From paint-brush to automated robotic painting - every imaginable coating procedure is tested in the competence centre for wood surfaces of paint supplier Remmers. As a reference for optimal sanding quality a widebelt sander from Kündig is being used.
"As of October 2014, the competence centre for wood surfaces is officially up and running" says Elmar Kaiser, division manager for application technologies at Remmers. "We really put a lot of emphasis on research and development and spend a lot of time and effort trialling our products. Thanks to the enhanced capabilities of our new competence centre we can even test the most modern procedures such as robotic painting."
The competence centre is meant to function as an intersection between craft made, industrial applications and our research; "Thanks to the new facilities we can further expand our already extensive seminar program with up to 10,000 participants per year. “The art nouveau villa at the entrance of the plant premises is freshly renovated and provides the perfect ambiance for such purposes." The new testing hall just behind is the actual centre piece: "We see this place as a dialogue centre. This means we’re not only developing and trialling our products but also putting emphasis on field testing. This works best through the exchange of experiences with craftsmen and industry representatives. Their feedback is enormously important to us and serves us in developing and refining our products." But they’re not just limiting themselves on talking, smiles Kaiser; "Together with end users, we are searching for the best solutions for their exact applications."
The know-how gained is a win-win situation for all parties involved: "The competence centre offers a transfer of knowledge in both directions. This provides our customers with a competitive edge", Kaiser is certain. In the 795sqm facility, every established coating technology is available - from simple bucket guns, to airless-pumps, flow-coat, spraying tunnel and even a six-axis robot with 3D feature recognition. The focus lies on the technologically agile field of windows, "but we can transfer our findings and techniques to furniture too", Kaiser clarifies. The wide range of possibilities serves to simulate modern production facilities - this helps in preventing misinvestments. On the other hand, the coating systems have been very deliberately acquired to accurately emulate a customer’s personal configurations: "This greatly improves our ability to help customers finding and tackling problems related to their specific working environment", the expert explains.
In order to evaluate test results in a scientifically sound way, a certain framework needs to be adhered to. The preparation of test samples is particularly important, in order to warrant comparable results. "For this purpose, we have defined a certain sanding quality that is based on the best possible surface quality achievable. What followed were very in depth market studies. They revealed that there were only three companies that could provide a sander accurate enough to be shortlisted to become our reference machine."
"The reason we preferred Kündig to the two other renowned companies is simple," says Kaiser; "Many of our customers have praised Kündig for their sanding quality for a long time, not only for furniture but also for windows and many other applications. That was the decisive factor that made us call the Swiss precision sanding machine producer." Thereupon the oblique sanding technology was examined carefully: "We have examined the sanding results of various customers on-site. They were all impeccable." In the competence centre, Remmers found the oblique sanding technique to produce finer surfaces than the normal parallel sanding procedure: "Especially with water-based paints, this is a true advantage" explains Kaiser.