The production process
Behind the apparent simplicity of high-pressure laminates lies a highly-evolved technology requiring powerful production facilities as well as a sizable investment in research and development. HPL production cycle is regulated by European legislation EN 438 and ISO 4586, which establish requirements and production standards. In Arpa, quality controls occur at every stage of the process: from impregnation, to semi-finished product, to thermo-lamination, up to the testing and classification of the finished product.
Storage of the decorative and kraft paper. Decor: coloured or decorated paper layer which confers the HPL its aesthetic properties. Kraft: generally brown raw paper with exceptional resilience and resistance features that will build up the core of the high pressure laminates.
Quality control of raw materials inbound.
Production of resins
Production of thermosetting resins according to Arpa's recipe. The resins will be later used to impregnate the decorative and kraft papers that create the HPL sheet. They can be phenolic (for the kraft paper substrate) or melaminic (for the decorative paper).
Quality control of raw materials and finished thermosetting resins.
In the HPL production process, the impregnation is the operation of preparation of the kraft and decorative papers. They are first soaked (impregnated) in thermosetting resins, then dried. The paper so prepared will give origin to the HPL sheet during the thermo-lamination process. Quality control of the semi-finished products.
Impregnated paper storage
The impregnated kraft and decor paper is stored in appropriated and controlled environment rooms.
In the HPL production cycle, the assembly is the act of overlapping the different kraft, decor and overlay sheets.
Then they are ready to be carried in a press for the thermo-lamination.
High Pressure Lamination
The thermal lamination is the irreversible process which gives origin to the HPL: the impregnated sheets of decorative and kraft paper undergo a simultaneous pressing and heating process at high levels of heat and pressure.
The process provides the flowing of the thermosetting resins throuht the paper fibers and subsequent its curing to obtain a homogenous non-porous material (> 1.35 g/cm³) with the required surface finish.
- Temperature 140°/150° C
- Pressure > 7 MPa
- Press Cycle 40/50 minutes
The resins are irreversibly interreacted through cross linked chemical bonds formed during the curing process producing a non- reactive, stable material with characteristics which are totally different from those of its component parts.
Quality control at the end of the production process.
Trimming and sanding
In the production of the laminate, trimming is the phase in which the edges of the panel are refined.
Finally, the back-side of the panel is lightly sanded to make the it suitable for gluing to substrates.
Quality control and finished product storage
Quality control and classification of the finished product. The quality control is performed according to the norm EN438.
Finished product storage in specific warehouses.
Packaging and shipment
Packaging and transportation are carried out in accordance with Arpa General Processing Recommendations. For transportation, HPL is classified as a non-hazardous product.