Protection and enhancement

28 September 2020

Over the last 10 years, the Kleiberit HotCoating process has successfully established itself worldwide as an innovative new technology in surface finishing

Kleiberit attaches great importance to the term “coating process, defining it as the desire to protect and/or enhance valuable objects. This, it says, is exactly the intention of its process technology today and it claims to be the first manufacturer worldwide to develop a process which enables the wood-based panel manufacturing industry to carry out final upgrading of their semi-finished products themselves. Until then this was traditionally left either to their customers (furniture manufacturers, etc) or to a highly specialised industry (contract lacquerers/car lacquerers).

The company lists five major advantages of its HotCoating process for potential investors in the technology.

1. Investment costs: The investment costs for a PUR HotCoating line depend on the working width as well as the properties of the raw product. In general, Kleiberit distinguishes between lines for coating flat materials (such as particleboard, MDF, HPL) and lines for coating roll materials (such as paper, PVC, PE and many other roll substrates). The configuration of the lines, which are producing worldwide with the Kleiberit PUR HotCoating process, are generally very similar. Differences can be found when special materials require additional processing steps, for example, plywood and OSB. The costs of the total investment correspond to the expenses which are incurred for widely known large scale coating lines.

2. Space, energy and operator requirements: The space requirements of a new line depend on the planned maximum capacity. While a line for roll goods requires relatively little space, a panel line requires much more floor space. The 65 lines which are producing worldwide with PUR HotCoating technology range between 15m and 178m long, and the overall process requires between 100m² and several thousand m² of production and logistic space. An average 1,250mmwide line for high-gloss has an energy requirement of approximately 400kW which corresponds to a “normal” coating line as it has been known for decades. As far as personnel is concerned, an average of three line operators are needed per eight-hour shift.

3. Quality, cost, benefits of the final product: Kleiberit says it was very important to define a process that would enable the user to supply its products to the market in large quantities and without compromises in the quality. This requires perfect quality and an end product with convincing properties. These criteria remain a focus in the company’s daily business, it said, combined with the desire to constantly improve and to test new properties and to integrate them as needed. The cost factor always plays an important role in these processes and the company says that, through the use of modern coating line technology, costs have been optimised and are only a fraction of those that were the norm before the introduction of its technology to the market. It says that previously unknown properties which were achieved through the use of PUR HotCoating, have also led to its worldwide growth.

4. Environmental aspects: Kleiberit’s customers only use VOC-free products. This factor, combined with a loss-free roller coating technology, results in a modern and environmentally friendly coating process. All products are completely radiation polymerized or crosslinked due to the process. Therefore, there are no measurable emissions from the surface.

5. Line implementation: Kleiberit considers itself as an all-round partner of the industry with its work beginning with the initial presentation and continuing from the sampling process up to providing training for the future operating team. The implementation process depends on the lead-time for the new line but for most projects, Kleiberit allocates about 10 months to prepare the customer completely. This includes marketing support and production training at its subsidiary dekoraPUR GmbH. Here, it offers its customers the opportunity to send their panels and to coat them in their presence under real factory conditions.

Kleiberit says additional advantages of its system technology includes the large product portfolio which is available today and it says it can cover all the requirements of modern decorative panels for interior and exterior use. In addition to high gloss and super matte products, the company also offers special products for outdoor applications (façades, decking etc) or laboratory facilities. The possibility to add an anti-microbial treatment or an anti-graffiti coating is currently of particular interest.

The company sayd products coated with PUR HotCoating are characterised by properties that are difficult or impossible to achieve with conventional coatings.

For example, says Kleiberit, one unique property is the long-term flexibility of its PUR HotCoating, which does not become brittle, even after several years, and thus provides a perfect basis for areas that are exposed to substantial thermal fluctuations (for example, façades and in gardens).

This flexibility, it adds, also results in good processing, so sawing or drilling does not cause any cracks in the edge area to create optimum results when edging valuable fronts in the furniture and kitchen industries.

“The dreaded chipping does not occur, so penetration of moisture into the lacquer and possible delamination later is avoided,” Kleiberit says. Another advantage quoted is the in-line embossing of PUR HotCoating finishing. With the aid of an embossing or a static press, deep textures can be created in a continuous process. The process is not only suitable for the finishing of panel material but can also be used in the roll-to-roll process due to the flexibility of the coating.

Kleiberit’s customers produce a wide range of laminating and wrapping materials.

All products are characterised by high flexibility and post-formability and achieve the smallest radii (<2 mm) in further processing.

The company added that a very new product is the coating of decor material suitable for short-cycle presses, when finished with a texture by using a suitable press plate, an overlay is not needed and thus offers a considerable price advantage, providing the typical PUR properties such as a warm feeling and soft step to the flooring panels.

Today, Kleiberit serves 65 large coating lines worldwide. This year it will add another four lines in Asia and the US.

The world’s first PU lacquer coating line for thin laminates
Rainer Kampwerth is business unit manager PUR HotCoating and Industrial Coatings
Kleiberit’s customers produce a wide range of laminating and wrapping materials
The space requirements of a new line depend on the planned maximum capacity