HUDDY DIAMONDS Keeps Business In Czech
In the concrete sawing and demolition industry, one trend is becoming increasingly apparent: the Eastern and Middle European companies are steadily catching up with their Western counterparts. Having mastered every aspect of machine and tool making after decades of ‘private label’ work for the industry’s heavyweights, mid-European players are now entering the global market under their own banners. Prague-based manufacturer Huddy Diamonds s.r.o. is a poster child for this trend. Andrei Bushmarin reports.
Prague is much more than just a capital city; rather it is a country unto itself. A drop-dead gorgeous, vibrant and liberal-thinking town, Prague is the Czech Republic’s “Rome to where all roads lead”. But, apart from being a tourist Mecca and a treasure trove of architectural and artistic delights, Prague is also a home to many businesses, including Huddy Diamonds.
South African background
Huddy Diamonds’s story began in 1990 when Petr Dukat and Vasco Kunft met in Prague, around six months after the ‘Velvet Revolution’. A diploma engineer, Petr Dukat had been involved in the gas pipeline industry for a short while after his graduation. Vasco Kunft, who had been living in South Africa in the 1980s, returned to the “new Czechoslovakia” looking for business opportunities. When the two got together for a brainstorming session in Prague they decided to make use of their South African connection. And one of the things that South Africa is most known for is diamonds. Vasco Kunft had a friend named Charles Eltringham working for a company in Johannesburg that had manufactured diamond tools for construction and mining applications since 1946. So diamond tools that was, said the partners. Thanks to Charles Eltringham’s unwavering support in Huddy’s formative years and Petr’s and Vasco’s perseverance, their joint venture proved to be a success.
DiaKat: in-house range
of surface prep machinery
Thirty years down the road, diamond tools for construction, stone and glass-cutting industries still account for roughly a half of the Czech company’s turnover. Huddy assembles them at its 700m2 facility on the outskirts of Prague, using its own steel cores and diamond segments from third parties. Trading in various cutting and drilling equipment was another important business area for Huddy since day one. In 2003, the company upped the ante even further by beginning to manufacture its own line of surface preparation and road rehabilitation machinery under the brand name ‘DiaKat’. Despite Huddy’s modest size, the manufacturer has its own R&D department headed by diploma engineer Petr Klima that is responsible for designing the machines. The Diakat range currently consists of floor grinders, bush hammers, crack chasers and hot air lance burners. According to the manufacturer, the range’s biggest star is the RK-10 crack chaser - a compact and lightweight machine equally suitable for road maintenance and surface preparation tasks. Accommodating 4 to 12.5mm thick blades, the chaser can also be used as a small floor saw.
Established in Europe, eyeing
UK and North America
With a track record spanning almost three decades, Huddy Diamonds is now a pretty well recognized brand in Europe, both in its Eastern and Western parts. The European sales network extends from the neighbouring Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and Germany, through Netherlands and France, all the way to Italy, Spain and Scandinavia. In the home market of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the manufacturer often deals directly with end-users whereas further afield it prefers to sell through local distributors. Currently Huddy’s short-to-mid term plans include expanding into the UK and North American markets. Once this task is accomplished, there will be the turn of India and the Middle East countries.
Company with a lion’s heart
Today Huddy Diamonds is a small-sized flexible manufacturer with a strong focus on road-rehabilitation and surface preparation machinery. The company is also a distributor for Boart Longyear drilling equipment in Czech Republic and Slovakia. Since 2004 all its manufacturing and business administration processes are governed by the ISO 9001:2000 standard. Since 2007 Huddy is a staple hall A1 exhibitor at Bauma as well. That said, the management feels that big trade shows like Bauma work better for major brands while smaller players should focus on more direct marketing and sales techniques. Commitment to quality and high resilience in challenging times are Huddy’s defining values. They say about themselves “they have a lion’s genes”. Well, it might just as well be true.