US Saws holds a unique position in North America’s concrete cutting and grinding industry. It is a medium-sized company focusing on customized machinery and accessories and enjoying the advantage of creativity and flexibility that the industry’s behemoths can only envy. Andrei Bushmarin reports from its factory in Santa Ana, Calif.
North America is a trendsetter and arguably the world’s biggest market in surface preparation. It boasts numerous players all jostling for a leading position in the industry. In order to survive and thrive in this cutthroat environment, suppliers need to offer first-rate products backed by superior service. It was around this principle that US Saws’ founders built their company. Three musketeers the original firm, called Sawtec, was established by Bill Glynn Sr, Warren Duncan, and Bruce Root in 1991. Friends since high school, Glynn and Root gained experience in construction machinery working at a company called Sinco, which manufactured air-powered saws. Sinco was also the first supplier in the US to sell dry diamond blades. New Zealand-born Duncan is an engineer with a degree from Auckland University and many patents to his name. He already had considerable experience of surface preparation in the early 90s, when the industry was still in its infancy. But, the growth potential was obvious. Duncan met Glynn on a construction project in New York, and they soon decided to launch their own surface preparation company, Sawtec. Several years later its steady progress attracted the attention of US Filter/Blastrac. In 1998, Blastrac acquired the controlling interest in Sawtec. Three years later, Duncan, Glynn, and Root joined forces again and set up US Saws. Because a non-competition agreement with Blastrac precluded them serving the surface preparation industry, US Saws focused on equipment and tools for underground utilities. Solutions for the water and sewer sector currently remain a core business for the company. Generation change and buyout In 2011, Glynn’s sons Dave and Bill Jr. joined the company, having previously gained considerable experience of surface national sales of equipment for underground utilities, product development, and finance. Coast-to-coast coverage US Saws maintains three depots strategically positioned to provide full service across North America. All manufacturing is done at the factory in Santa Ana, where some of the company’s most loyal customers are based. As the majority of its business is on the East Coast, the company set up its headquarters and main sales office in Tampa, Fla. The company also runs a small sales and stock facility in Connecticut to address the needs of customers in the Northeast. Keeping manufacturing and sales facilities apart was a conscious decision aimed at helping each department focus on its respective tasks. A trailblazer in surface preparation expertise and solutions for underground utilities are the two legs that US Saws stand on. In the surface preparation business, accounting for some 40 percent of sales, the company enjoys the reputation of an innovator. In the late 1990s, US Saws invented and patented technology of dust-free grinding of industrial floors, built around an in house designed vacuum shroud. This was a groundbreaking invention that put the company ahead of its rivals and became a signature product. US Saws was also the first to develop stand up versions of hand grinders. Thanks to the smart design, the system gives the feel of a hand-held machine while providing the benefit of standing. The most current model incorporates pitch and roll control of the grinding head from a standing position. US Saws currently offers a full range of grinder vacuum shrouds along with a choice of joint cleanout saws, crack chasing saws, dust collectors, and two-part joint filler pumps. The CC100 walk-behind crack chaser has a height adjustment within the wheel directly beside the blade. This solution allows the entire machine to pivot at the blade without the influence of castors, which increases reliability. Dave Glynn says that customers often spark the most original of the company’s ideas; all the manufacturer has to do is listen to The extensive field experience that Dave and Bill Jr. have gained during their tenure as contractors also help them better understand users’ needs and requirements.
Bright outlook for the industry The company is upbeat about the surface preparation industry’s prospects. According to Dave Glynn, it will continue to grow at a steady pace as polished concrete and epoxy coatings are becoming increasingly popular with homeowners and managers of industrial facilities. Polished concrete has proven itself as a sustainable flooring solution while the resinous flooring market, boasting innovative systems with metallic reflectors and other decorative elements, is constantly expanding, particularly in the high-end residential market. There will always be a demand for coatings among owners of food-processing facilities, airplane hangars, and parking garages. Another positive trend, notes Dave, is that more people are becoming educated on the importance of surface preparation. As such, they are less inclined to economize when carrying out a renovation. New horizons are beckoning Having secured its position in North America’s market, US Saws is now looking to expand internationally on a larger scale. Currently, its overseas sales account for about 1 percent, so the company is looking for partners outside the US. Apart from comprehensive expertise in surface preparation, US Saws has other innovative solutions to offer to domestic and international customers. The Core-EZ core drilling system and cordless valve exerciser are examples. The Core-EZ is a mounted handheld system effectively combining the precision of a rig-mounted drill with compactness and ease of operation of a hand-held machine. It breaks down to a compact size making transportation and set-up much easier. The system is fixed on to a wall at the center of the core so there are no additional mounting holes that would need patching-up once the job is done. The Core-EZ delivers cordless drilling in reinforced concrete with a 78.7-in (200mm) core bit up to 112.2 in (285mm), which is unmatched by competing systems. The manufacturer foresees a bright future for it, particularly with heavy-duty drillers. A battery-powered version is available on sites without mains electricity. The valve exerciser is US Saws’ fastest-growing product in the water and sewer division. Featuring a foot restraint, the battery-powered machine is portable and powerful. It turns in forward and reverse directions, and has a counter to count turns on the valve. Another niche product from US Saws is a line of air-powered saws. According to the company, air saws are a viable alternative in situations when gas, hydraulics or electricity cannot be used. These machines will be on display at the World of Concrete show in January 2018 along with a new joint saw, a redesigned dust shroud for hand grinders, and a new joint fill polyurea pump.