Pete Sartain, national sales manager – industrial, of Mirka UK


Mirka is a world leader in abrasive technology, offering some of the most sought-after abrasives, and exemplary tools. Offering a complete range of technically superior, high-quality coated abrasives on net, foam, paper, non-woven and cloth, Mirka’s abrasives are available as discs, strips, sheets, rolls and belts. 

In terms of tools, the Mirka Power Tools division develops and manufactures advanced, ergonomic and lightweight sanding machines that provide a total sanding solution and deliver real benefits to customers.

Mirka’s tool range consists of electric and pneumatic sanding machines, polishing machines, hand blocks and dust extractors, along with equipment for sanding walls and ceilings.

The company also provides a wide selection of Mirka accessories to complement its extensive range of abrasives, polishes and tools.

Combining the aforementioned products, together with innovative and high-tech, easy-to-use, step-by-step processes, Mirka’s customers will, and do, reap real benefits, by using total system solutions. The company’s concept of dust-free sanding, combined with effective surface finishing solutions, has replaced traditional sanding methods in many industries.

Regarding the challenging year coming to a close soon, and looking forward to next year, F&JP spoke with Pete Sartain, national sales manager – industrial, of Mirka UK.

What makes Mirka stand out?

Mirka’s success is founded on a company culture that aims to constantly seek out new challenges and apply creative thinking to generate continuous improvement and unique solutions.

The cornerstone is an intensive research and development programme and the commitment of talented staff across all areas of the business. This has resulted in the development of revolutionary abrasive technology and the creation of groundbreaking new coatings production processes and a new generation of ergonomic and lightweight electric sanders.

How would you summarise 2020?

Driven by innovative products that challenge the current marketplace, Mirka has seen impressive historical growth in sales to the wood sector, and 2020 will be no exception to this. It is reassuring to be working for a market leader with core values that allow us to ride the storm, so to speak.

What has surprised, pleased or disappointed you about how your business has reacted or adapted to the myriad challenges this year?

In the words of Joseph Kennedy, immortalised in the song by Billy Ocean, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” 

Mirka has always believed that success is led by people. Our vice president Simon Bloxham once said at a meeting: “If you want to know what makes Mirka great, look in the mirror every morning. You are the face of the company and represent everything about us.”

The defining measure of any company is not how it performs in times of growth and prosperity – it’s easy to grow in a growing market. What defines a company is how it performs in challenging years such as 2020. The resilience and general positive can-do attitude of our team here at Mirka inspires me on a daily basis.

We all have our heroes during Covid-19 – Captain Sir Tom Moore, the NHS staff and thousands of other key workers. But we often forget the people around us, our work colleagues, without whom the wheels of our business would stop turning. 

Rapid growth in our business in the last decade has meant many changes and challenges, yet the team at Mirka is used to adapting to change, and 2020 is no exception.

Can you tell us about future developments and your ambitions for 2021?

Utilising the latest coating technology, Mirka’s R&D team is currently working on new products across the range to offer innovative finishing solutions to the marketplace. 

Wide-belt sanding will form part of this. With the exception of Mirka’s Ultimax range, new product development has been limited from all suppliers, but it’s now time for a change, and the product range currently being developed will not only meet the challenges of the new sanding machine technology, but will also deliver on the new sanding substrates being used by our customers.

It’s an exciting time – watch this space …