Infrared Technology in Wood Processing Industries

Infrared Technology in Wood Processing Industries

Wood processes benefit from infrared technology in a number of ways. Infrared can provide process heat for panel forming, preheating, drying, curing of coatings, and many other uses. The targeted properties of infrared lamps from Heraeus Noblelight mean that heat is applied just where it is needed, and the quick heat-up of IR means that heat is provided only when it's needed, on demand.



Popular uses of IR in wood applications include:

Infrared Emitters Optimise Powder Coating of Fibreboards

Infrared emitters optimise powder coating of fibreboards

A Heraeus Noblelight infrared booster helps Sauter GmbH powder-coat medium-density fibreboards. Such boards are widely used for tables, cupboards and office furniture. However, powder coating posed a challenge to the company as wood fibres are hardly conducting and, moreover, sensitive to heat. Finally, the breakthrough was achieved by using a highly reactive low-temperature coating powder.

Read our application example here.

Targeted Heating Improves Laminate Embossing Line

Targeted heating improves laminate embossing line

By installing custom-built equipment, incorporating short wave infrared emitters on their embossing line, Cova Products of Cramlington are saving energy and improving throughput because of the application of targeted heat.

Read our application example here.

Infrared Heat Increases Quality of Chipboard

Infrared heat increases quality of chipboard

A fast response, medium wave infrared drying system, from Heraeus Noblelight, is helping MFI to achieve improved quality control in the manufacture of laminated chip board.

Read our application example here.

Drying of Adhesives

Drying water based adhesives with IR heat

The drying of water-based adhesives requires an efficient heat source that works evenly across the entire relevant surface.
Infrared technology is particularly well-suited for these kinds of uses. Here are some examples:

  • A producer of laminated chipboard for worktops, kitchen surfaces and wardrobes required enhanced quality control in production. The process involves feeding sheets of chipboard under a glue application roller and then flashing off the water from this water-based adhesive, leaving the base catalyst to adhere the printed paper to the chipboard. A new system using Fast Response Mediumwave Infrared Heaters from Heraeus Noblelight provides a complete span of the drying area without overlap, so hot spots are eliminated, improving quality control. The efficient system also provided a reduction in power demand for the drying process.
  • A manufacturer of roofing panels uses shortwave NIR technology to heat the panels prior to thermal insulation foam spraying. Two Heraeus NIR heaters producing 95kW/m² each are used for the application. They heaters are housed in gliding holders to allow for repositioning as needed. The system replaces a less-efficient longwave system. The new system allows very short on/off switching and eliminates a number of safety concerns. The new process affords better foam adhesion which in turn allows the wood to provide longer heat conservation.

Drying of Wood Stains

Drying of wood stains

Infrared technology is ideal for process applications that require drying of water-based stains on wood; IR's unique ability to apply heat evenly across a large are makes it a smart choice. And the high controllability and efficiency of infrared technology make it a cost-effective solution as well. Here are a few real-world examples of IR for wood stain drying:

  • A manufacturer of decorative wood panels uses Heraeus Fast Mediumwave IR technology to control process and save energy. Seamless integration of the infrared module into the production machine allows IR power to be constantly switched on and off, conserving energy. The process is controlled by limiting temperature rise of the wooden panels to between 20°C and 50°C. This efficient system now processes 10m of decorative wood per minute.
  • A maker of prefabricated wooden roof covering panels replaced their inefficient longwave infrared modular process heating system with a modular system from Heraeus. The new system uses NIR technology and provides greater safety, quick on/off cycles, flexible power control and a host of other benefits including better adhesion of insulating foam and longer heat conservation in the wood.
  • A pallet manufacturer needed a quick and efficient method to dry paint onto the wood pallets. The chose a modular system of infrared heaters from Heraeus Noblelight. Power oscillates left/right between modules to provide even, uniform heat to the process. The system provides very short drying times (as little as 20 seconds!), and quick on/off power switching during pallet transfer.
  • A manufacturer of wood-based panels wished to replace their solvent-based staining system. They chose a mediumwave IR system from Heraeus Noblelight to dry water-based stain prior to UV lacquering. The new system is faster (the water-based stain is completely dry prior to lacquering), the design is compact, and installation was facilitated within the existing line.
  • A furniture manufacturer required heat to apply and dry polyurethane varnish to its wood products. The convection ovens originally installed in the process plagued the line with long drying times. Retrofitting the production line with medium wave infrared heaters from Heraeus Noblelight allowed the drying time to be reduced from two hours to only fifteen minutes. As a bonus, the infrared heaters allowed greater control over the process.
  • A manufacturer of high-end consumer retail products required a fast and high-quality means of drying water-based paints and lacquers on its products. Working closely with the applications experts at Heraeus Noblelight, the manufacturer chose medium wave carbon infrared lamps because of their energy-saving qualities and unique ability to apply heat evenly across contoured surfaces. Comprehensive tests demonstrate that carbon lamps require up to 30% less energy than conventional heaters in the drying of lacquers and water-based coatings. High power and very fast reaction times are characteristics of carbon lamps from Heraeus Noblelight.

Gelling and Curing Wood

Gelling and curing wood

Infrared technology is a popular and effective heat source for industrial processes that include gelling and curing. Below you'll find some real-world examples of Heraeus IR heaters for gelling and curing.

  • A Manufacturer of wood furniture components applies wax to the wood as part of the finishing process. The wax must be heated to allow for even application via mechanical brushes. But if too much heat is applied, the wood itself risks damage. The process required a heat source that would supply the needed heat while preserving the surface of the wood pieces. The company worked with the IR technology experts at Heraeus Noblelight and installed a set of carbon infrared heaters. The resulting process is far superior to the old method (hot air) and results in a better product finish at higher throughput speeds.
  • A processor of wood grain laminates for home furniture products required an efficient and cost-effective source of process heat for embossing a wood grain finish to its products. They achieved their goals by replacing their ceramic heaters with short wave infrared heaters; these provided the required efficiency and applied targeted heat more evenly across the product surfaces.
  • The manufacturer of MDF (medium density fiberboard) products including shelving and other furniture items sought an efficient, effective means of achieving the gelling and curing steps of the line's powdercoating process. While hot air heating was considered, the company ultimately chose shortwave infrared heat from the applications experts at Heraeus Noblelight. IR offers a number of benefits over other methods; chief among these are IR's directed properties. Heat is applied only to the lacquer and surface, rather than to the entire board. That targeted approach reduces waste and costs. And infrared quick heat-up and cool-down means that line speed is maximized, avoiding production bottlenecks. The MDF components are then ready for further processing more quickly.

Your application is not listed? Infrared can do much more! Ask us!

to top