All there is to know about glue application and the thermoforming process

What is a thermoforming process?

One of the processes which demands care and attention is related to the application of PVC foils to cabinet doors, wardrobe doors, drawer faces, etc. These elements are commonly made of composite materials such as MDF.
What comes first is the need to apply glue to the surface and edge of each element.

And this is a thermoforming process!

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Advantages thermoforming process

Thermoforming process: how it works?

Uniformity is essential across the entire panel, otherwise it would be easy to find defects after applying the foil. The edges demand a greater quantity of glue, anything between 5 and 8 times as much is quite normal. Once the water content in the glue has evaporated using an oven, the PVC foil is applied using a press. Following this stage, when not performed manually by two operators, a trimming machine removes the excess foil offcuts which are then collected, shredded and disposed of in a convenient way. The last step of the thermoforming process involves removing excess glue which may have spread to the back of the panels.

What are the types of the thermoforming process?

We have a complete, integrated solution going from loading and the first panel-brushing step through all the stages of the process including the ultimate excess glue removal. According to customer needs, to the available space and the production volumes involved, our engineers will devise the appropriate configuration.

Our integrated solutions ensure maximum productivity, able to feed any number of presses. They also provide excellent precision and application consistency and automation of the process can allow companies to release operators directing them to more value-added tasks. Below is a selection of the machines we recommend.

Machines for the thermoforming process

Here a selection of our recommended machines:

Spraying machines
glue application machine iBotic
iBotic – glue application

High-performance 5-axis application robot configured (one arm or two arms) to suit demands for different levels of productivity. iBotic solves all problems related to application consistency, repeatability, operator health, glue application precision accounting for the difference between flat surface and edge of panels, this solution also avoids soiling the reverse side of the panel with glue.

glue application machine Mito
Mito – glue application only for flat surfaces

Consistent application across the entire panel surface and all pieces. This machine is a first step into automation for smaller companies currently performing the application tasks manually.

Before the press is involved (third party equipment) we recommend maintaining a clean, dust-free environment to optimise the process and application quality.

Drying Technologies
hot air drying machine Pieffe
Pieffe – hot air drying for edges and flat surfaces

A flexible oven drying glue applied to flat surfaces and edges and ensuring excellent productivity.

Glue drying system Acquadry
Aquadry – drying system for water-based glue

Water needs to evaporate from the glue before the PVC foil is applied. This solution takes care of panels where glue has not been applied to the edges.

Trimming and scrap foil solutions
scrap foil removal machine Twister
Twister – scrap foil removal

With a compact footprint, this machine disposes of scrap foil by shredding it and returning it to be recycled, helping to safeguard the environment and finish the process in the best possible way, enabling one operator to dedicate his time to more important tasks.

cutting foil machine Tarcut
Tarcut – trimming solution

Trimming the excess foil can be done manually, but greater efficiency and precision can be achieved with an automatic solution enabling one or two operators to dedicate their time to more important tasks. Processing speed is also much faster than manual trimming and a 3D camera enhances precision on all shapes and guarantees maximum precision.

Covered panels

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Frequently Asked Questions

When are cutting and gluing necessary in product finishing?

Cutting and gluing processes are carried out in replacement for something other than coating; product veneering is achieved, in this case, with plastic material films.

Which materials are suitable for cutting and gluing?

Generally, cutting and gluing are suitable for items made of MDF.

What are the advantages of cutting and gluing?

The simplicity of the cutting and gluing process compared to paint coating and the high output rate achievable are two major advantages to take into account when considering whether to choose this technique for your MDF product veneering.

What do I need to know about the cutting and gluing process?

In the cutting and gluing process, the type of glue should be chosen according to the end use of the component and the performance goals to be obtained. For example, the glue type changes according to whether an item is to be used in the bathroom, kitchen or living room.

In addition, the desired degree of finish and gloss must be evaluated. Finally, the required output should be considered to determine the type and number of presses, and the number of application and (possibly) cutting machines needed.

Products and Solutions

The search function is now available for complete production lines. All you need to do is select the material involved, the market sector or the finished product. Whichever search criteria is used, a corresponding solution for your spray coating line is obtained in just 3 steps. Search results will indicate the most suitable solution, based on the level of flexibility required, the productivity range and the overall footprint. Solutions are classified as small (S), medium (M) or large (L).

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