With on-going growth under-pinning diversification, R & R Joinery director Richard Wardale needed to solve a growing problem with his staff having to use different abrasives for the broader variety of jobs the company’s was winning. Clearly, a solution to this problem was required. Furniture & Joinery Production caught up with Richard to find out more.

R & R Joinery was set-up in Knowsley in April 2016, and very satisfyingly, the business has enjoyed steady growth from day one. But like any business that wants to grow, we are constantly looking to expand and diversify the work we do so that we open new sales avenues for the business. That, in itself, will bring challenges and opportunities for the production process.

R & R Joinery director Richard Wardale

Hello Richard, tell us about R&R Joinery

The main work we carry out is commercial joinery, which includes solid surface and involves working with all types of hardwood, veneer, laminates lacquers and paints, and we also do work for the commercial catering industry for blue chip clients. In the commercial catering space, we create solid surface worktops and panels for commercial kitchens – with the help of Mirka’s tools and abrasives.

What challenging issues have you encountered in your production process recently?

For the work we carry out, abrasives are a key part of the preparation and finishing process, but there were two specific issues we have faced. The first was the fact that the team was constantly having to change the abrasives on jobs, which reduced the efficiency of the task. The second was the number of abrasives we had in stock to do the work.

To counteract these issues, we upgraded to the Mirka Galaxy abrasive range and doing this has enabled the business to streamline the abrasive portfolio our employees can choose from.  This, in turn, has allowed us to save money when purchasing consumables, which we have then reinvested in the business.

Mirka allowed us to try the product out on a job to find out its capabilities and whether it suited the jobs the R & R team was doing on a day-to-day basis

What effect has this had on the business?

Since making the upgrade we have not looked back, and we have noticed two distinct benefits. The first is that Mirka Galaxy’s wide range of grits (p40-p2000) ensures we can easily choose the right grit for the job at hand. Its versatility also means it is suitable for use on both solid surface and wood, so we do not have to change abrasives depending on the surface. The second is that Galaxy’s multi-hole design ensures there is less dust being produced and this has made both our employees and customers very happy.

When did you resolve to fix the issue, and what were initial instincts?

We decided to fix the issue when we noticed how much we were spending on abrasives. In the beginning I was not 100% sure if there was an abrasive out there that was hard-wearing enough and could handle the demands of our work.

This all changed once we did our due diligence and tested Mirka Galaxy on one of the solid surface jobs we were working on. When using it we noticed it was tough and durable and the ceramic grain, which was new to us, provided a consistent cut that was as effective on the first use as it was on the last.

How did you assess the various solutions and possible providers?

Like any good business we did our research. We received recommendations from our peers, but as we were already a Mirka customer we sat down with Steven Page from Mirka to explain what we were looking for. He then came to visit us on site and explained that when using Galaxy over other abrasives we would not have to switch from one abrasive to another and that the ceramic grain was an asset when it came to the lifespan of the abrasive.

Clog-resistant coating and the new Multifit hole configuration will let you sand without dust

What sort of advice were you given?

The advice we were given by Steven Page was simple – it was to try the product out on a job to find out its capabilities and whether it suited the jobs the team were doing on a day-to-day basis. This allowed us to come to our own conclusions about whether the abrasive was right for us rather than being pigeon-holed to use a specific abrasive.

What made you conclude that Mirka was the right partner to provide the solution?

We concluded that Mirka was the right partner for our business because the Galaxy abrasive fits our needs and requirements, which are constantly changing based on the jobs we do, and it came in at a price point that made it viable to work with.

Galaxy really is in another world providing fast, dustless sanding

After you had made your decision, what was the process like from order to acquiring the solution, and what was the response and set-up like?

The process was smooth from start to finish and we got the first batch of abrasives from our local supplier Blu-Sky (UK) Ltd within a few days of making the decision to use Galaxy. The solution has allowed us to provide our customers and employees with a dust-free work environment and the advice we have been given by Steven has allowed our team to use the Galaxy abrasive at optimal level. We did not have any training as such, but we know that if we have any questions, we can just touch base with him and we will get an answer very quickly.

This recent experience has exceeded our expectations and we would recommend Mirka’s abrasives to anyone that asked us about them.