|After the Sorbini Smartcoater applies a topcoat, the board is cured through a UV oven by Cefla.|
San Bernardino, CA
At its 54,000-square-foot facility, Decoboard manufactures 4-foot by 8-foot painted sheet stock which is sold as a competitive product to melamine. The two-year-old company has six employees.
1. Decoboard's finishing line, from start to finish, is about 450 feet long and has a line speed that can be adjusted up to 160 feet-per-minute.
2. The company currently manufactures 12 woodgrain patterns and three solids, but if the order is large enough, it can dial in nearly any color a customer desires.
3. Decoboard's process of printing directly to the product saves the cost of laying up paper.
Woodgrain is then printed with a single-frame, three-head CNC printer, the Sorbini T20-3STP/1300. Letellier stresses the importance of proper synchronization of the printing heads at this step. “Where the first roll touches down, the next one has to touch down at the same location or starting point,” he says. The printed ink is then cured through an infrared oven, the Cefla PRE/IRM.
After the woodgrain is printed and cured, the first UV topcoat is applied with the Sorbini Smartcoater MF and partially cured through a two-light UV oven, the Cefla UV 2000 M2. “The application is achieved with a coat roller,” Letellier says. “We meter the amount of paint by either tightening the relationship between the two rolls, adjusting the pressure of the application roll in contact with the surface or adjusting the pressure of the doctor blade on the rolls.”
A second UV topcoat is then applied through the Sorbini Smartcoater MF and fully cured through the Cefla UV 2000 M4, a four-light UV oven. “One of these consumes as much electricity as a 30- to 40-hp motor,” Letellier says of the Cefla UV 2000 M4. He adds that because of very high summertime rates in California, the line can cost as much as $120 an hour for just the energy.
After full curing, the board is cooled through a Cefla NR-2 CR4 cold air-cooling hood, followed by a quality control inspection. The line has an inspection station, allowing ejection of panels if required. The sheets are then flipped by a panel turner so they are ready to coat the other side as needed. Another Esse 2 handling system restacks the panels into bunks, adding a protection sheet before starting a unit. The units of sheet goods are then transferred with conveyors and transfer carts into the packaging equipment made by Itipack, which will add top sheets, bunk boards, corner protection and straps.
Staying Ahead of the Curve
Letellier is a firm believer in staying caught up with technology where equipment is concerned, and usually starts updating his machinery after about five years of use. He says Decoboard will probably purchase some new equipment later in the year, such as a nesting machine to cut-to-size parts and an edgebander.
“Years ago, I was one of the first guys to buy CNC machines,” he says. “People would say ‘you're taking jobs away.' I would say ‘No, I'm not. I'm making sure this business is staying in the U.S.' When you're buying new machinery, you're not taking jobs away, you're keeping the jobs in the U.S. You're going to create another five jobs: for a sales guy, for a driver, for people managing parts, etc. You are generating jobs. It's the truth.”
|A fully automated Esse 2 handling system destacks boards at the beginning of the line.||The company’s line features two Costa sanders, including this SH3.|
|Letellier says that proper sanding is critical in successful board production and ensures proper bonding between the filler and the water-based coats.|
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