Countertop Equipment

A brief description of post-forming and countertop sawing equipment. September 20, 2008

Reprinted with permission from MLS Machinery, Inc.

Post formers are normally used in conjunction with presses, glue spreaders, and panel cleaners, as discussed in previous categories. The most common areas that you will find post formed parts today are in the kitchen, bathroom and some office furniture such as counter tops, desk tops and doors in the more modem style of kitchen.

Post forming basically comprises the following: laminating high pressure laminate onto particle board and forming it around the edge of the particle board, which is pre-shaped. This will normally take the shape of a 90 degree post form, or a 180 degree, which is wrapped all the way around the panel. Countertops which can be two pieces, i.e. with a separate backsplash, or can be post formed in one piece where the front has been built up by a core builder and the back will go through a coving machine which will allow for a backward post form. A coving machine cuts out the wood to allow the backsplash to be post formed in the opposite direction to the rest of the counter top.

When post forming, laminate will be pre-applied to a piece of particle board which has been pre-shaped on the edges for the required design, be it 90,180 degree or a counter top, either by sprayed contact cement or through a glue spreader and pinch roller or will have been in a press. When the laminate is applied, it is left to overhang the particle board. This overhang is what will be post formed. Post forming can either be done on a fully automatic machine or a manual style machine. Heat is applied to the high pressure laminate that is overhanging the particle board, which makes the Formica or arborite pliable or flexible so that it can be turned or curved (post formed) and at the same time while pressure is exerted on the board, the high pressure laminate attaches itself to the glue that has been pre-applied onto the edge of the board and is then allowed to cool. As it cools down, the Formica sticks or bonds itself to the board underneath thereby giving it a nice rounded look. The difference between the manual style and fully automatic post former is that in the manual style the panel is manually turned around the heated "overhang" and pressure exerted is manually done, while in the automatic style the machine looks similar to an edgebander either single or double sided. This machine will shape the edge of the particle board, apply the glue, heat the "overhang", apply pressure by a system of rollers, trim the part and allow for cooling all in one continuous automatic process.

Core Building Machines make the “hump” on the front section of a counter top, or build up the false front of a counter top.

Counter Top Saws come in various types. There is the completely manual style that has a top mounted saw blade on a bar. The saw is moved across the counter top by manually turning a handle that pulls a chain which is connected to the saw blade. The countertop can be set at whatever angle is required on the table top of the machine. Here the material is turned and the saw structure stays stationery.

On the more automated counter top saws the material stays stationery while the saw blade housing is moved to the required angle. A button is pushed and the saw blade will automatically travel across the countertop.

Some machines also have special routers under the counter top that will route a special notch at the same time. These notches will be sued with special hardware to tie the countertops together at their various angles when installed.

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