ArcelorMittal’s Granite® Impression Cloudy organic coated steel has proved extremely popular in Europe for external building applications. Now Granite® Impression Cloudy is also finding a home in South America, thanks to Kubiec-Conduit, an Ecuador-based manufacturer of roofing, profiles, pipes and tubing.
Kubiec-Conduit started to import Granite® Impression Cloudy into Ecuador in 2013. “We were searching for a product that emulated clay tiles, a common and popular roofing solution in Ecuador,” explains Marcelo Burbano de Lara, Kubiec-Conduit’s lead civil engineer. “Granite® Impression Cloudy is an ideal solution, particularly for roofs where low weight is important.”
Cost is also a major advantage for Granite® Impression Cloudy as traditional handmade clay tiles are relatively expensive. “Corrugated cement and asbestos sheeting have been used for a number of years in roofs where weight and cost are issues,” says Marcelo. “Granite® Impression Cloudy is rapidly replacing these products.”
The main market for Granite® Impression Cloudy tiles in Ecuador has been in residential developments of between 25 and 30 houses which are aimed at middle-class families. Granite® Impression Cloudy is a much healthier choice, particularly compared to asbestos or cement roofing. As part of ArcelorMittal’s Nature range of organic coated products, Granite® Impression Cloudy is completely free of harmful hexavalent chromium and heavy metals, whether in surface treatments or in primer and finishing coats of paint.
Although Kubiec-Conduit is a long-term ArcelorMittal customer, the company initially sourced products similar to Granite® Impression Cloudy from Asia. “Unfortunately these suppliers proposed a finish which was not as well accepted as we hoped,” Marcelo explains. “Then our ArcelorMittal contact here in Ecuador introduced us to Granite® Impression Cloudy. Now the market for our clay-tile lookalike roofing solution is growing very fast. The feedback from customers has been very positive.”
While the relationship with ArcelorMittal has not always been smooth, Marcelo is confident that any problems have been addressed: “Last year we had some delays. However, ArcelorMittal made corrections and reoriented the organisation.” Things have run more smoothly since and ArcelorMittal remains a trusted and reliable supplier. “ArcelorMittal try,” says Marcelo. “We know they are very serious.”
Kubiec-Conduit also rely on ArcelorMittal’s team in Ecuador for technical assistance. “The ArcelorMittal people in Ecuador are very experienced and know their products well. Their technical people understand what we are trying to achieve. That is very valuable,” notes Marcelo.
Today Marcelo is very positive about the cooperation and assistance Kubiec-Conduit receive: “ArcelorMittal are creating value-added products and we need those products! They regularly introduce us to alternative solutions so that we can stay one step ahead of our competitors. We are aiming to be innovative so it helps to have an innovative supplier.”
Kubiec was founded in the 1990s and has worked with ArcelorMittal since the beginning of operations. In 2012, Kubiec acquired Conduit, a much older company which produces pipes and tubing. Known as Kubiec-Conduit since the acquisition, the company employs more than 500 people and has operations in Ecuador, Colombia and Chile.
The company turns over US$100 million a year and exports to Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela.
Kubiec invested over US$8 million in its new continuous sandwich panel line based in Guayaquil (Ecuador).
Like Kubiec, Conduit had a long relationship with ArcelorMittal prior to the merger. The company still uses ArcelorMittal’s hot rolled and galvanised steels in its pipe and tubing business.
With a warm thank you for the interview & for their collaboration to this article:
Marcelo Burbano de Lara, Kubiec-Conduit’s lead civil engineer
& Andrea Rossi, Client Technical Support ArcelorMittal International LATAM.
Image courtesy: Kubiec-Conduit