History of Sanding Machines
Since the beginning of manufacturing, producers had developed a strong necessity of making products to become better and better. Quality is indispensable and finishing essential to deliver quality products. When it comes to finishing raw materials such as wood, steel or leather, sanding may be a very important step depending on the type of final product desired.
The first recordings of sanding being applied as finishing method as we know today come actually from China. In the 13th century, sand, crushed seeds or shells were used to sand raw materials, as they were bonded to parchment with natural gum. This would later develop in what became sand paper. Surprisingly, shark skin was also a common material used as sandpaper.
Sanding was always a long work process, whether for larger areas or for small object that requires more precision. Manual sanding was an exhausting process and the demanding amount of work created the necessity of a sanding machine. The first sanding machines were actually entirely human-operated. A pedal was used to spin a drill thus making sanding an easier process.
With electricity, sanding machine drills started to be powered by electric motors making the process even easier. However, it was in the post war period, in which big factories emerged and mass production took place, that sanding machines really developed.
It’s very hard to find recordings about which company (or companies) produced the first models of sanding machines or exactly when, but they were soon established as essential pieces of machinery to several brands of industry, particularly timber and wood furniture production, shoe industry and even some metal grinding processes.
After this period several companies developed the exact opposite: portable sanding machines which could be used for non professional work in small scale. The portable sanding machines were very important for the development of other specific types of business such as flooring.
Today, thanks to computers, we find large-scale sanding machines which operate with a high-precision level and completely without user intervention. Digital-computer operated sanding machines are now able to produce a more uniform result, with a precision of millimeters. Safety equipments also developed a lot since the creation of sanding machines, making the activity also safer for employees.