Membrane presses such as made by Wemhoner and Burkle or even as an add on for Almex, Italpresse or Orma utlize rubber or silicone membranes to both transfer heat and to apply positive pressure on the components being pressed.
Types of membranes
There are various types of membranes such as rubber and silicone. Rubber membranes are less cost but are harder and do not get into the routered out profiles as well. Silicone membranes are softer and able to press into the profiles better however can be brown to tearing and blowing out. With silicone membranes you can different shore types which means different hardnesses as well as different thicknesses. Some manufacturers utilize different color membranes to signify different hardnesses however that is only to tell them apart.
It should be noticed that membranes can come textured on one side and smooth on the other or rough both sides, smooth both sides. Manufacturers sometimes apply the textured side towards the components because they find that it releases the sticking and enables the vinyl to move and not get trapped under the membranes pressure. Doing this can sometimes transfer the texture to the components surface giving the component an unintended fabric like appearance.
Why membranes are blowing
Membranes do have a certain life to them based upon constant stretching. Usually this is measured in cycles however you might shorten the life by how you use the membrane. Below are various ways you might shorten the life of a membrane.
1. Sharp corners: Some companies press cabinet sides or components with too sharp corners. This can drastically reduce the life of your membrane. An alternative solution is to flat laminate panels via 2 part epoxy using a glue spreader or a PUR lamination line. The second solution is to design your components with a more eased edge to lengthen the use of your membane.
2. Component spacing: The next thing that can damage a membrane is leaving too much distance between the parts. You can use a jig or long dummy components and this will keep the vinyl from over stretching or sliding across the table as well as the membrane from pulling too hard on the corner. Another issue can be having the components too close to each other but this is a less common issue.
3. Membrane tension: It is important to have the right tension of the membrane installed on your press and this is based upon the hardness of your membrane and type of press you have. This will require some trial and error.
4. Press settings: When I work with companies to dial this in I usually figure out how they are using their press now and what settings that press has. The membrane should have an adequate temp and not be too hot or too cold. Based upon the settings there may be ways to let the heat and vacuum stage to do a bit of the work. This seems like a small thing but based upon hundreds of cycles the settings can work your membrane a bit less.
I hope that you have found this article helpful and be sure to share with me your tips by commenting and if you are having issues simply email me your press settings.
This new series of FT 900 has a 48 cfm pump and 1200 has a 75cfm pump. When pressing with a vacuclamp vacuum press it is typically done at 165 degrees with a 215 to 225 temperature for pre heat for 60 seconds then press for 90 seconds. The cool down time is 30 to 45 seconds.
If you get dog ears on the corners, increase the temp by 5 degrees and the press time by 10 seconds. If you get wrinkles you typically will reduce the heat and/or time.
In general, when giving press assistance Dackor typically starts with the settings you have and then helps you adjust from there to get the best results. Please let us know your settings and what issues you are having by email and we can trouble shoot.
Every product has pros and cons and one of the weak areas of 3D Laminates is the reputation of delamination. Properly manufactured thermofoil doors will not delaminate without exposure to heat. Doors can be tested by doing a pull test and I speak more about pull and heat tests in another article. https://www.dackor.com/blog/archives/04-2018
Below is an explanation of various types of failures and how to solve them.
USER ERROR ISSUES
Failure by Self Cleaning Ovens
Self Cleaning ovens reach up to 900 degrees and is so hot it can melt the finish off of wood. With thermofoil doors it is recommended to use heat shields and also hinge the doors away from the oven and open any drawers during the heat cycle. In fact, oven manufacturers recommend to pull the oven out from the cabinets so they are aware that this cycle can damage any material.
Failure by tea kettles
Tea Kettles can reach up to 212 degrees which is above the failure rate of thermofoil. It should be noted that at the time of writing this article 1 part adhesive historically has been up to 175 degrees and a 2 part PUD adhesive up to 200 degrees. The solution is to simply pull the kettle out from under the cabinets.
Too little glue
Like most products being manufactured, quality is about the producer and their systems. If the person spraying the mdf parts does not get enough glue on the edges then it can cause failure. Glue is applied via spray and if too little is put on the edges it can cause failure. In addition, there is pressure from customers to have better looking parts which creates a demand to use less glue in order to reduce telegraphing from the substrate. This means that there is a fine line between good looking parts and high quality and they are not necessarily aligned in goal.
Not reaching heat activation at the glue line
Using a quality machine is important and having a press that achieves the pressure at the glue line is critical. That is not to say that a person cannot use a lower cost vacuum press but its important that they do other things correct.
In pressing the combination of two or more issues can cause a failure. Each step in the process can have a contributing factor. >Glue > Person Applying glue>Board used>Machine settings>PVC and its primer.
Properly manufactured Thermofoil doors will not delaminate without exposure to heat. To determine if a door has a good bond and the glue line was activated simply pull a part from production and do a pull test. In a pull test you cut a triangle shaped amount and pull the vinyl off the corner of the door. If the bond is good you will notice that there will be fibers on the film and also it will be very difficult to pull off the vinyl as pliers will need to be used.
If you are pulling heavy fibers then you almost certainly will pass heat tests. If you are not pulling heavy fibers you may need to give extra spray to the sides of the door or increase heat or preheat to give total heat exposure to fully bond the glue line.
Solution to manufacturing errors
1. Use a quality component producer that stands behind their product
2. As them how they QC their parts and go visit their operation. See for yourself
3. Listen to their advice on what type of pvc, glue, board they prefer. Don't push them to cheapen the product without expecting failure
4. QC yourself by doing a pull test. Simply cut a triangle on the edge of the door and use plyers to pull the laminate off. If it pulls heavy fiber from the edge and its hard to pull off you know its a well made door
I hope that you have found this article helpful and if I can make improvements or clarifications please don't hesitate to contact me.
For ripping on the corners, you first need to figure out if it's a cold tear or a hot tear. If the material feels jagged then it's a cold one and you need to increase your preheat, if it's a hot tear (which I doubt) then you'd need to lower the temperature.
The next thing you can look at is where the tear is happening. Is it on interior doors, inside the press, or only on the outside. If it's on the interior, then you may be able to move the parts just slightly away from each other to give it more vinyl to stretch but if it's on an exterior side and there is room for a dummy jig to place on the bed that will help keep the material from sliding/pulling too much towards the edge of the press.
1. place doors and tray on table.
2. Temp Run is 200-230 degrees.
3. Temp preheat = 150 seconds (their machine reads seconds)
4. press for = 120 seconds
5. cool down time = 150 seconds.
Re: Vacuump press, vacuclamp, vacuumclamp, press settings
Wrinkles on components can be improved or fixed completely by a series of trouble shooting steps.
If your part has a shadow were a wrinkle was but has been pulled out then it means that a wrinkle has formed and was stretched out during the press cycle. There may be different steps to solve this but this article will primarily focus on wrinkles that remain after pressing.
Typically wrinkles are caused by the material becoming too soft and "gaining" inside the press. When film is calendered it is pulled through the machines. This means that when you reheat the material it will grow length wise and shrink a bit width wise. So there is some movement to the film as its getting reintroduced to heat. And typically wrinkles are caused by excessive exposure to heat via high temp or preheat so if you adjust settings it should be a reduction of heat in some manner.
The first thing to always try is to put a dummy part on the size of the part. Items such as large doors or table tops are prone to wrinkles as the vinyl slides across the table then wrinkles up on the part. By putting a dummy part beside the large component it will capture excessive vinyl and stop it from sliding onto your large component. You can play with the distance and height of the dummy part but in general this should solve most problems with wrinkles.
If your component is too large to put a dummy part or if a dummy part didn't solve the issue you can finally go to settings. The vast majority of issues can be solved by reducing the heat by a few degrees. Normally you will notice that wrinkles will occur later in the shift and only on large parts. This is due to excessive heat build up. By lowering the temp you should solve the issue but if you are not getting the definition needed you may need to then increase the preheat. Longer preheat slowly soaks the vinyl so that it will still stretch but not so soft that it expands in the press and causes excessive growth of material.
Above we have discussed not only the settings but also the characteristics of WHY wrinkles are occurring... We've discussed the nature of expansion length wise and contraction width wise showing movement as well as the growth (increase) in material that is now trapped between the gaskets. I hope that the above has solved your problems however if it has not you can contact us for more assistance.
When membrane pressing or vacuum forming components using 3D Laminates dog ears are a symptom that can sometimes occur. This post is to address or assist that that issue.
Dog-ears are the bunching of the laminate on the corner which is also called webbing. This occurs when the material appears to be a wrinkle on the side of the component/door.
Solutions to repair doors:
1. Minor wrinkles such as 1/8", can be pushed out with a piece of wood and possibly colored. This is a rare fix on already pressed doors
2. Trim out. You can trim out the door with more vinyl then take a heat gun softening the vinyl and then use the extra trim out to tug the vinyl before trimming.
Solutions to prevent:
1. Experiment with a jig that is closer or further so as to capture the vinyl and pull away from the components. If your jig is small you may want to make it tall like a dummy part or wider so that it commands more vinyl and pulls it away.
2. Solution two is if using pedestals to leave more of a gap so as to create a under pressure and it pulls down and slightly inward the vinyl.
3. Experiment with pre-heat and heat. If material is over stretching you could have over pull as material could be too soft. Or it may be that the material is not soft enough and has not fully pulled away from the component and been commanded by the jig to the outside.
If you have read the above and have any questions, please contact us to clarify.
Here are Youtube links to popular videos on installing Peelstix
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Color inspiration from around the world, backstories on design inspiration and informative articles about marketing, membrane pressing and personal development. Author Mark Viers delivers fresh content that will help you and your business grow and thrive.
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