Best in class
Your review: Had to downsize from a 25" 3ph Timesavers to this machine (single ph). Shopped around between the major brands and this is the only machine in it's class with a platen. I sand down to 3/32" and the platen is a must. I'm not sure if that equates to almost double the price but considering the quality build, fit and finish, this is a very nice machine. Four stars in the 'cons' section.
Pros: 1. This sucker is a solid, well built machine. No flex in the the spine, heavy duty lower table/conveyor system and ultra fine adjustment, almost TOO fine. 2. Sanding head is robust and heavy duty. 3. Adequate safety features.
Cons: The reason I gave this machine 4 instead of 5: Pneumatic tracking! For this price, you'd think Powermatic would spring for optical tracking or at least an air solenoid to shut off air when the machine isn't running. The belt tracking uses bleed air to sense belt position. There is no solenoid to shut air off when machine is not in use so it's basically an air leak in your system. You have to manually turn off air when the machine isn't running. In a noisy shop, that's easier said than done. I'm not sure what cfm is consumed but it's very noticeable. I tried to trim the air down a bit but it will take a considerable amount of air to function properly. I should have read the specs more carefully but honestly, at this price, you'd expect optics.