Which markets/industries is AFS able to supply and which ones is it currently focusing on?
“At Alcoa we are involved in a wide spectrum of markets, as our fasteners are used in practically every application and every market. As a rule we do not focus on a particular market segment. Instead we concentrate on applications where we can add value.
These applications are normally found in defence – military applications, building, construction, industrial air conditioners, agriculture, as well as our core markets such as automotive, truck and trailers, and rail. A more recent sector, which we are currently actively pursuing, is the green energy market (wind and solar energy). We have been working on some interesting applications for this sector and see it as a growing market for us in the future.”
What presence does the company have in the rail industry?
“There are two separate markets in the rail industry that we supply. The first is the infrastructure side – the track, the overhead cabling, cable exchanges and construction of stations. The second market is train carriage construction – in its simplest form that means everything that is moving on the tracks.
Our customers are all the major players in the industry. The reason our customers choose Alcoa is because they do not want to compromise on safety. Our products are used in critical, high safety, and technically demanding applications, and provide quality fastening over many years.”
How does AFS work with rail customers and what are the advantages to the customer of this relationship?
“Whilst the sales team at Alcoa Fastening Systems does get involved in the commercial aspect – prices, terms and conditions, etc, we are predominately sales engineers. This means we are able to understand what the customer is looking for and we are able to translate it to our engineering team. Our sales team is always involved in the process and is able to help customers find the ideal solution for their application.
Our sales engineers tend to work directly with the customers’ engineering and production departments. We present our products, demonstrate the benefits we provide, analyse what type of products our customers are using and for what applications, and because we have built a strong relationship with our customers – and have a strong reputation in the railcar industry – they speak to us about specific applications and ask for recommendations on what products we think will work best.
This means that right from the beginning of working with us customers are benefiting from our experience and technical expertise, resulting in them finding the perfect solution for their applications, as soon as possible.”
AFS has a European network of facilities. How does the Group ensure that it presents a consistent service across Europe?
“With manufacturing and distribution facilities on all major continents AFS has extensive experience working with customers on a global scale, as well as providing for the fastening needs of local manufacturers. This means that when a customer moves to a new market or creates a new plant in a country, we are able to serve and support them immediately.
As a business we are technically innovative and flexible.
We are able to solve our customers’ issues as they are looking for a solution to their application. We have the capability to customise products to meet the application requirements or produce a totally new fastener if needed.
Our ability to provide innovative products, combined with our long-standing leadership and commitment to excellence, makes us the best choice for the rail markets fastening needs.”
Having spent a decade in the fastener industry experiencing every facet – from steel mills, fastener manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, as well as machinery builders and plating + coating companies, Claire has developed an in-depth knowledge of all things fasteners.
Alongside visiting numerous companies, exhibitions and conferences around the world, Claire has also interviewed high profile figures – focusing on key topics impacting the sector and making sure readers stay up to date with the latest developments within the industry.