Armstrong Cabinets Plant Shot Considered a workhorse in the woodworking plant, widebelt sanders are essential for their ability to machine a consistent, high-quality finish.
“Across all the woodworking industries, companies value a consistency of finish quality from their sander above all other capabilities. They want to be able to repeat a surface on the workpiece regardless of the species, the batch size, or the operator running the machine,” said Tim Middleton, product manager at Stiles Machinery. “The more subjectivity can be removed from the surface finish of the wood by the machine, the more desirable the sander will be.”
In addition to consistency, also critical is the ability to maintain tight tolerances. “On the top of the list of customer needs are tight tolerances, not only from side to side, but also having no ‘dubbed’ (rolled) edges,” said Harold Kapaun of the Apex Machine Group, a division of SlipCon. “With veneers getting thinner and thinner, customers demand a sander with very tight tolerances so they are not burning through their panels.”
Dressing the conveyor belt can help improve the machine’s tolerance, Kapaun said. He added that this process will also restore the grip of the conveyor belt feeding product into the sander.
Customers’ increased requirements for tight tolerances was also noted by Mike Johnson, brand manager at Biesse America. “We are seeing an increase in demand from the North American market for veneer sanding machine configurations with a working width capacity of 5 feet,” he said.
“In the past, the 5-foot width capacity demand came mainly from larger manufacturers of residential and office furniture, but today the demand is coming from a much broader range of medium-sized companies producing a wide variety of products. This has pushed us to produce machines in a much more affordable price range that have the ability to run this width of material,” Johnson added.
The need for versatility in the machine was also remarked on by Tim Sermonet, product manager at SCM Group USA. “Today’s market demands are for versatile machines that can handle many applications, such as sanding wood, veneer and sealer. As more shops are taking on a wider range of jobs companies do not want to have to purchase multiple machines.”
Keith Paxton, product manager at Holz-Her U.S., a division of Weinig, also noted the need for versatility due to the range of thicknesses, widths and media required to be sanded today. “The common item all manufacturers look for in a machine is a high quality, consistent sanded surface that is easy to reproduce, irregardless of the operator,” Paxton said.