Closeup of LaserEdge edgeband.
In early 2010, Swiss kitchen furniture manufacturer Veriset Kuchen AG became one of the first kitchen furniture manufacturers to adopt laser-welded edgebanding into its manufacturing process, using the Rehau LaserEdge technology in combination with laserTec machinery from Homag.
Veriset has noted a number of immediate benefits from introducing laser-welded edgebanding, including a substantial material cost savings and labor cost reductions since the company no longer has to negotiate steps to integrate the edgeband material, primer and adhesive.
“As the optimum adhesive temperature no longer has to be set manually, we can achieve an automatic process stability that ensures an even higher quality of edgeband processing,” added Veriset production and logistics manager Josef Baumgartner.
The company has also realized significantly reduced maintenance due to the adhesive-free nature of the technology. “With the elimination of adhesives, our post-processing area is consistently cleaner, which ultimately improves the efficiency of our final manufacturing step. Also, we are able to fully optimize operation of the edgebander machine, which now requires much less maintenance, preparation and cleaning," Baumgartner said.
“With a jointless weld between the edgeband and the board, we are no longer concerned with the discoloration or staining that can happen at the seam of a typical adhesive-affixed edgeband. This tighter seam also improves heat and moisture resistance, preventing the boards of the finished furniture from swelling over time. In addition, the space between the edgeband and board is virtually without transition, and makes it appear as if the cabinetry and furniture are constructed of one piece of material.”
Veriset has stated its belief that laser-welded edgebanding is a technology that will change the future of the furniture manufacturing industry. “We are convinced that laser edgeband will replace the conventional glued edgeband in future,” said Ueli Jost, CEO and owner of Veriset Kuchen AG. “This technology has created new opportunities for even higher-quality kitchen designs, which allows us to further differentiate ourselves as a market leader. There's already a lot of interest in the products we’re developing, and we anticipate a high demand for the future.”
“If you compare the innovations in edgebanding in recent years with innovations in other materials, Rehau LaserEdge can be described as nothing short of a quantum leap in improving the edgebanding process,” said Frank Kickler, production process engineer at Veriset.
Ilcam, an Italian producer of furniture front panels, was originally founded to produce curved backrests for the chair industry. Since that time, the company has become a major manufacturer of furniture front panels. With 800 employees and a production capacity of 25,000 wooden, 140,000 PVC and 35,000 high-gloss lacquered front panels per week, Ilcam has developed a wide range of services across a variety of markets, and is the only European supplier to offer front panels in all three material types.
Focused toward incorporating the latest technologies, Ilcam began incorporating the Rehau LaserEdge technology in 2009. According to Ilcam, no alternative existed to hot melt adhesives, which, due to the application process, can compromise the quality of the end product.
Ilcam reported that the laser welding process sets new benchmarks when it comes to appearance and overall quality, as the optical and functional ‘zero-gap joint’ achieved in using this technology produces an exceptional end product. According to Ilcam, aesthetic quality issues such as staining and discoloration, which can occur from the use of hot melt adhesives, are no longer a concern. The company said that components appear seamlessly connected, like one piece of furniture versus several.
In addition, the company recognizes improved heat and moisture resistance due the seamless nature of the finished edge. With a seamless edge, maceration of the boards and polyestering of the frontals are no longer needed in the manufacturing process, which ultimately translates into reduced lead times for our customers."
Ilcam notes a competitive advantage in being able to offer a wide spectrum of color and design options to its customers. LaserEdge can be tailored to whatever colors or designs our customers may require.
Ilcam has also noted substantial improvements in its overall production process. Removing adhesives from the production process has resulted in a number of visible benefits, said Ilcam. The company saved a significant amount of time no longer having to coordinate edgeband material, primer and adhesive in production, and have seen a dramatic reduction in equipment maintenance, tooling and cleaning.
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