Pete Sartain

As Mirka turns 40 this year, we have a Q&A with Pete Sartain, National Sales Manager of Mirka UK, on the evolution of the business and its' tools as well as discussing how it has evolved hand in hand with the  needs and requirements of the woodworking industry.

  1. How has Mirka UK changed over the last 40 years?
  • Mirka has become a market leader with innovative products that challenge the market place and provide end users with not a just a product but a complete solution to their finishing requirements.
  1. What have been the key milestones for the business and are there any that you have been part of?
  • Abranet was clearly a ground-breaking product which opened opportunities for Mirka to explore the dust free sanding concept.
  • Ultimax wide belts have also had an impact, up until its launch the only development in wide belt sanding came from the machine manufacturers. Ultimax delivered on its expectations offering end users a belt that not only resolved common sanding issues but also produced a superb finish.
  1. In what ways have Mirka’s tools evolved to meet the woodworking industry’s needs and requirements?
  • We dedicate a large amount of resource to research the market place and discuss with customers the tools they require. Our tools are always designed with the ultimate aim to provide a solution to a problem, this policy has led to award winning tools that have been welcomed by customers and has helped us build a brand reputation for innovative solutions.
  1. What is the biggest change you have seen in the woodworking industry and how has Mirka adapted to meet it?
  • The industry has changed vastly over the last 20 years, mass production of furniture has declined to a point where the majority of what we buy comes from the far east. The Industry has adapted to these changes offering bespoke high-end production from a highly skilled smaller workforce. There still remains some mass production particularly with production of kitchens as this is still a relatively bespoke offering for most of us.
  • Mirka has recognized these changes and offers its services and expertise across the spectrum, every customer is important, and we aim to offer products and support to all. The diverse nature of the sector has resulted in our team encountering a new challenge on a daily basis, we welcome these challenges and utilize the findings to develop new products.
  1. How has the introduction of the training centre benefitted Mirka and the industry as a whole?
  • The changes in the industry above have altered the dynamics of our customers, to enable us to offer expertise to all it was clear we needed to train our distributors who liaise with customers on a day to day basis. The training center has proven to be a great success and welcomed by all, knowledge is power as they say, and our distributors have all been keen to take advantage of this service. It’s a WIN WIN for both customer and distributor, the customer gets the correct product and advice he needs, and the distributor is able to add value to his services.
  1. With Mirka at the forefront of innovation from everything from abrasives to tools and processes, what new tools or products are on the horizon for the woodworking sector?
  • It’s clear that time has become a driving force in many sectors, we want things quicker and faster, the old saying “Time is Money” is more prevalent now than ever before. Our new products and tools are reflecting this demand, providing solutions based on speed and time saving to do a job, combine this with other values such as Dust Free Sanding, product life, finish and you have a winning combination.
  • We will this quarter launch two new sanders that fall in line with this ethos: -

- 77mm electric random orbit sander

-  A DEOS Delta shape sander

  • Both machines are of the usual high standard you can expect from our tools and provide a innovate solution to your sanding needs. The future? well watch this space, our market place is continually changing with new substrates to be finished and new production methods being implemented, Mirka will always remain ahead of the game providing its customers with the products and expertise they have come to expect.
  1. In the last 40 years, Mirka has launched a numerous tools and abrasives to the woodworking sector, so what has been the most popular tool and abrasive?
  • An easy question to answer regarding abrasives, Abranet, net sanding was one of the greatest innovations in dust free sanding, it revolutionised the industry at the time, the name is now synonymous with dust free sanding and even “Look alike” products from our competitors fail to shake off the name.
  • Our Mirka CEROS and later Mirka DEROS electric sander which received many design awards and accolades, catapulted the Mirka brand into the tooling market, and left traditional manufacturers standing in a gasp that a relatively unknown brand had brought to the market place a tool which challenged the status quo and captured customers’ requirements.

For more information, see the Mirka UK website