Hardwearing tools for hardworking users

2019-04-18

Buses, coaches and commercial vehicles have large surface areas that require considerable man and tooling hours for a paint job to be completed.  Effective and hardwearing tools are essential. We sat down with Martin O’Sullivan, a senior painter at Freeney’s Graphics, to discuss how the correct product choice can make light work of large open spaces on the bodywork of commercial vehicles. 

"The company was founded over 25 years ago as a sign writing business and went on to become the go to company for every advertising agency in Ireland when it came to colour advertisements for everything from billboards to vans. It then evolved in 1987 when Dublin Bus entrusted the team to paint a bus to commemorate Dublin's millennium and we have also done work on a variety of their other buses including the Ghost Bus, Tour Bus, Open-top Tree cutting bus and the 1916 Commemoration bus, to name but a few. Off the back of the high-quality work we provided, Dublin Bus then contracted Freeneys to re-spray, repair and maintain its fleet. We now do on average 200 Dublin buses annually, which is a lot of vehicle real estate, along with private coaches, buses and other vehicles that require a quality finish. This means we are constantly busy, so having the right tools for the job is of paramount importance.  

Once we had the contract, we realised that we had to invest in high quality and versatile products and as we all know this means significant investment, but it has been worth it. We settled on Mirka products because of its wide range of tools and abrasives as well as the fact that the finish it offers matches our exacting inhouse standards.

The sanders we use are all shapes and sizes. We have three Mirka® DEROS sanders and extraction systems and these machines are our 'dust-free' workhorses as they are used continuously six days a week in our busy workshop and remove the dust with no issue, giving us a pleasant, safe and healthy environment to work in. We also have the Mirka® ROS 650 CV, which is easy to use, and the two palm sanders we operate fit like a glove and we have not had any issues with them. With the palm sanders, the only thing we have ever had to change on them is the backing pad every now and then, so everyone’s life is made a lot easier as we do not have to worry about breakdowns or other technical issues.

When it comes to abrasives, there are a large range of products to choose from in our trade and the fact that we use a variety of discs and pads to achieve our goal in ensuring a superb finish in the spray booth is highlighted in a number of ways:

  • For repairs, the team starts out with Mirka Q.Silver® Ace P80 grit discs on the filler and it is finished with P180 through to P240 grits.
  • When working on Primer, it is finished with Q.Silver® Ace P320 to P500 grit discs depending on the top coat.
  • Any imperfections that need to be corrected are dealt with using Mirka Abralon® 1000 and 3000.
  • We use Mirka Mirlon for fine and ultra-fine sanding and cleaning pads to key any edges or get to places the sanders cannot reach.

As we use multiple tools and abrasives for our work, we feel that Mirka provides a breadth of products that is unmatched and meets our constantly changing needs and requirements.  It also has a support network that we can easily access if we have any issues or questions. 

Personally, I used a competitors’ product in previous years and I was convinced I was using the best products out there. However, when I was introduced to the Mirka brand I was pleasantly surprised with its offering and I have found that there’s no better products as far as a body shop and paint shop is concerned."