Frequently Asked Questions
What is REHAU LaserEdge?
REHAU LaserEdge is an edgeband with a pre-applied functional layer that replaces the traditional glue used to apply edgeband, allowing for a much superior and seamless joint between the edgeband and the board.
Why is LaserEdge a rapidly growing product for REHAU?
The introduction of hot-air technology to the market means manufacturers can use hot air to activate the functional layer instead of a laser, making the process less expensive. Even though the technology itself has been around for about eight years, the economic value of hot-air technology is causing a boom in this industry. Companies of all sizes are starting to invest in hot air and the machines are receiving wider acceptance. We expect this market to continue to grow exponentially.
How does this type of design visually improve the end furniture product?
LaserEdge and a hot-air or laser machine allow you to achieve a seamless joint and superior finish. When a seamless joint is done properly, it’s very difficult to see the seam between the edgeband and the board. If you’re using glue you’re going to see a glue line.
Why does use of hot-air or laser improve product quality and performance?
The benefits and differences in LaserEdge quality are long term – these products have better moisture resistance, heat resistance and performance over time.
Glue changes colors and physically shrinks and swells, leaving a large gap where dirt collects and bacteria will grow, which causes the visual appeal to dramatically decrease over time. In contrast, REHAU LaserEdge allows for a seamless joint and a higher quality seal.
What are advantages from a manufacturing standpoint?
Basically, this product allows for a far cleaner operation. There’s no glue involved; glue pots are a maintenance nightmare and cause a lot of other manufacturing related problems like pre-heating, shutting down and burning.
With REHAU LaserEdge, manufacturers don’t have to buy the glue. The worries of preheating and glue pots go away. In addition, it can save on labor costs since people at the end of the edgebander aren’t required to wipe off the excess glue.
REHAU LaserEdge also consumes less energy. You’re only bringing two things together; we’ve already joined the edgeband and the functional layer. Now, customers only need to join the edgeband and the board.
Operators avoid the need for the glue application wheel to be cleaned, eliminating the risk of burns.
Involved in the Industry
Even with these advantages, the technology is evolving all the time. So we’re in constant communication with the machinery manufacturers so that we’re aware of developments.
Working for the Customer
We offer a process guide for major manufacturers of hot-air machines; these provide recommended process parameters based on the different edgebander types. Every coil of REHAU LaserEdge also comes with a recommended energy setting for laser edge machines. This setting is based on a standard process conditions and allows each user to adjust their machine accordingly.
What about product options?
We can provide LaserEdge in any polypropylene or ABS size or color available today, and our stock collection is growing. We also do custom color matches every week; if a shade isn’t available in our vast collection we can customize to specific needs. There is really no limitation when it comes to size and colors.
Explain the types of edgebanders in use.
The end quality is the same, whether it’s laser, plasma, near infared or hot air. The difference is the manufacturing. The laser works faster and is typically ideal for larger companies or manufacturers. Hot-air technology is equally as effective and less expensive. Almost all new installations of equipment by manufacturers include some edgebanding technology. Our edgeband works with all the machines out there.
What about the functional layer?
Each seamless, joint-free or zero-joint edgeband is different. It’s all very dependent on what type of material the functional layer is made from. Our REHAU LaserEdge functional layer is a polypropylene material, which offers superior long-term characteristics.
Using edgeband on your laser or hot-air machine could lead to undesirable results depending on the functional layer materials. Using a pre-glued product or a TPU product may still require board cleaning and can increase labor costs. Long-term performance is also less impressive than with our functional layer. It may look nice right off the line, but it’s important for customers to know it’s not going to have the same effect as our polypropylene functional layer a few years down the road.
Another benefit of polypropylene is the color selection, which is custom matched to the top layer of edgeband. This shows no seam and provides a clear transition. In contrast, on a pre-glue product the color selection is extremely limited and you can often see a small line of glue because the color is not matched. TPU is less stable of a material and will shrink as it continues to cool, creating a small glue line or gap. It also has a tendency to smear because it’s softer; this is usually most apparent when they run several boards.
What can furniture manufacturers expect in the future?
Zero-joint edgebanding with hot-air or laser machines is the future. This technology will become the norm in this market; the amount of machines sold without hot air and laser edgebanding is already low.
Customers understand the demand for higher quality finishes and longer lasting products. This technology is the best way for manufacturers and designers to meet that demand.