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Steely Resolve: SSAB and Gorica deepen ties

Swedish steel manufacturer SSAB inducts Gorica Industries into its ‘Hardox in my Body’ brand development programme, acknowledging its long-term technical partnership with the Dubai-based trailer and body builder

Ozgur Yalcin, ME region sales manager for SSAB.
Ozgur Yalcin, ME region sales manager for SSAB.

After a decade of collaboration, Gorica Industries and Swedish steel producer SSAB have made their partnership official with Gorica’s induction into SSAB’s ‘Hardox in my Body’ programme, a brand development initiative for the wear-resistant steel.

The relationship between SSAB and the Dubai-based trailer and body builder dates back to 2006, when Gorica first began working with the specialist steel producer to develop tippers that were lighter and stronger. The first Hardox plates were delivered in late 2007.

Today, that working partnership has both deepened and broadened. Gorica now incorporate several grades of SSAB Hardox steel into several products categories, including tippers for the aggregates sector and compactor bodies for municipal waste applications.

Ozgur Yalcin, ME region sales manager for SSAB, notes: “SSAB has had a long standing relationship with Gorica, which uses Hardox 400 and 500 in its trailer tipper bodies and garbage compactor trucks. This has already provided several benefits to Gorica from an operational and regulatory perspective.

“However, we would like to emphasise the growing strength of our partnership. In terms of technical cooperation and business volumes. It is fitting, therefore, that we are now inducting Gorica into the ‘Hardox in my Body’ programme — to extend our support and develop the brand and end product.”

Discussing the relationship, Ivan Fornazaric, founder and managing director of the Gorica Group, explains: “With special steels, like Hardox, it is very important to have a reliable supplier that provides not only the material, which is mainly the case with other suppliers, but also additional assistance with design of the body, and instruction on how to properly bend and weld the material.

“Keeping our product up-to-date is a constant and ongoing process that includes improving our understanding of the material. This is certainly true with SSAB, and we were the first Middle East manufacturer to be given the right to use Hardox in our products.”

From SSAB’s perspective, Yalcin says it is all about working with both its customers and the end users. SSAB can supply the right material to trailer manufacturers, but it relies on them to combine it with their experience to produce stronger bodies for the benefit of the end user.

“What we want to do is to provide the best service to the real end user — the companies that buy the product from the trailer manufacturers. When the end user can increase his competitiveness in the market, he comes back to our customers and they come back to us. There is a chain linking back to us, and so our target is to keep the end user happy. This is our concept.”

The process of ongoing improvement is also true for SSAB, and Yalcin notes that when the steel producer started out with Hardox, it had a hardness of 400 on the Brinell scale — but as research and development have continued that upper value has risen — to 600 and even to 700 today with Hardox Extreme.

He adds: “Of course, we don’t only produce wear-resistant steel. We also produce Strenx, a high-strength steel starting from 700MPa (megapascals) and going up to 1,300MPa — in strips and plates — which differentiates SSAB from other steel manufacturers.”

Gorica’s used Hardox extensively in its tipper trailers during the construction boom in Dubai — when a lot of rock was brought in from Ras Al Khaimah or Fujairah. Worked in the same thickness as normal steel, Hardox made the tippers tougher and more durable.

The impression this left is so strong that people frequently mistake the steel, Hardox, for the company, SSAB. Yalcin is working to change this, and to promote SSAB’s other steels, but admits it is not the worst problem to have.

Yalcin adds: “We have strong experience in general in Sweden and know how to weld, shape, process and machine, so there is value in us engaging with our customers on how to make better use of the material. This steel has to be treated well; it is not a commodity.

“The competition is everywhere, but we differentiate ourselves from the others, and this is why we are still the market leader and such a strong brand worldwide.”

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