Edge Polishing machines have been around for a very long time. Technologically they haven’t moved or changed dramatically in recent years.
There are two types of edge polishers. The first are the ones that are flat polishers. These give you a flat polish with a top and bottom basic bevel. There are also edge polishers which can also do the above but also can give you a half bullnose, full bullnose and other options depending on the manufacturer.
The more traditional and popular edges in the UK for manufacturing kitchen worktops out of granite or quartz are the edge polishers that produce the flat with the top and bottom chamfer bevel. Those of course then come in two different types of belt systems which are the horizontal and the vertical systems.
Traditionally, edge polisher manufacturers were separated between those that make everyday polishers for a low to normal daily production more heavy duty machines which are for higher production and longer life. This is why in the UK edge polishers in the market have such a big gap between brands because it depends on what they are designed to produce.
The most common ones work on a belt system. You put the piece on a belt like a table and then it is a conveyor system where the piece goes through the machine and at the end you have a polished piece.
Then you have the machines where you put the pieces vertically which means that the polishing heads are at the bottom and as the piece is travelling, it gets polished that way.
A traditional flat edge polisher on a belt requires bigger space than the vertical one which is why fabricators if they have a smaller space to work in prefer the vertical one. A flat polisher is more traditional and is one that is used by many fabricators.
A typical edge polisher will have 7 or 8 flat heads. For example, it may have a calibrator on the front which is a motor that takes a slab of 30m regardless of stone type. If it is not a perfect 30mm entirely the calibrator will then make the stone to be a perfect thickness all along the edge. The 7 or 8 heads will then polish and when finished depending on how many bevel heads the machine has (normally two upper and two lower but more can be added if there is more space and/or a fabricator desires to have a bevel that requires 3 and 3) On the 3 and 3 bevels, traditionally you can put a couple of metal heads to create the bevel and the rest of the motors will have some kind of abrasive or resin to polish the slab to the required finish of the fabricator.
Edge polishers are a very good investment as the cost per linear meter to polish the piece and the time taken is significantly reduced compared to doing the job by hand. The edge wheels that are required are a lot more cost-effective than using traditional wet/dry sanding papers to do the job. Also if the edge polisher has a PLC (a basic screen with information) the flexibility of different-sized pieces with different thicknesses, having an auto-stop which means that for example if a part of the worktop needs to stay unpolished then the machine will avoid that part and continue polishing the rest.
You can have an automatic lubrication system which then helps with the maintenance of the edge polisher.
Also, the most common edge polishers will have a foldable/extendable table on the front which can be used when cutting bigger pieces such as island.
There are resin wheels on the market that can be used on edge polishers and that will polish every material, marble, granite, dekton, neolith, lapitec and porcelain). This means that you have the flexibility to have one set of polishing wheels. We have seen an increase in demand for customers to use those types. We have OCTOs which we use for edge polishers we install. They are universal, produce a very high finish and solve the problem of having to change the polishing heads if the material is changing.