Pete Sartain, National Sales Manager, Mirka UK reveals some of the latest developments from the sanding and abrasives expert. Professional Builder’s Lee Jones finds out more.
“The ethos of the company has always been to develop products that are distinct from what already exists in the marketplace,” declares Pete Sartain, National Sales Manager, Mirka UK. “That’s why our R&D department make a real effort to talk to end users, and the answer is invariably that they want equipment that saves them time.”
Innovation is a much over-used phrase in the building industry, but it is this Finnish manufacturer’s culture which has carved out a unique space for its solutions, as Pete explains: “The LEROS wall and ceiling sander proved a very successful launch nearly two years ago now, for instance, but tradespeople were asking for a site-work compatible 110V option to go alongside the existing 230V machine.”
Rather than simply introduce an entirely new tool, with builders then compelled to buy two separate machines, Mirka has introduced a Dual Voltage LEROS. There’s no need for the additional purchase of a 110 and 230V, or the inconvenience of carrying a heavy transformer around in the van, because all that needs to be changed to switch between the two voltages is the lead. It’s technology that can easily be extended to other sanders in the range and represents a significant departure from what other power tool manufacturers are developing.
The LEROS already benefits from a brushless motor and a sanding head with 180-degree flexibility. Add to that a 5mm random orbital movement, a light weight of 3.5kg – together with dust-free sanding – and you have a very versatile machine, which can now be used on site or in residential settings. Connectivity is now a part of our everyday lives, with the internet of things ensuring that we have access to a wealth of data on a whole range of equipment in use – and our power tools are no different.
“We will move towards incorporating our Bluetooth connectivity throughout the Mirka portfolio of tools over time,” reveals Pete, “while the 110V sanders do not currently have Bluetooth connectivity, certainly most of the new ones already do. By downloading the My Mirka app, you can register the warranty, and interrogate the performance of the tool. The technology will soon be available to integrate with a dashboard, which will allow companies to monitor all of the tools they own, including service intervals, and the health of the equipment, whilst a Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) real-time monitor can register your daily exposure. Incorporating digital technology to our tools opens up a wide range of opportunities to provide our customers with the solutions to challenges that previously were a stumbling block.”
It was 20 years ago that a new patented technology put Mirka at the forefront of dust-free sanding. By developing an abrasive that featured a net structure, instead of a conventional paper backing, the manufacturer was able to introduce extremely efficient on-tool dust removal. As a result, the Abranet abrasive ensures a sanding particle is never more than 0.5mm from a dust extraction hole. This means that sanding grains are able to retain their cutting power and the resulting dust is safely removed. The material is highly resistant to dust pills and clogging and is easily cleared to ensure optimal use out of every abrasive.
There are now many versions of the original Abranet, with new ones being continually developed and patented, whilst 2019 also saw the emergence of two new products in that proud tradition – Iridium and Novastar. Heralding the next generation of abrasives, both products feature a ceramic and aluminium oxide coating on flexible paper that prevents clogging and reduces pilling. That means it can repel dust, increasing its lifetime, whilst at the same time accommodating multi-hole patterns for optimal dust extraction. It is Mirka’s commitment to dust extraction that has made it one of the pioneers in tackling this significant health and safety issue. That’s why it is busy researching cordless products that will be able to achieve the same industry leading extraction performance as its corded solutions.
“The Mirka mindset is always to ask ourselves what the customer wants from a sander,” concludes Pete Sartain. “What that amounts to is getting the job done quickly and safely, but with the best possible finish, and that is very much the focus of our product development.”
For further information on the range of solutions from Mirka visit mirka.com/