Mirka, inventor of dust-free sanding, promotes a healthier working environment
WHEN MAS Furniture of Mysore, India decidedto switch from traditional sanding methods to Mirka’s dust-free sanding solution, the working conditions at their factory improved tremendously: earlier, the furniture factory had produced 35 kg of airborne dust every week when sanding wooden furniture – now the amount of dust was down to zero.
“Just think about the fact that the factory workers had gotten used to breathing in all that dust”, says Nina Nyman, Marketing Director at Mirka. “One of the biggest advantages with our dust-free sanding system is the fact that the working environment becomes so much healthier.”
A PIONEER in this field, Mirka presented its first dust-free sanding solution at the turn of the millennium. Since then, the competitors have tried to come up with similar solutions. However, Mirka is still one step ahead.
“Dust-free sanding is a fantastic invention in many ways”, explains R&D Director Mats Sundell. “In addition to promoting a healthier working environment it also gives a better sanding result as the abrasives are not clogged with dust.”
KNOWN FOR its innovative company culture, Mirka has come up with a lot of smaller and bigger innovations over the years, dust-free sanding being the most spectacular of them. Most of the innovations are, in one way or another, linked to sustainability.
Recently, the company started manufacturing part of its abrasives according to a completely new method, which is substantially more sustainable compared to older methods.
“Traditionally, after-treatment is very energyintensive, as abrasives are dried in high temperatures. The new technique, however, is completely different – it could be described as a form of digital printing”, explains Sundell.
The new method saves up to 95% of the energy used in production. In addition to the energy savings, the glues and chemicals used are more environmentally friendly than the old ones.
THIS NEW manufacturing method is not the only example of Mirka’s energy-saving efforts. In 2013, Mirka set up a bio energy plant near its main factory in Jeppo, Finland, which enables the company to burn its waste and produce energy out of it, instead of the waste going to landfill.
In addition to this, Mirka uses energy produced by a nearby biogas plant that uses offal from the food industry as raw material. Thanks to these actions Mirka has hardly used any fossil fuels in its production for quite a while already.
YET ANOTHER example of the Mirka’s sustainability work are the company’s electric sanding tools. Designed to be light and easy-to-use, the tools save energy and promote good working conditions for the people using them.
“When we design our tools, good ergonomicsis key”, explains Nyman. “If you use a tool for many hours during your workday, it is of great importance that the tool fits well into your hands. The tools can also be connected to an app called myMirka, which means that the data they generate can be used to further improve working conditions. The app can, for example, give an alert when vibration exceeds a healthy level.”
Mirka started producing tools only ten years ago. The sector has grown rapidly; today tools make up 20 percent of Mirka’s total turnover. And contrary to many other companies, Mirka has decided to keep the production of its electric sanders in Finland.