What widebelt sanding capabilities are on woodworkers’ wish lists? Here’s what the experts report:
• All in one machines like planer/sanders, widebelt heads with orbital heads, widebelt and orbital heads with brushing heads, and widebelt heads with veneer segmented heads and orbital heads. Also, automation linked with the setup of the machine, and automation with material handling equipment, where only one operator is required to run entire sanding line. Gary Besonen, national woodworking sales manager, Timesavers Inc.
• We see requests for ease of setup, especially on multi-head machines. Also, the ability to adjust the drum and platen positioning automatically when changing grits, or belt wear, so you can get longer life out of the sandpaper. Tim Sermonet, product manager at SCM Group USA
• Many manufacturing companies today are striving to differentiate themselves from their competitors. One way of doing this is to increase not only the finish quality of their product, but to increase the variety of finishes and textures to their product mix. Structured rustic texturing, high gloss polished and hand-sawn appearance are just a few of the applications that we see being added to traditional sanding requirements. Mike Johnson, brand manager at Biesse America
• Flat panel processing is still an important, vital part of our manufacturing world, but more parts are becoming much more intricate and multi-dimensional. Right now there are very few options available to sand these parts. Parts like moulding, hand-scraped flooring, curved cabinet doors, etc. are becoming more popular every day, and are very difficult to sand with a feedthrough machine because of multiple issues, not least of which are the set-up times. There are machines available today to do these production runs, but often the costs are prohibitive. Brush sanders are normally not aggressive enough to give a strong uniform sand across a flat surface without obliterating the corners and edges of the workpiece, while profiled belt sanders can have long setup times or extremely high price tags. Many sanding manufacturing companies are spending significant research and development dollars in this area. Tim Middleton, product manager at Stiles Machinery Inc.
• Existing customers would like to see us offer multiple head sanders so that as they expand and require more efficiencies, they can grow with the line of products. Shawn Larkin, sales manager at Safety Speed Mfg.