A fladder is a machine used for finishing the surfaces of wood workpieces or for the deburring, brushing and sometimes polishing of metal workpieces. The fladder uses manufacturing processes that were originally developed in Denmark for surface processing in the furniture industry.
The fladder was invented in the 1970s by the Danish development centre HANSEN & HUNDEBØL, to satisfy the needs of leading furniture manufacturers who required an efficient and preferably automatic method of sanding. The machine uses rotating rollers that look very similar to the brushes used in a car wash. The fladder was originally only used for wood workpieces; it is now also used in the processing of metal surfaces. The company FLADDER DANMARK A/S was established under the group HANSEN & HUNDEBØL GROUP for the manufacturing and maintenance of fladders.
The fladder is implemented in a variety of ways for the processing of wood and metal workpieces. In addition to the fladder used as a hand-held piece of equipment, there are also a variety of stationary models that are controlled automatically. These include machines with an automatic workpiece feed using rotating or linear work tables that can be integrated into manufacturing systems. Depending on the application, the fladder machine tools can be equipped with pairs of counter-rotating rollers, or a roller star. The star allows varying rotating or oscillating movements that will fit most appropriately to the workpiece. The advantages of the fladder, compared to conventional sanding machines used in woodworking, is that it can create more even and smoother surfaces. The fladder removes fewer fibres from the wood workpiece, than would occur during regular sanding. Therefore, further processing is usually not necessary after painting, and there is a reduced need to use filler or varnish for surface treatment. Furthermore, the use of a fladder results in slightly rounded corners, to which a veneer coat would stick better and has a lower risk of damage than by regularly sanded wood surfaces.
In metalworking, the fladder enables efficient and good deburring. With the fladder, any parts of the workpiece can be deburred, without causing any damage to the surface. Using a fladder to process coated metal pieces (for example, galvanised sheets or stainless steel with a protective film) results in perfectly cleaned and round corners without ruining the coating.
The fladder is a relatively new machine and therefore is only manufactured upon request by the Danish company FLADDER.