What is lamination? Most of the time, veneer traders or dealers purchase the veneers in various lengths and widths when it comes to wood veneers and a relatively standard sheet size for HPL. They don't come with plywood or MDF as a substrate. So when carpenters order they will order it with plywood for parts of furniture that requires a panel. They will only order sheets of veneer for edges or where areas that require the substrate to be nailed.
When carpenters require panel form veneer ply, or HPL ply. Suppliers will turn to a specialised team of laminators to provide the service. The process goes like this.
1. Trimming of edges
Not all veneer have straight edges. So the materials goes through a guillotine to straighten the edges, so that it will join seamlessly with each veneer strip.
2. Glue applicator
Glue is applied evenly onto the plywood. It is important for the glue to be applied evenly to prevent pockets of air trapped between the veneer and the plywood.
3. Hot/Cold Press
For fast turnaround, laminators use hot press to dry the glue. However, cold press is an alternate cheaper option, but it takes about 12 hours for the glue to air dry. Cold press is very suitable when it comes to applying HPL onto plywood as pockets of air can escape at its own pace.
Wood veneer panels require sanding to remove loose strands of veneer. It is also a value added service provided to carpenters, so the varnishers can apply a layer of base coat without having to sand it manually. HPL doesn't require sanding as it's surface is already pre-coated.
5. Quality Checks
This is the finally stage of checking before delivering the panel to the carpenters. Only a few areas of checks are done. Join lines are checked to ensure that the veneers are joined up without gaps in-between. Patches from sanding the panel will also be detected through the QC. As wood veneers can vary in thickness patches will happen from time to time. So if there are patches the sanding machine will be calibrated to further sand down the surface