Composite finishing is constantly evolving and there are several trends that Mirka UK and its team of technical experts are seeing on the ground. With this in mind, Composites in Manufacturing met with Chris Brook, business sector manager, transport & industry for Mirka UK to find out more about a few of them.
Within the composites industry, abrasives play a pivotal role in various processes, contributing directly to quality of the end product. As the demand for lightweight and durable structures continues to rise across industries like aerospace, automotive, and construction, the use of our innovative abrasive and tooling solutions become increasingly indispensable.
There is also a slow but concerted move towards automation for composite finishing. This move is happening because businesses are slowly starting to understand and see the benefits in terms of production output and overall efficiency that automation can bring. Once automation becomes the norm, we will see an increase in the use of AI and optical systems that will make bespoke items made through automation easier, as there will be less need to create bespoke programmes for the job, as the AI will constantly be learning and creating relevant programs and moves to do the job. In addition, automation will lead to a reduction in production times that will, in turn, result in an increase in output as well as the quality of the end product.
From a business perspective, companies are looking for providers that offer a full service rather than one aspect such as training or abrasives. At Mirka, we provide the whole package by working closely with customers to understand their tooling and abrasive requirements as well as their processes, and we regularly audit their operations to help them plus keep them updated with product innovation. Doing this ensures we can provide the right products so that everything is optimised, which helps increase the efficiency of their processes, in turn, improving their production levels, and our team of experienced technical experts provides ongoing support and training.
Busting the dust
There is also a focus on health and safety and businesses are recognising the importance of dust-free sanding and a dust-free workspace. To achieve this, businesses are investing in suitable mobile extraction systems. This investment is not a short-term injection of the business’ cash, it should be viewed as a long-term commitment so that it can provide an effective solution for a cleaner workspace, a reduction in prepping and tidying up at the end of the day, and the potential for dust contamination of other tools and surfaces. This investment also ensures the businesses are HSE compliant when it comes to dust in the workplace and takes away the potential citations from HSE as well.
Overall, there is going to be evolution and trends that hit the market and the way we will stay at the forefront of the market is through constant communication with the end user to ensure they have the right tools, abrasives and processes to meet their requirements in the short, medium and long term.