Friendship Mill Beds of Read near Burnley in Lancashire predominantly manufactures pine bed frames, which are sold throughout the UK to smaller, independent retailers.
The beds come in sizes from 2ft 6in up to 6ft in width. Established in 1992, the team of a dozen has a reputation for high quality product.
The company’s reach can be quickly established by searching Friendship Mill Beds on Google: the first page – which is, after all, as far as most people get – consists almost entirely of links to companies offering Friendship Mill’s beds for sale.
Recently, the company invested in a Kündig Technic Botop 650 RRR-RRR sander. Director, Edward Ireland, explained that the sander had been purchased to increase production, save time and improve quality. The new sander has six belts, three top and three bottom: the previous three-belt sander was only a top sander, so to sand four faces each component had to pass through the sander four times: a very time-consuming process.
Because the new machine can sand top and bottom, it only needs to pass through twice – saving not just sanding time, but the time involved in re-stacking the components and moving them from the back to the front of the machine as well – a significant saving in time.
The Kündig Technic range represents “quality machines for special purposes”, according to the company’s website. In short, they are bespoke machines designed to meet customers’ specific requirements.
Examples are top and bottom sanding machines with two to six units, as at Friendship Mill Beds; the ability to work with special materials; the ability to use CNC control to work with special shapes, such as skis and snowboards; the option of extra large machines (up to 2200mm working width); sanders designed to work with plywood; sanders with cutterheads; and, for those who work with laminates, the ability to sand very thin layers of material.
In other words, if there is not already a machine in Kündig’s extensive range that can meet specific requirements, it can be created by the specialists who work on the Technic range.
In the case of Friendship Mill Beds, there was also a need to sand particularly small components, only 250mm in length. These are spindles for beds in the Shaker style, the longest components are 2.2m long. The Kündig Technic Botop sander was designed to meet this need.
Obviously, there is a choice of wide-belt sanders on the market. When asked why Kündig?, Edward replies: “We just felt they offered a very good product: not necessarily the cheapest but well engineered and with a UK agent reasonably local to us. It offered the best all round for us as a company to buy a sander from Kündig.”
Edward had also travelled with Carl O’Meara of Kündig UK to Plasse Escalier, a stair-making company in Lyon, France, to see a Kündig Technic sander in action and to meet Stephan Kündig of the Swiss parent company.
Edward is very pleased with the sander: “It is very simple to operate: the software on the sander is very easy for anybody to use with a minimum of training,” he says, also praising the layout of the control interface. He feels that it has lived up to its billing by increasing production, reduced the time taken and has “also improved the quality of the sanding we are doing”. Asking if he would recommend it, he replies, “Yes, we would.”
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