To see a panel edgebanded on four sides with a bonded edge, without using glue is impressive – Biesse says that the quality cannot be questioned and that it beats any aesthetic standard. Furthermore, the company says that the colour continuity between the edge and surface gives a finish more akin to a painted panel than a plastic edge. Described as a zero glue line, this should be the goal for any manufacturer producing kitchen cabinet doors or any visible component for a top quality piece of furniture.
The zero glue line can only be achieved utilising a special edgebanding tape produced with a co-extrusion of different polymers. This special edge has a functional layer made of 0.2mm Polypropylene (PP). This layer is fused to the substrate during the edgebanding process by means of different techniques so the edge is applied to the panel by interpenetration of the polymer into the panel fibres. PP is today co-extruded and available onto materials such as: PP, PVC, Acrylic, and ABS.
Biesse’s AirForce System uses the very simple principle of compressed hot air (400-500° C) to perform the melting of the functional layer. The results are impressive. The maximum working speeds are up to 25m/min using the most common 18mm panels.
The simplicity and the cost of the AirForce System is far lower than Laser systems, its maintenance and operating costs are not even comparable. According to Biesse, the quality of the panels processed with an AirForce System are even slightly better than that achieved with other systems – its resistance to water, humidity and peel provide the same standard as that of laser processes says the company.
AirForce Systems also have unbeatable advantages in that they can be installed on small to large machines, making the top quality standard of the welded edge accessible to everyone now. It is no longer restricted to large companies with higher capital budgets.
The AirForce System also has minimal impact on machine mechanics, meaning it can easily co-exist with the glue system (EVA or PUR). A Biesse edgebander equipped with AirForce can have the capability of using any kind of glue. This represents a significant advantage as we should consider that over the next few years all machines will be equipped with both systems.
Another very important aspect of the new AirForce technology is that coextruded edgebanding tape may become much simpler. The PP functional layer of the Laser edge needs specific “absorber” components in order to react to Laser Light. The absorbers react to a specific wave length (mostly used 980nm wave length frequency) and melts the functional 0.2mm PP.
Laser technique is also very sensitive to edge colour. Dark and light colours have a dramatically different reaction to Laser light so the settings need to be properly adjusted. If not, there is a risk of the edge not adhering to the panel, or melting too much that it burns the edge. When using PP coextruded on PVC, an imprecise Laser tune-up may cause unnecessary risks to the environment and people’s health safety.
AirForce System is a very promising and will allow any manufacturer to supply top quality furniture to their customers.
BIESSE AirForce System is available in two versions: STEP1 and STEP2. STEP1 is an option for medium size machines such as the AKRON 1400, which achieves a working speed up to 15m/min on most common 18mm panel thickness. Running consumption is about 5kW.
STEP2 is for medium to high range machines such as our STREAM range, which achieves a working speed up to 20m/min on most common 18mm panel thickness. Running consumption about 9.5kW.