Industrial woodworking presses
Table of contents
- Wood presses
- Demanding applications
- Ready for any task
- More than just veneer
- Press machines for wood processing
- Veneering machines
- Through-feed presses
- Daylight presses
- Press brakes
- Membrane presses
- Gluing presses
- What do I need to be aware of when buying a wood press?
- Manufacturers of wood machine presses
Metalworking presses are well known pieces of machinery that change the shape of workpieces. They use pressing procedures that involve bending a base material to achieve a desired shape.
Presses for the woodworking field, by contrast, have a completely different task: instead of bending/shaping, wood presses use coating/veneering processes. They are used to turn cheap wood or chipboard into higher-quality products by placing an outer layer on the workpiece.
The task of veneering wood and chipboard must always take account of the specific properties of the wooden material used. As a cellulose-based material, wood reacts sensitively to moisture, is flammable, and is easy to snap in half if the pressure exerted is too high. This makes operating presses a very delicate procedure, especially where the hot press procedure favoured by the wood industry is used.
Flat and even surfaces, especially, are relatively easy to veneer with rollers or pressing units, but when it comes to complex contours along a profile, or within the surface, sophisticated procedures are needed.
Ready for any task
Fortunately, manufacturers of woodworking machinery have risen to the challenge and developed a range of successful machines. Nowadays, layering cheap wooden materials with veneers made from plastic or fine wood is an easy task, even across large series. Complex, shaped profiles and bodies, too, can be layered reliably with consistent results. The only prerequisite: the layering material must be correspondingly pliant.
More than just veneer
Veneering – the act of adding thin layers of high-quality wood to a base item – is just one method of coating wooden materials using presses. In many applications, a plastic coating can be more appropriate thanks to its flexibility and high resilience. This applies even more so to complex ceiling panelling or cupboard doors where a complete thin veneer of wood would be uneconomical.
Industry has therefore developed a huge selection of different materials suitable for various press coating applications on wood. Industrial wood presses are also used to create the base item itself.
Press machines for wood processing
Most woodworking presses are simply different forms of the veneering press, which acts as a catch-all term for all machines used to press external veneers or similar coating materials onto wooden or chipboard workpieces.
Through-feed presses (continuous presses) are used in the chipboard industry. They press the coating materials onto the pre-fabricated chipboard in a continual procedure using heated rollers which securely attach the panels to the base item as they are fed through. Through-feed presses are production machines intended for high cycle rates and work at their best when performing the same procedure over large series.
Daylight presses (multi-platen presses) are the smaller version of through-feed presses and are also used to coat chipboard with veneer. In contrast to large hot roller presses, daylight presses are only capable of processing small quantities.
Daylight presses feature a layered design with each press, or ‘daylight’, stacked on top of one another. Multi daylight presses make it possible to customise the production line, i.e. some chipboard panels can be veneered with one material while other panels receive a different layer. Synchronous coating of several panels also enables excellent productivity making multi daylight presses an ideal choice for mid-sized carpentry operations.
Daylight- and through-feed presses are only suited to coating processes on the upper- and lower-side of a panel – the edges cannot be worked on. They are also unsuitable for coating wooden profiles and this is why press brakes were developed. There are a variety of types available, each intended for a different specific application.
Simple press brakes work according to the same principle as the through-feed press: they adhere veneer strips along the edge of a panel or profile using heated rollers. The edges do not need to be straight or at a right angle to the panel or profile.
When it comes to layered edges, post-forming machines are the ideal choice. These technically-complex machines are specially designed for gluing layers onto strongly contoured edges.
The veneering of edges featuring radii is another matter entirely, which is why industry developed the soft-forming machine whose pressing roller is flexible and corresponds to the contour. It is thanks to these machines that individually-shaped edges and profiles can be created while remaining affordable to the consumer.
Membrane presses were invented for coating strongly contoured surfaces but can only use flexible coating materials. Wooden veneers are unsuitable for application using a membrane press since they are at risk of splintering and breaking along the contours.
A membrane press consists of a large work table fitted with a membrane flap onto which the workpiece and coating material are placed. The membrane flap then closes and extracts the air between membrane and table and compressed air presses the coating material securely onto the workpiece. Due to their design and method of working, membrane presses are also known as 3D presses or vacuum presses.
Pressing machines for woodworking are also used for the assembly of carcasses. Once coated, drilled and fitted with dowels, chipboard panels and profiles can be assembled together on these machines and transformed into usable products.
Carcass presses are used in the field of furniture building. They can continually produce furniture components with consistent quality to ensure later assembly work only requires a couple of manual interventions.
Frame presses are mostly used for window construction. They produce perfectly fitting frames for windows with consistent quality. Only by using modern frame presses can complex, thermally-insulated windows with double- and triple-glazing be produced at an affordable price.
What do I need to be aware of when buying a wood press?
As with all machines used in industrial woodworking, presses are always under the influence of dust and wood chips. The microparticles of dust are the most pernicious as they gradually develop into a resilient plaque that can engulf the entire machine. With presses, the problem is even worse since they operate using heated adhesives which make residual particles even more prone to sticking together and forming ever larger deposits. This makes thorough and continual cleaning essential to operating a wood press machine.
If cleaning is insufficient, the machine will soon become unusable, which makes it even more important to take a look at the inner workings of the machine before buying. If the internal mechanics point towards a lack of cleaning, this should be reflected in the sales price. But there is good news: even machines that are completely jammed with residue and glue can be brought back to life by professional treatments (ideally dry ice blasting).
Manufacturers of woodworking presses
Well-known manufacturers of woodworking presses include:
- 3D Presses: SUBLI
- Through-feed presses: JOOS, LANGZAUNER, WEMHÖNER
- Veneering presses: BÜRKLE, LANZGAUNER, OTT, HÖFER, ITALPRESSE
- Press brakes: HOMAG, STEFANI, HOLZ-HER, BRANDT
- Carcass presses: GANNOMAT, HESS
- Frame presses: COMIL, ITALPRESSE, ORMA
- Gluing presses: GANNOMAT, RAMARCH
High-quality, used industrial presses from these and other manufacturers can frequently be found in our numerous industrial auctions. We continually update the range of products in our used machinery marketplace, which is why we recommend taking a look another day if you want a press for sale that is not currently available.
If you have any general questions, or need information on a particular item, please do not hesitate to contact the Surplex customer care team who will be glad to advise you.