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Black Bros. event draws a variety of laminate users and suppliers

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The Black Bros. event brought together a variety of laminate users and producers.

The Black Bros. event brought together a variety of laminate users and producers.

The 3D Forum hosted by Black Bros. Co. at  its headquarters in Mendota, Ill., drew a wide variety of those interested in laminates.

Ed Strahota reviewed Black Bros. new press design and improvements to the Almex press designs. He specifically talked about the 3-D SmartPress, which was designed to be versatile and upgradable, and automated with SmartPin technology. Almex 3-D presses are now a division of Black Bros.

The 3-D SmartPress was also demonstrated on the Black Bros. plant floor, running several different cabinet door films. A Rapha equipment demonstration was also done, and participants received a plant tour of the Mendota plant. Black Bros. is partners with Rapha Systems.

A TB-60 laminator system was also demonstrated with MDF panels and polyester materials.

Eric Johnson of Omnova spoke on the features and applications of 3D laminates and the changing role of HPL and TFM laminates. Johnson said one important design trend to be aware of was the desire for design consistency, meaning fixtures, furniture and components use the same laminate design.

Jim Bennett of American Renolit described the European 3D market, and its more common use of high gloss, taxtures and Super Matte Solids. PVC is accepted in Europe, while facing environmental challenges in the United States. The 3D Forum audience contributed their opinions on the state of high gloss (increasing, especially in store fixture), textured laminates (established a niche), and darker woodgrains (still dominant).

Quality product and quality process was the subject of a presentation by Bill Formella, who was unable to attend the forum. Richard Utley of Helmitin and Dennis Liebrecht of SSI led an audience discussion of quality issues. They believe that laminate users must ask questions about whether the design is right for 3D materials, and that more quality control is needed where presses are used.

The meeting was a genuine forum and conversation among laminate, adhesives producers and laminate users.

For more information go to or contact Ed Strahota at

Written by cabinettrends

February 28, 2013 at 7:00 am

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