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.
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