3D Laminating Fundamentals: Summer School for Buyers & SpecifiersWhat would you say to someone who insisted they would never have any cabinetry in their home because it is too cheaply made and just falls apart? After you got over your initial shock and confirmed that person was serious, wouldn’t you begin by giving them an education on how overly simplistic that opinion is?

I would imagine nearly everyone reading this blog knows enough about cabinetry to talk about how materials such as adhesives, fasteners, finishes, and wood products can all have an impact on the durability of the finished product. The role of construction methods, equipment, and skilled labor would likely find its way into the discussion as well. By the end of the conversation, this person should know what we all know: All cabinets are not created equal!

Though this hypothetical situation seems a bit silly, those of us who make our living in 3D laminating fight a similar ignorance on a regular basis. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the average homeowner thinks thermofoil is synonymous with white and looks like cheap plastic. However, homeowners are not who I want to address over the next few weeks. I’m convinced the average buyer or specifier of 3D laminated components simply does not understand the distinctions. In a nutshell, they don’t know the difference between a quality product and one that will fall apart, nor do they know what questions to ask.

In the weeks ahead I will highlight these distinctions with enough detail that anyone responsible for qualifying vendors will be able to move forward and make decisions with greater confidence. What kinds of things will we discuss? Well, did you know there are as many as six different types of adhesives used with as much as a 50F to 120F variation in heat resistance between them? Did you know there are at least six variations of 3D laminating press technologies currently in use? How about various types of 3D laminates? Your application may require you to understand the differences.

So get your notebooks ready and your pencils sharpened. Summer school begins next week. Feel free to ask questions. Too many decisions are made without asking enough of them. In the words of Ben Stein, “Anyone? Anyone?”


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