John Emptage, a member of the management team at precision diamond tooling specialist DK Holdings, and BUFA Composites’ managing director, Martijn Moonen discuss how their partnership continues to evolve and why diversification is the logical progression when it comes to supporting customers.
The composites industry has always been a sector of vast and fast change with new materials being continuously introduced, challenging both, manufacturers of raw materials and suppliers offering tooling solutions.
And let’s not forget the pressing aim of reducing global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions to net zero by 2050. One prime example of this is the renewable energy sector where composite materials play a huge part in the construction of components such as wind turbine blades, as well as GRP/FRP pipes utilised in the infrastructure for water distribution.
Partnerships across the sector are formed more and more globally, with companies in the chemical manufacture of the material and the follow-on-stage working together to develop complete manufacturing solutions in a bid to optimise production processes for customers worldwide.
“DK Holdings is a world-leading manufacturer and supplier of off-the-shelf and bespoke diamond tooling solutions across the composite manufacturing sector,” begins Emptage. “We support an ever-increasing range of industries, such as aerospace and automotive, including a number of research centres. Demand for our tooling development and technical support has steadily risen this year, particularly in developing bespoke tooling solutions to optimise existing production processes for our global customer base. We operate out of our ISO-accredited production facilities in the UK and export to over 120 countries worldwide. We are also celebrating our 65th anniversary in 2024 which we are incredibly proud of.”
BUFA Composite Systems is a global manufacturer and supplier of gelcoats and specialist polyester resin products with eight Europe-wide distribution sites.
“I am the managing director for our Benelux region and have worked with DK Holdings for a few years, usually meeting at tradeshows, such as JEC World in Paris,” states Moonen. “We do get queries from our customers around the subject of diamond tooling and John and the team are always incredibly supportive, offering technical advice. We met again at JEC World earlier this year and are now ready to take the partnership to the next level by fully diversifying and offering our customers complete solutions by expanding our portfolio from the supply of raw material such as resins, gelcoats and topcoats and adhesive resins to name a few to DK’s range of diamond tooling, both off-the-shelf and bespoke.”
Mutual benefits for all
In terms of how working with BUFA Benelux is beneficial to the team at DK Holdings, Emptage says that DK Holdings has never restricted itself to just working with end users but are always open to partnering with companies in the sector to offer a full-circle solution.
“BUFA Benelux is a great company to partner with as they not only have the know-how when it comes to the raw material, but also vast experience working with industries where we can offer our expertise in diamond tooling,” he affirms. “Take the wind turbine blade manufacturing sector which has seen growth due to the importance of reducing carbon emissions globally. We have designed, manufactured and supplied our diamond tooling, such as the range of electroplated blades, drills and specials for many years, enabling our customers to optimise production processes with solutions tailored to their individual needs.
High lowland growth
Moonen turns his attention to the Benelux region and particularly recent industry trends and where he sees the growth over the next few years.
“We felt the aftermath of Covid in the Benelux region with things now steady and encouraging signs of recovery. On the chemical side of things, an area of growth is the introduction of styrene-free resins and gelcoats. As with John, we see an increased interest in the wind turbine blade manufacturing sector, but also the supply of composite components for the production of electric buses, with many of our contacts looking for high-quality diamond tooling. Going into partnership with DK Holdings is very much a no-brainer as it is a delight working with the team, from the production staff to the front office and despatch teams. The Diamond Tooling ranges are of exceptional quality and their technical support is next to none. John and his team are always willing to go that extra mile to work with the customer to design, manufacture and supply a solution tailored to their specific needs.
According to Emptage, first and foremost DK Holdings is hoping to explore new markets and countries.
It’s a great benefit to us having team BUFA on board to introduce us to companies in their sector as well as working together to develop diamond tooling solutions for the next generation of composite materials and processes,” he concludes. “They recently visited us for some product training which was a huge success, with hopefully more combined visits here in the UK and in Europe to come.”
For Moonen, the partnership between the two companies will continue to develop, as he adds: “For BUFA, it is very much about growing our company and entering additional markets in the composites sector we have not explored before. It is such an innovative sector with constant developments across industries, we are keen to grow alongside it.”