December 2019 sees the Indasa Group reach a landmark in the company’s history when it celebrates 40 years since the doors opened at their manufacturing plant in Aveiro, Portugal. Today, 40 years on, Indasa is acknowledged as one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of coated abrasive products for professional automotive refinish markets throughout the world.
Back in 1979 a group of investors (and friends) shared a vision. Under the creative guidance of the current chairman, Benjamim Santos, an ambitious and clear strategic plan was compiled. Manufacturing abrasive products to the highest performance and quality standards would be a fundamental core value for continued business growth and customer development from that day.
The company has clearly changed from the early years. The Group now comprises eight subsidiary companies located in Spain, UK, France, Germany, Poland, Brazil, the US and most recently Italy. At its headquarters in Aveiro, an ongoing programme of sustained expansion and multi-million Euro investment means that Indasa can arguably boast that it runs the most up-to-date abrasive production facility in the world. With a growing customer base serving automotive refinish, composite, marine, decorative and wood manufacturing industry markets in over 100 countries Indasa is a true player on the global stage.
The group’s expertise in coated abrasive technology saw them direct their innovative product development toward the vehicle refinish industry. It was a decision that is clearly paying dividends today. Research and Development has always played a pivotal role in the market specific product range and with the very latest materials and application techniques the Indasa Rhyno brand is at the forefront of satisfying the needs of today’s refinish market.
An example of this dedication to product development is their Ultravent dust free solution. The extraction capacity of the Ultravent system virtually eliminates abrasive clogging, prolongs sanding performance and provides a cleaner working environment. Their Rhynogrip HT Line abrasive disc is the perfect partner for Ultravent extraction, combining to deliver the optimum surface preparation for flawless refinishing and body shop efficiency.
The automotive crash repair industry has always provided opportunities for Indasa to develop market specific solutions that deliver customer value. The group’s commercial and marketing director, Andrew Tindall, has himself 30 years of experience with the industry. He identifies with a market that is undergoing radical change, as motor manufacturers face technical and environmental challenges in the creation of a new generation of motor vehicles. “We have to keep pace if not one step ahead if we are to maintain our value to the body shop business operator. We have to have abrasive sanding systems and repair procedures that provide the body shop with the tools to tackle the job. As organisations seek to improve profitability, current working practices come under increased scrutiny and pressure. Without question purchasing is a prime source of cost improvement but other key areas can contribute substantial efficiency savings to the business operation”.
As previously mentioned there have been a number of key investment initiatives over the past few decades. Our trip to Aveiro was not going to be complete without a full and in-depth tour of the production facility. There are endless examples of well-known phrases and sayings when it comes to investment, but perhaps the Indasa philosophy can be best expressed as follows: investing in yourself is the best investment you will ever make. The state-of-the-art computer-controlled storage facility and the monumental scale of production capacity have to be seen to be believed. This year sees another on site, multi-million Euro expansion programme get the go ahead. But it’s not just all capital investment that is getting the attention. The group now employs over 400 personnel within the nine locations throughout the world.
We see the full production process in action. Our hosts Alfonso Paes and Miguel Quaresma have taken time off from their normal duties of looking after the key markets on the African continent to show us around. Afonso’s experience and expertise are unmatched when it comes to the group’s export markets, so we’re in good hands.
The production line takes us from paper, adhesion, abrasive, backing and curing before we’re led to the production control department. Quality is the key word here and all necessary checks and measures are made to ensure that the material is approved before final product conversion is authorised. A fully automated storage and materials management system takes care of the bulk roll stock before the finished goods are produced and then packaged for the customer. With over 1 000 variations of material type to be produced and with customers in over 100 countries you can understand why this facility runs 24/7.
Andrew was keen to emphasise that it is not just the Rhyno brand abrasive product that enables Indasa to stand out from the crowd. We ventured into the Indasa Academy. Opened in 2016 the Academy represents the commitment and delivery of technical expertise and instruction. He went on to add “The application of best working practice is a key essential in driving efficiency in the body shop. We have a team of experienced technicians here and at other Academy sites, who are able to instruct delegates in the very latest repair process and application techniques and by developing the individual’s skill base we maximise the competence of the customer’s workforce”.
The vision of Benjamin Santos has now delivered four decades of continuous growth for the Indasa group. All of which is proof positive that the company is well set to maintain its position within the global automotive refinishing market. Here’s to the next 40 years… For dealer opportunities call PYRMO SA on +27 (0)11 024. 4978.
Story by Ian Groat, pics by Jay Groat