How Infrared Systems in Bonding Applications Optimize Quality
Infrared systems used in bonding adhesives to various substrates can ensure consistent quality in manufacturing and assembly operations, thereby reducing rejection rates.
A manufacturer of work tops and laminated panels is a case in point for the effective use of an infrared bonding system. With its in-house CAD design team and extensive workshop facilities, Carella has been producing worktops and laminated systems for over 30 years. These are specified by architects, designers, and contractors for a wide range of applications. Carella worktops, breakfast bars and shower panels are available in many finishes, textures, and styles and are affordable, hygienic, and easy to maintain. Laminated systems can be tailor-made for installation in business centers, shops, and catering areas, as well as multiple applications in the education, healthcare, leisure, hospitality, and science sectors.
The finishing of laminated systems is a relatively simple process. At Carella, cut-to-size panels of chipboard or MDF are manually fed to a PUR hot-melt gluing station, where adhesive is evenly applied to the surface. They then pass to a laminating station where a melamine or Formica sheet is firmly and precisely placed over the panel and glued to it. However, Carella found that when the glue was applied to some panels from storage, the adhesion could be compromised, as glue could become “stringy,” leading to rejection of the finished product.
As the MDF, plywood, and chipboard are stored within the factory building, it was first considered that raising the ambient storage area temperature would provide a solution; this was rejected because through Carella’s investigations, it was determined that the core of the board needed to be heated to help with securing/activating a good bond between the PUR glue and the sheet materials, and this would not be achieved by increasing the ambient temperature in the storage area. The installation of warm air fans was also considered and then rejected because of the associated dust created problems. Eventually, Carella contacted Heraeus Noblelight to see if infrared heating could provide the answer by providing localized targeted heat to the board just before the bonding process began.
Consequently, samples of the base panels were supplied and tests were carried out at Heraeus’s Neston Applications Center. The tests established that medium-wave, carbon infrared would solve the problem. As a result, a 21kW system was installed at Carella’s Eglinton factory in Londonderry, UK. The system is located before the gluing station at a height of 40mm above the thickest board to be heated. When switched on, it operates in stand-by mode at 20% power and then steps up to high power when the board moves from the loading to the laminating station, before returning to stand-by when heating is complete.
Source: Adhesives Magazine