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Selasa, 13 Desember 2011

Formica® Laminate Technical Facts [Part I]


1. Handling
Take care when handling Formica® decorative laminates to avoid breakages and damage. Large sheets should always be handled by two people.

When loading and unloading, slide sheets rather than lifting them. Avoid abrasion between decorative faces.

Carry individual sheets with the decorative face held towards the body. Sheets become more rigid and thus easier to handle if they are bowed along the longitudinal axis. Sometimes it is convenient, especially with thinner grades of laminate, to roll the sheet, decorative face inward, into a cylinder of approximately 600mm diameter.

When transporting stacks of sheets by mechanical handling, use pallets of sufficient size and rigidity. 

2. Storage
Store Formica® decorative laminates face-to-face, flat, in horizontal racks. We recommend using a caul board to cover the top sheet and to keep it flat. If this is impracticable, turn the top sheet with its decorative face downwards to prevent surface damage and warping.

Where horizontal storage is not possible, or where only small stocks of assorted colors and patterns are kept, sheets can be stacked on edge in slightly inclined vertical racks with support over the entire surface area, and with a cover board to prevent sliding. The recommended angle for such racks is approximately 80° from the horizontal.

Always keep together decorative laminates and the corresponding substrate materials, backing boards and adhesives, in an enclosed dry store at a temperature of not less than 18°C (65°F). When materials are brought into a workshop from temperatures or humidity levels different from ambient (for example, after delivery), allow them to stabilize before fabrication. Usually a minimum of three days is required.

3. Pre-conditioning
Bonded panels must be stable. The most important factor in achieving this stability is the pre-conditioning of substrate materials, surfacing laminates and backing laminates before they are bonded.

Pre-conditioning minimizes the effects of differential movement caused by the materials’ reaction to changes in relative humidity.

The following procedure will allow the laminates to reach equilibrium. Any subsequent movement caused by changes in humidity will then be equal on each side of the bonded panel, greatly reducing the risk of bowing.

Condition Formica® decorative laminates and substrates before veneering so that all materials reach equilibrium and are neither too dry nor too damp.

Optimum conditions are achieved in a dry storage area (about 20°C and 50% - 60% Relative Air Humidity). The sheets to form the opposite faces of the same composite board are best conditioned as a pair, with their sanded backs together. Sheets thus paired should be stacked, covered, and left for a minimum of three days to reach moisture equilibrium. In this way they will achieve near-identical moisture contents prior to bonding, with any subsequent dimensional movements being similar in magnitude and direction on each side of the composite panel.

Wood-based substrates should have a moisture content of around 9%. The moisture content of laminates cannot be measured with a normal moisture meter, but the face laminate must have the same moisture content as the corresponding backing board; this can be achieved by pre-conditioning face and backing laminates together for a minimum of three days.

If the composite boards are to be exposed to constant low relative humidity in their subsequent application (for example, as radiator castings), pre-condition the laminates and substrates in warm dry conditions for a minimum of three days. This will pre-shrink the materials to avoid any subsequent shrinkage stresses. 

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