Tech|Tips – 3DL: The Pressroom Environment – Cleanliness Is Next To… Profitability
We’ve been discussing industry best practices for the environment around your 3D Laminating/membrane press. Even if exaggerated requirements have floated around the industry for some time, there are still some legitimate non-negotiables need to be clearly understood in order to maintain a successful 3D laminating department. Today we’re going to talk about cleanliness and humidity.
Keep The Room Chip & Grit Free!
Avoid Close Proximity to Debris Producing Equipment: Locating a press next to a router is simply a bad idea. Anything that produces debris that can be seen with the naked eye can leave a deposit underneath the laminate that will show through after pressing.
If it Doesn’t Float, Clean it Up: Anything that can be blown onto the substrate or drawn to the underside of the vinyl via static is absolutely something to keep out of your press room. This includes dirt, grit, small pieces of laminate that were created when trimming, as well as chips of particleboard, mdf, plastic, or any other materials used as pedestals/riser boards. However, the type of dust you normally only see in the sunlight usually doesn’t present a problem.
Avoid All Sources of Excessive Air Flow: While keeping floors perfectly clean is unlikely, keeping air flow as gentle as possible is extremely important. Never run powerful fans on high. Never position any part of the process from glue application or beyond anywhere near a door that is frequently opened to the outside. (Of course, exits only used in an emergency are not a problem.)
Avoid High Humidity: The higher the humidity, the longer it takes for sprayed glue to dry. The longer glue takes the dry, the more the glue tends to dive into the board which then causes insufficient glue levels on the edges. Longer dry times can also mean parts are pressed before they are dry. Pressing before the adhesive is dry can lead to “pillowing” where the vinyl can be seen pulling away from the substrate to form a large bubble.
Though a dust-free certified clean room is an exaggeration, keeping the room as free as possible from dirt, grit and material chips is still a must. Avoiding high humidity levels will also go a long way in reducing scrap rates and product returns due to edge delamination.
What about your operation? What standards do you feel are important? Email us at info@SmartechOnline.com with your thoughts. Up next – Material Storage & More.
Bill Formella is President of Formella Contour Solutions and is the owner and moderator of the LinkedIn group Membrane Pressing & 3D Laminating Design. You can reach Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more tips and ideas, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.