HPL coating – Can it really work?
The coating of formed work pieces with HPL was one of the most interesting - and successful - experiences we have made during our experiments with MULTIMAT.
At first, the wish of a Russian manufacturer interested in our products to visit us in Kremsmünster seemed like a misunderstanding. If we had known what he had in mind, we probably would have said 'NJET' when he first called us.
But then he arrived. A friendly Russian entrepreneur who started his business in Moscow 8 years ago, and who by now employs 30 staff-members.
For several years, he has been searching for a machine that would allow him to laminate curved, layer-glued, work pieces with HPL. At last, he found us.
The big challenge: Post-forming grade HPL requires a temperature of 180 °C to become moldable. However, this temperature is too high for commercial glues! What to do?
Günther Vetter had the idea to take on this challenge in a 2-step procedure.
Luckily, at the time we had a custom-made MULTIMAT unit that can be heated up to a temperature of 180 °C available in our manufacturing workshop. Mr. Vetter inserted the layer-glued work piece, which had earlier been formed using the MULTIMAT press, into the unit along with the HPL board. Because of the heat and the slowly rising vacuum presssure, the HPL board took on the exact shape of the work piece.
Afterwards, Günther Vetter let the material cool down, applied glue to the formed work piece, and re-inserted it into the MULTIMAT together with the already formed HPL board.
The excellent results can be seen on the photos on the left side of this page.
One more interesting detail:
As far as we know, custom-made machines for HPL forming can only process work pieces with small radii. Our method, however, enables you to also form work pieces with large radii - there is no limit for the imaginativeness of your designs!
Once again, this little story shows that even task that at first appear hopeless can be solved if they are approached with step by step, and with a great sense for innovation!
And of course, we are especially glad to report that the manufacturer from Moscow has by become a close friend and a grateful customer. With our help, and after buying a MULTIMAT press, he finally arrived at the end of his long and tedious search!