Alexandra, could you please tell us about your company and its production available in Russia now?
First of all, some words about Endecotts’ ideology. The size of particles is of critical importance in any industry which yields particle-consisting production, powders, crushed stones, etc. In any scientific or laboratory research, the particle size also matters much.
Our company is focused on sieves for laboratory and industrial usage, sieving machines, and grinding mills. We produce sieves for all applications, for all particle types and sizes. We provide a wide selection of automatic sieving machines and grinding mills. The most common type of sieving machines is sieve shakers, i.e. mechanically vibrating machines. We have the ultrasonic sieving machines as well. Our catalogue also contains the analyzers of air jet particles. The majority of our sieving machines can measure the mass of each fraction of separated sample, which makes possible the calculation of fractions percentage in a whole sample. We can provide convenient and user-friendly software for such calculations as well as for controlling our machines and automation of sieving or milling processes.
Endecotts’ grinding mills can disintergate particles to any demanded size, in the range from tens of micrometers to millimeters. Different methods can be used for such disintegration – crushing, cracking, grinding, clashing, and tearing up. Crushing and cracking is mostly used for obtaining large-sized particles, while clashing and tearing up is used for fine disintegration resulting in very small particles. Homogenization and disintregration of the sample is strictly required for such widely-used analytical methods as atomic absorption, infrared spectroscopy, X-ray fluorescence, etc.
We also provide a wide selection of accessories and complimentary products such as calibrating microspheres of any given size, rubber sieve balls used to improve the sieving of cohesive materials, cleaning kits for sieves and machines, etc.
What are the fields of Endecotts’ production using?
Our production could be used everywhere, wherever it’s possible. Scientific centers and universities use it for research applications. Pharmaceutical, cosmetic, chemical, food, etc. industry – for sieving of powders, flours, therapeutic drugs. Building and construction industry – for concrete and bitum manufacturing, also for fractionation of sands and crushed stones. Agriculture – for grain fractionation by their size and shape. Geology – for analysis of soil samples. Diamond and jewellery industry – for sorting of gemstones and jewels. Ecology monitoring – for examination of particles in the air and water from ponds and lakes; in particular, this could provide information about microorganisms and animals living and surrounding this lake or pond.
The exact range of particle size and degree of particle uniformity is required for certification of any particle-consisting product manufactured by industry. If all the particles are of identical size, within narrow range, this usually tells about good production quality. In contrary, if the size of any particle falls out from the given range, this particle appears to be an impurity which should be taken away from the product. However, it is not always like this. Corn flakes, for instance, should be naturally different in size. If corn flakes are disintegrated in a grinding mill in order to obtain uniformly sized particles, one could get crumbles instead.
Not only the size, but also the shape of particles is taken into account in many applications. In agricultural industry, it is quite important to fractionate grains by their shape in order to take away broken or damaged grains. This requires special sieves with grain-shaped mesh. Such sieves are surely present among our products. In the building industry, one should consider the flakiness of crushed stones, i.e. percentage of stones with flattened or needle-like shape. For shape-based fractionation of stones one should use sieves with special-shaped mesh. Our company also provides sieves with square, rectangular, or trianglular mesh which could be used, first of all, in diamond or jewellery industries.
What is the Endecotts’ business strategy in Russia? Do you think that Russian market of sieves and other Endecotts’ production is highly competitive?
We usually do not serve our customers directly, but with a help of our local distributors. This concerns not only Russian but also other markets of Endecotts. Sometimes we could deliver our production immediately to the final user, but it is an exception rather than a rule. We have distributors in Russia, main of them is OOO "RVS" located in Saint-Petersburg. Now we do not have plans to expand our distributor network further, since this could disorder our working process. OOO "RVS" was designated as our distributor quite recently, around two or three years ago, but this company is an active player at the Russian market since 1996, it stays in touch with many Russian customers and stays well informed about their needs. As I would say, it is rather difficult for a company to work as our distributor, since it should not only search and attract customers but also follow the business trends at the local market, stay informed about expanding or declining of certain industry branches, and predict possible changes in customers’ needs. Our company is supporting the distributors in Russia or any other country in every possible way. We provide them with all our production, teach and consult all their employees, organize various seminars and trainings about marketing and customer acquisition.
The service of our production in Russia is organized exclusively by our distributors. There are qualified technicians and engineers who can perform any necessary reparation or maintenance procedure. If any equipment should be replaced, we try to do this in a minimal time period. Of course, the replacement is not so easily performed as it is within European countries, since there are custom procedures, shipping, etc. However it’s difficult to remember any recent accident when we had to replace any of our instruments. Our production is marked by high quality.
What about our competitors in Russian market, we have a lot of them. There are many local producers of sieves and sieving machines in Russia who sell their production at much lower price than we could do. In addition, all our prices are in British pounds, while Russian producers are selling for the local currency. Such producers are not only getting more abundant but permanently improve the quality of their production. At the same time, the potential market of our production is quite large in Russia, mainly due to highly developed agricultural, building, and other industries. Nevertheless, only a small part of our entire production, such as 1 or 2%, is sold within Russia. Of course, both the political sanctions and economical crisis in Russia affects our sales, but we hope that such difficulties will end soon, and the percentage of Russians among the whole of Endecotts’ customers would increase up to 5-10%.
As I would say, our market in Europe is also competitive. Our primary competitor a German corporation named Retsch, whose production is delivered to many countries including Russia. Besides that, in every European country, likewise Russia, there is a plenty of local manufacturers. Some companies are our strong competitors at the sector of sieves, while some others make a hard competition at the markets of sieve shakers, grinding mills, and accessories. The overall pattern of our competitors is quite complicated. In general, we have more profitable market in Western than in Eastern Europe. In such countries an Poland or Czech Republic, welfare level is not so high for this moment, similarly to Russia, and for standing the competition there we have to sell our production at low prices.
Does your company improve its production in any directions? Do you develop and introduce any innovations?
Obviously, the sieve is a very simple thing to be much improved. We have already reached the highest quality level possible for today. The sieving machines and grinding mills can be improved in the aspects of design and operating simplicity, but there is still not too much space for innovations. What we can do is to ensure that our product catalogue really includes sieves and machines for every possible application, analytical or industrial, and we can provide everything that should meet any international or national requirements. We must have sieves of all demanded sizes or shapes. If any new application of our production could ever be imagined, we would be pleased to produce a suitable solution for it.
Does Endecotts produce anything other than the facilities for sieving and grinding of solid particles?
We also produce consistometers which are able to measure viscosity, ultrasonic cleaners, bed dryers, homogenizers, samplers. Some time ago we produced industrial filters, but their production declined and finally stopped. Once we had an idea to produce laser particle size analyzers, but it was not realized. In general, the strategy of our company is to concentrate our efforts on those things which are currently producing, rather than looking for new, unfamiliar areas.