2. The development target was to reduce the operational costs and extend the working time between replacements of the wear parts.

Machines above 800mm working width are also available. The triple head planetary machine DBS-820-3H and 4 head planetary DBS-820-4H, are available in manual or in remotely controlled versions. The top of Dr. Schulze´s range of grinding machines is a ride-on DBS-820-4H A-LASER with a laser control system enabling highest precision of the floor flatness.


Unique grinding head solution

In all its multi-head grinders Dr. Schulze uses sealed oil-filled full gear transmission, which is unique in the market. There are no Dr. Schulze´s products with conventional belt drive. The company claim that none of the gearboxes of any of the machines sold in last four years has been opened for repair or maintenance. Besides the annual oil change, there is nothing else to do with these high-performance gearboxes. For the processing of joints and cracks Dr. Schulze offers the multi-purpose chaser DSC-200. Due to its flexibility and wide range of accessories it is suitable for all repairing and construction jobs.

All work with the machine can be done completely dry and without dust due to opposite direction of cutting tool rotation and effective dust collection outlet.

The machine is available with 230V or 400V and Honda GX390 engine and therefore can be used indoor and outdoor for road construction. Early in 2016 Dr. Schulze´s flooring solutions opened its own separate website showing the product range and services.



Klindex Triple K – three-head innovative single disc machine

Klindex’s new Triple K is a single disc machine with oscillating heads and variable speed. It is suitable for beginners, and folds up quickly and easily to pass through standard interior doors. Perfect to work in large areas, with effortless crystallization thanks to adjustable and floor-touching wheels.



Grinders from MK Diamond Products

The US company MK Diamond Products manufactures a complete line of single and double disc grinders and scarifiers.

The MK-SDG single disc grinder is for smoothing rough areas and other surface irregularities, feathering patches and cleaning industrial floors. The removable handles and nose weight provide for easy transportation and storage. A foot pedal raises the grinding discs for engine starting and idling. The MK-SDG is the only single disc grinder with a fully encapsulated grinding shroud with vacuum pick up. Powered by a Honda GXV340 engine the SDG-11 weighs 96kg.

MK-DDG dual disc grinder has two counter-rotating heads for a 559mm grinding width. It can be used to level small areas of uneven joints or high spots. A T-grip handle provides easy handling and manoeuvring. The dust shroud contains grinding debris and the vacuum port allows for dust-free dry grinding. A water control valve is included for wet grinding. The grinder has a two-position wheel carriage for grinding and easy transport.

Both grinders are for repairing damaged concrete slabs, removing urethanes, epoxy thin-coats, levelling high spots or surface imperfections, smoothing rough surfaces, rain marks or trowel marks, removing mastics, and paint build-up. There is a hard bond grinding head for green concrete and asphalt. The soft bond grinding head is for grinding cured concrete.

MK Scarifiers have been designed to leave a clean, textured or rough finish on any type of concrete or asphalt surface. These machines use cutting drums with a variety of carbide and steel cutters. Drums are available to provide cleaning, texturing, levelling, grooving and paint removal.


Dust control with MK Diamond IXL shroud

The MK Diamond IXL vacuum shroud, for concrete and surface grinding dust control, utilizes the air velocity created by the rotating grinding wheel to channel dust away from the work surface. It is available in 178mm or 127mm diameter.

The shroud’s snail shape creates a higher centrifugal force that expels the dust particles away from the grinding cup wheel into the vacuum hood up port. This improves removal of particles, enhancing the grinding process.  The shroud can be used with any dust containment system. They are easy to install and designed to fit the Dewalt, Milwaukee, Metabo, Hitachi, Bosch, and Makita grinders.

MK Diamond Products will be present at World of Concrete 2017.



American surface preparation expert expands to Europe

The US surface preparation company National Flooring Equipment, is expanding to Europe and aims to mimic its US growth in the European market by delivering quality equipment backed by unparalleled customer service. NFE has an extensive product range including floor scrapers, grinders and polishers, burnishers, scarifiers, shot blasters, dust collectors and carpet pullers. Its team can answer any questions about its equipment, parts, logistics and applications and in-person training and support is offered to customers across Europe.

“NFE’s products are different to most of those already on the European market, because we take pride in working with our customers to solve specific industry problems and continuously improve our offering,” said NFE president Derek Olson. “Our commitment to innovation and customer service allowed us to evolve from a humble retail carpet supply centre to a global company. In the 1970s we started designing and manufacturing our own tools and today we are one of the largest surface preparation equipment suppliers in the world.

“Our innovative outlook encouraged European companies to approach us with requests for powerful and durable surface preparation equipment for their construction and restoration projects. Our manufacturing facility and team of industry experts allows us to fulfil these requirements and stay ahead of the game.”

NFE provides equipment to the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Switzerland and Netherlands, as well as other European countries, using its network of distribution centres. The company’s service centres are located in Liverpool, Dublin, Cologne and Paris.

NFE’s scraper line is one set for the European market. The scrapers offer high-speed operation and low maintenance. From the 5700 all day battery ride-on machine to the 5280 self-propelled walk-behind scraper, NFE offers a wide range of products that can remove most soft and hard floors.


NFE launches scrapers for construction industry

During 2016 NFE has been promoting their products and methods in the European market, including the scraper range. The scrapers allow construction companies, equipment rental firms and demolition experts to minimise the time and costs of floor removal for a vast range of projects. NFE’s ride-on surface removal equipment includes its top selling machine, the 5700. This is an all day battery machine with hydraulic steering for easy manoeuvring. Its consistent torque ensures higher removal rates and greater productivity. The 5700 will power through a day on a single charge making it ideal for contractors dealing with complex health and safety legislation or working with short deadlines.

The walk-behind scrapers are ideal for residential and commercial applications. The 6280 Commander and 6280HD Gladiator are two of the most popular walk behind machines.

“New customers are always surprised by the wide range of surface preparation applications our products are suited for,” said NFE marketing manager Connie Johnson. “We constantly work with our customers to find creative and innovative ways to upgrade or modify our machines to keep up with the evolving demands of the marketplace and lead the industry forward.

“Our wide network of European distributors means we can support our products with in-person training for all new and existing customers. We understand the importance of combining quality with customer service, so our sales representatives ensure customers have all the information and training they need before, during and after a purchase.”



Flooring equipment from Shanghai

The Chinese manufacturer Shanghai Jiansong Industry is entering the global arena. The company was established in 2004 and manufactures floor grinders, floor scrubber buffers, diamond tools and vacuum systems. Examples are S650 S750 S850 and S950, the dust extractor V7, C8 high-speed floor burnisher and C5 floor scrubber.



New Propane grinders from Superabrasive

Superabrasive with their Lavina series has strengthened its position in the US and Europe. The company is adding several new propane models, including a 965mm remotely controlled grinder L38GR-X, a 812mm, six-head propane grinder L32G-X, and a smaller 508mm propane L20G-X. There will be a new propane Lavina vacuum as well. The new models will have standard Lavin features, including forced planetary drive, water delivery system with a front sprayer and water meter, access window on the base for quick maintenance, adjustable handle and lights.

Superabrasive will exhibit at World of Concrete and the new machines can be tested at the company’s outdoor booth O31517.



US Saws smart grinding and polishing solutions

US Saws’ company’s TC-7 Edger is a stand-up grinder weighing less than 22kg with a 178mm dust shroud and 178mm diamond cup wheels, PCDs, ZEC wheels, and EZ Edge ceramic wheels. Side-to-side and head pressure can be applied to control the movement of the grinding head.

The company’s VSG-10 is an up-right grinder and polisher combination. It has variable speeds ranging from 400revs/min to 1,500revs/min. It has a 250mm working path with a convertible polyurethane shroud. This machine uses fast change diamonds, PCDs, and polishing pads. The adjustable weight can be lowered to increase the pressure of the grinding head. The VSG-10 runs on 115V, so there is no generator or panel wiring required.

The TC-7 Edger and VSG-10 are ideal tools for grinding and polishing work in areas that are not accessible with larger, high-voltage machines.


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