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Husqvarna looks to cut a swathe through market

New products at SED show include wall saws and a new way to bond diamonds to a blade. By Paul Howard

The next 12 months are set to be an important time for Swedish diamond tool specialist Husqvarna as it bids to capitalise on its decision to use its own name as the brand for all its construction products.

Until last year, when still a part of the vast and diverse Electrolux conglomerate, Husqvarna products in the UK were sold under a number of brand names, including Demos, Partner and Target.

Following the hiving off of Husqvarna as a separate entity, a decision was taken to focus exclusively on the Husqvarna brand.

“We saw the opportunity to use the Husqvarna brand and to put all our other construction brands under this banner and use one strong and very well recognised brand,” explains Marc Segers, managing director of Husqvarna construction products for the UK.

The strategy last year, therefore, was to let people know about this change. Now this mission has been accomplished, according to Mr Segers, the strategy for the 2008 and beyond is a different one.

“Our aim now is to become the market leader in all the markets in which we operate. That’s power cutters, diamond tools, floor saws, drills, drill stands and drill bits, wall saws and wire saws. We want to be number one in diamond tools and related products, to be a one stop shop for everything from blades to tools to health and safety gear.”

Mr Segers acknowledges that this is no small task, but insists the company has the approach to make it achievable: “There’s a long way to go and a lot of product development time required.”

Indeed the company’s latest product, the WS400-40HF, a lightweight, high-frequency, battery powered wall saw that will be launched at SED, took three years to develop.

Better diamond bonding

Another new technology with which the company hopes to expand its market presence is the DiaGrip method of bonding the diamonds into the blades, also to be launched at SED.

“It’s effectively a means of ensuring the optimum distribution of the diamond in the bond to ensure it cuts faster and more smoothly. It’s very good for tough jobs like cutting through heavily reinforced concrete.”

When product development time is likely to be too long, however, the company is happy to make acquisitions.

“We’ve recently bought Gikai, the second largest manufacturer in China producing about 10 million blades a year,” says Mr Segers. “It’s a very competitive market in the UK and we need not just the top end - like DiaGrip - but also the low end, volume products.”

Other recent acquisitions include Soft Cut, a Californian company specialising in lightweight aluminium saws for cutting concrete when still wet, and Gardena water hose connections.

Another area of potential growth is in polishing concrete floors, increasingly popular as an alternative to floor coverings in a number of environments.

According to Mr Segers, even this wide range of products is not enough for the company to aspire to be number one in the UK on its own, however.

“We offer very good products but there are a lot of good products about so we also have to be number one for service and number one for training as well,” he says.

“ We want to be able to show people how to maintain the machine and how to use the machine in an efficient way.”