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INTRODUCTION SUNMICA BASIC INGREDIENTS:

• Sunmica is another name for decorative • Sunmica or other Laminates are made up of papers that are treated with
laminates and it is primarily used as a surface chemical resins to impart them with strength and stiffness. The main
finish pasted on top of another wooden or ingredients required in the manufacturing process are listed below.
board members. • Brown paper (such as the one used for brown paper bags. It is also known
• Decorative laminates are artificially created as Kraft paper)
materials that are made from paper and • Phenolic resin (which is made from phenol and is the basic material used
plastic resins. for making plastic)
• Decorative Laminates that resemble wood • Decorative printed paper (this will have the printed decorative design for
veneers are also quite popular. the face of the sunmica/laminate sheet)
• Melamine resin(A clear transparent resin for treating the decorative paper)
Clear translucent paper (which forms the topmost overlay of the decorative
MACHINES USED: laminated sheet)
• The main machinery and equipments
required for making laminates/sunmica are MANUFACTURING PROCESS:
listed below.
The Laminate Manufacturing Process
• PIL (Paper Impregnation Line)
The main steps carried out in the making of
• Drying and Cooling Machines
laminates are listed below.
• Cutting Machines (for cutting the
Step 1: Soaking the paper in resins
papers/laminate sheets to standard or desired
• The manufacturing process starts by
sizes as per market requirements)
soaking the paper in resins.
• Hydraulic Press
• The brown paper that is going to form the • The resin helps to make these surfaces harder, stiffer
• Steel Plates (used to separate different
bottom side or base of the laminate is and better at resisting scratches and wear and tear.
laminate sheets while pressing, and to etch
soaked in a bath tub that is filled with Step 2: Drying the papers
desired patterns and textures on the
phenolic resin. • This is followed by a drying process in which the soaked
sunmica/laminate)
• On soaking, the brown paper does not just papers are allowed to dry.
• Sanding Machines (for sanding the
get wet but rather absorbs the resin and is • After the drying is complete, the paper which earlier was
bottom/brown side of the finished laminate
saturated with it. easy to tear acquires new physical properties. It
sheet)
• This soaking process is also known as becomes stiff and brittle.
impregnation, and the machinery which Step 3: Cutting
moves the rolled up paper from its spools • The hardened rolls of paper are then cut to the desired
through the resins is called a PIL (Paper sizes by the cutting machines (called cutters).
Impregnation Line). • In India, the standard or most common size for laminate
• The decorative printed paper and the sheets is 8'x4' (8 feet by 4 feet).
translucent paper is similarly soaked and • So the machines accordingly cut the papers to this size.
saturated with the melamine resin.
Step 4: High-pressure pressing and bonding THICKNESS:
• The next step in the laminate manufacturing process is to • The thickness of Laminate sheets usually ranged from 0.6
hard press these papers together under high pressure and mm to 1.5 mm, and accordingly more layers of paper can be
temperature. used in the process.
• This is done using hydraulic presses. • Much thicker laminate sheets (3mm to 30mm thickness) are
• The papers or sheets are stacked upon each other. also manufactured and these are known as compact
• The brown paper forms the bottom sheet followed by the laminated sheets.
decorative sheet, and the topmost layer is of the clear • These compact types are stiff and self-supporting. Such
translucent paper. compact sheets can be used independently without the need
• The huge hydraulic presses are designed to press large to glue them onto plywood, particle board, MDF or any other
number of laminate sheets at a single go. base materials.
• So all the laminates that are to be pressed are placed one upon another • Thin single face Sun mica finishes/ decorative laminates have
with steel separator plates interspersed between them (so that the thickness of less than 2mm.
separate laminate sheets do not stick with each other while being • High pressure sun mica finishes/ decorative laminates are
pressed). available in thickness of 0.8, 1.0 and 1.5 mm.
• The steel sheets also serve another purpose.
• They are designed to carry textures or patterns on them that get etched
on to the surface of the sunmica/laminate sheet while being pressed.
• The pressing is one of the most important processes in the
manufacturing of laminate sheets and is the reason why decorative
laminates are often referred to as HPL and HPDL (High-pressure
decorative laminates). TYPES:
Muscovite mica- KAl2(AlSi3O10)(OH)2 - has greater dielectric strength
• Step 5: Sanding the non-decorative side than any other insulating material.
• In the final step of the process, the bottom side (non-decorative side) is • It surpasses all mica in dielectric strength, thermal endurance, mechanical
uniformly sanded by a sanding machine. strength, moisture resistance, transparency, flexibility, resilience,
• The sanding process makes this surface better suited for adhesion to toughness and perfection of cleavage and is therefore recognized as the
surfaces. best Mica for electrical and electronics devices.
• This sanded surface is the one on which carpenters apply Fevicol (or • It is almost insensitive to atmospheric weathering and offers greater
other adhesives) while glueing these sunmica/laminate sheets over resistance to outside chemical influence
plywood or other base substrate materials. • . Muscovite Mica is harder than Phlogopite Mica.
• Muscovite Mica is the most commonly used Mica in electrical insulation
• Step 6: Testing, Packing, Shipping and since it has the best electrical properties of all Mica.
• Samples of the finished products may be subjected to standard quality • High quality Mica cleaves the easiest and into the thinnest sheets and with
tests for laminates as per norms, and these sheets are then packaged the fewest imperfections that could be seen at the atomic or near atomic
and shipped to the regular distribution channels of the laminate scale with AFM or TEM instrumentation.
companies.
• Muscovite Mica is commonly divided into two color Installation/ fixing:
groups: • The Sun mica / laminates are fixed on the supporting base of ply wood, block board,
particle board etc by adhesives.
Ruby : varies in color from clear to pink to red / brown • The supporting base should be sanded and free from dust, wax, grease etc.
Green: varies in color from pale green to olive to dark green • After applying proper adhesive the sheet of laminate is spread and hand rolled from
centre to edge and remove all air bubbles.
Ruby Muscovite : Color ranges from an almost white through • To ensure adequate bond, sufficient pressure should be applied over the entire area of
pink to a light ruby and into shades of brownish ruby and assembly.
brown.
• Ruby Mica has excellent cleavage capabilities permitting it to Finishing:
be split into the thinnest desired film without the risk of Decorative laminates come pre-finished and do not require any additional finishing.
cracking. Durability:
• Green Muscovite : Ranges from light to pale green through The laminates are durable and are used as surface materials and improve their
yellowish and olive green to a dark green. resistance to wear, scratching and domestic stain etc.
• Color as such has less significant influence on quality.
• Still ruby Muscovite is generally preferred especially in the Maintenance
higher qualities as it is considered to be superior to green
Mica for applications requiring high dielectric strength and • Sunmica based furniture requires less
low power loss (or high Q). maintenance compared to veneer based
• Ruby and green Mica have excellent cleavage permitting it to furniture.
be split into the thinnest desired film without the risk of • General day to day maintenance can be
cracking. done by just using dry or wet cloth to
• Use of ruby and green Mica is a matter of preference and wipe the sunmica surface
application. • These laminates do not take polish so
• 2. Phologopite Mica - KMg3(AlSi3O10)(OH)2 - is a hydrous there is no need to do periodic polish on
potassium magnesium aluminium silicate. these.
• Here the calcination temperature is reached at about 800 C. Color; Design
• Generally speaking, Phlogopite Mica is softer than Muscovite
mica and this for instance makes it more suitable for the • Sun mica / Laminate sheets come in a wide variety
manufacture of commutator micanite used in commutators of of colors, styles and designs.
flush running designs. • These also come in artificial wooden grain styles or
colors too so the laminate based designs have
• Phlogopite Mica is commonly called amber mica and varies in options for both natural designs and man-made
color from light silver to dark brown. designs
• Phlogopite Mica has poor electrical properties and chemical • Laminates comes in matt and glossy finish.
resistance in comparision to Muscovite mica.
• Advantages
• Lower cost
• Impact and scratch resistant
• Stain resistant
• Don't need wax or polish
• Easy to install
• Durable when compared to veneer
• It needs very little maintenance when compared to
veneer.

• Disadvantages
• Some design conscious people say that the Laminate
based furniture is not rich looking furniture.
• As laminates cover the base wood, it is hard to adjudge
the quality of wood members used under the
laminate/sunmica
• IS Designation
• Sun mica finishes/ decorative laminates should be
according IS 2046-1995
• Uses
• Sun mica finishes/ decorative laminates are used as
surface materials on counters, desk tops, cabinets,
wardrobes etc.
• It is also used to provide a neat aesthetic surface on
wall paneling too.