HANNOVER, GERMANY - Advances in edgebanders - with alternate energy sources supplanting the traditional hot gluepot -  began arriving at European trade shows Xylexpo and Ligna over the last two editions of those events. The systems use specialized co-extruded edgebanding material on which an embedded adhesive is activated by the laser.

At Ligna 2013, lasers and hot air edgebanders are getting a lot of attention. Less well known is another approach that also appeared at Ligna 2011 (it was shown by IMA-Schelling): an edgebander powered by plasma. This energy source, a version of which is used for cutting stone and metal, works with the same material used in laser edgebanding.

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Ligna 2013: Edgebander Plasma Retrofits for Seamless Joints Plasmatreat also has been at work on plasma energy systems for wood products manufacture, and showed two updated versions at Ligna 2013: one for zero joints in edgebanding, and another plasma energy source for surface lamination in panel processing and furniture surfaces.

It uses the Düstec plasma process - the technology is also incorporated in IMA's plasma system. Plasmatreat's version was developed jointly with furniture panel manufacturer Karl W. Niemann GmbH & Co.  for creating invisible edge joints. For Ligna 2013, the process was further refined, says Plasmatreat, so panels with very different thicknesses can be pretreated with plasma in a stepless process.

Running costs are lower than for conventional laser equipment, and plasma is more adaptable to varying material properties, such as the material itself, the level of gloss, color, reflectivity or thickness, giving it a compatibility with short batch and single batch-1 runs.

Plasmatreat also showed how large composite furniture panels can be pretreated before coating or laminating. Plasma gives total wetability to the material. "This technology can be used to bond not only substrates previously thought to be incompatible; in most cases it is also possible to bond water-based paint and adhesive systems to highly adhesion-resistant surfaces such as non-polar plastics," says Plasmatreat.

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