Abrasives have been designed from the ground up to provide users in a wide variety of industries with a product that is suitable for multiple applications.
However, with the evolution of widebelt sanders and the increasing number of businesses adding them to their workshop, abrasive manufacturers are working on providing a range products that meets the demands of the jobs, while also engaging with the user to educate them on what is available on the market and how the abrasives will assist their business’ short, medium and long term goals regarding productivity, efficiency and profitability.
Previously, there was a time when one belt in the workshop covered a multitude of applications. However, those days are long gone, but there is still demand for the universal semi-open coat belts for hardwoods and softwoods, although these are slowly decreasing as the market place demands a variety of alternative finishes to wood and lacquer.
This evolution has led to the belts becoming as important as the most hi-tech pieces of machinery and, over the last five years, Mirka has challenged the status quo with a range of innovative products:
Left to right: Ultimax, Abranet Max, Gold MAX
- Ultimax abrasive belts are manufactured using a pioneering production process called ‘Selective Coating’ technology. The belts feature a series of tiny cavities that are designed into the abrasive to prevent clogging. This innovative technology works alongside the special abrasive grain to produce a material that delivers aggressive performance with excellent edge wear resistance, while keeping the sanding surface cool.
- Abranet Max is a universal product suited to a broad variety of sanding applications. Due to its net structure, it does not easily clog up on resinous wood types or soft materials and the sanded surface stays cooler and avoids burning. The tough aluminium oxide grain delivers a high cut rate on harder wood types and materials. The symmetric net structure enables an efficient cut and stock removal. Lower pressure is needed and a more consistent surface finish means minimal quality variations in the process when sanding.
- Gold MAX’s blue fired aluminium oxide grains enable it to achieve a high cut rate even on harder paints. Its innovative anti-static E-paper provides the abrasive with added strength and stability to offer efficient sanding and a smooth surface finish while the semi-open coating minimises the dust loading on the abrasive so that it can be used on a variety of intermediate and fine sanding applications.
Pete Sartain, national sales manager of Mirka UK, comments: “These innovative products can be traced back to the R&D department in Jeppo, Finland. This is the hub for the development of all Mirka’s lines. The team is never complacent and is always looking at the next steps the industry will take.
“As a business, we have a dynamic system where we can feedback the success stories and work we do with customers, which will assist them in in the development process moving forward, while also providing them with a clear idea as to what specific requirements there are for the markets worldwide, which allows Mirka to stay as the market leader within multiple industries.
“These procedures ensure that each piece of information collected is available to use in the formation of innovation abrasive technologies that provide the versatility and high quality finish the Mirka brand has become synonymous with.
“Businesses are investing large sums of money in hi-tech finishing machinery, the abrasive belts are a vital part of the sanding process within the machine, they contribute to streamlining the production process, while providing a consistent high end finish and an extended life span, which in turn reduces product down time and potentially increases the profitability of the business.”
Pete adds: “I would urge end users to contact Mirka regarding finishing solutions we are happy to offer on-site technical expertise from our team of sales people to ensure that businesses are matched with the correct tools for the job."
"We can visit a site and provide a full written report detailing current products and processes along with recommendations to change and simple process charts to ensure the workforce all follow the same process this ensures that business’ productivity is on a par with what is expected from the tools in use. We know that not all sanding belts are the same and long gone are the days when the weight of paper and grain type were the only options available. We all know the cheapest option is rarely the most economical, and a better finish, longer life and uninterrupted production are key factors when considering the right belt to use.”