Limitations of a Hot-Air Edgebander

Thick edgebanding does not tend to work well with a hot-air edgebander because of the limited glue quantities on the pre-glued banding. July 11, 2007

I should have a MM ME15 hot air bander on the way. Now what to use. I have a Dollken dealer right across the street. I am looking at .5mm, 1mm, 2mm pre-glued banding. My trimmers have a 2mm radius profile. I am looking at going with 1-2mm banding. Is the 2mm tape going to be hard to get good results from, since I do not have scraping and buffing? I need info on edgebanding experiences. I have only worked with thin iron melamine stuff before.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor J:
I have a similar machine - a Casadei. This machine also claims to handle 2mm banding. I only tried it once using 2mm wood banding and I did not have good results, maybe because it was wood. The banding was a bit thick for the machine to handle. I had a lot of slipping of the banding going through the feed rollers, so it was not covering the edge completely at the start of the feed. It also required quite a bit of adjusting of the rollers and the guides. If you have a MiniMax rep nearby, you might want to have them show you how this is supposed to work. I would be interested to know how this works for you with 2mm PVC.

Personally, I still prefer the melamine banding for my machine. If you have any small pieces that you need to do by hand, the melamine is not going to melt on you. I get the melamine banding from Framatech.

From contributor P:
Hotair has its limitations with .5mm PVC because you have a limited amount of glue you are dealing with. Bond is less than with a glue pot unit. When you jump to 1mm or 2mm PVC, you complicate the problem because you are working with a product that has memory (wants to stay in a coil form), plus it produces more surface area for a customer to grab and pull.

If you plan to run a thicker edge than .5mm, my suggestion is to stay with no more than 1mm max. And that in a flexible type PVC material. Thicker wood veneer is probably out of the question. If one roll bonds better than another, you may want to check the amount of pre-glue on the back. There are times the banding manufacturer may fail to apply enough.

From contributor S:

Why does it not adhere as well? Is it a different type of glue? I thought it was the same type glue that would be used in a glue pot unit. Or is it just that you can not control the amount of glue?

From contributor P:
The limitations of a hot air machine come from the fact that you are reactivating glue that is applied to banding. The glue on this material is a predetermined quantity. There is no way to increase this quantity. The fact is, in the edgebanding process, sticking the banding is the simple part. The substrate bond is much more difficult because it is porous and requires more glue. The reason most edgebanders have their own glue system is due to this.

With a glue pot machine, the substrate picks up the glue, travels to a point where it contacts the banding, and then at the pressure station, it is all pressed together. If more bond is required, it always shows at the substrate side and a quick increase in glue is all that's needed.

Another limitation with hot-air is with thin (.5mm) PVC. If you slow the feed by the heated air too long or increase the air temperature too much, you will melt or stretch the PVC. This happens sometimes when the operator cannot get a satisfactory bond, so they increase the air temperature trying to liquefy the glue more. The melting point of PVC is low and PVC will not stand high direct heat for very long.

There are many other factors in edgebanding, but it's hard to cover it all in one setting. I will advise you to have your materials up to room temperature before starting.

If you plan to use a thicker PVC, order it weeks in advance. There are limited colors available (on the shelf) in pre-glued materials.

When you run into a bond problem, contact your banding/glue supplier. At one time there was a primer available for pre-coating wood and laminate strips. This will work on your substrate edge if you have problems with the thick stuff. The primer is not tacky, loves hotmelt glue, and will feed through the machine easily. Contact cement is too sticky to do this.