Melamine resin impregnated papers can be laminated to MDF following the procedures adopted for the manufacture of melamine surfaced chipboard in either short cycle or continuous belt presses.
1. The MDF surfaces should be finish sanded at 100 or 120 grit and be free from sanding or other defects.
2. The Colour of the MDF surface may have an effect on the appearance of panels surfaced with light weight white or pate colour resinated papers.
3. The same type and weight of resinated paper should be laminated to each face to ensure flatness in varying environmental conditions.
4. The resinated paper grain direction on each face should be matched.
5. Pressing temperature and time should be at the minimum levels consistent with full cure of the melamine resin. The following short cycle press conditions have been found to be satisfactory.
Temperature 160 - 200°C
Pressure 2000 - 2500 kN/m2
Time 40 - 60 sec
MDF Moisture Content 6 - 9%
6. Rapid loading and closing of the press is necessary to ensure approximately equal heating of each face of the board.
7. The laminated panels should be stacked on a flat base until they have cooled down to 50°C or preferably lower.
This high performance surface treatment creates opportunities for MDF for applications where Surface durability is a requirement. Many different finishes, including plain colours, wood grains and geometrical patterns are available with smooth or textured surfaces. Two or more resin impregnated papers can be laminated to each face to further increase the wear resistance of the surface to the level normally associated with plastics laminates.
An advantage of melamine surfaced MDF over melamine surfaced chipboard is the close packing of the fibres within the core of MDF which allows the edges to be profiled and covered by softformed edging strip without the risk of undesirable show through defects.
Possible applications include softform edge doors for kitchen and bedroom units, childrens furniture, bathroom fitments, wall lining and partitions.
As the laminating process involves the use of heavy duty presses, melamine surfaced MDF will normally only be manufactured by MDF manufacturers with the appropriate equipment or by specialist laminators.