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 High pressure laminate or HPL is the direct descendent of the original plastic laminate.

What is High Pressure Laminate (HPL)?

It is considered to be one of the most durable decorative surface materials and is available with special performance properties including chemical, fire and wear resistance.

Special grades of HPL can be postformed around curved edges by application of heat and restraint. HPL is laminated to a panel utilizing a variety of adhesives.

Particleboard or MDF are the preferred substrate because they provide a stable, durable, consistent and economical foundation.

How It’s Made

HPL is produced by saturating multiple layers of kraft paper with phenolic resin. A layer of printed décor paper is placed on top of the kraft paper before pressing. The resulting sandwich is fused together under heat and pressure (more than 1,000 PSI). Because phenolic and melamine resins are thermoset plastics, the curing process transforms the resin into plastic by a cross linking process that converts the paper sheets into a single, rigid laminated sheet. Thermo-setting creates strong, irreversible bonds that contribute to HPL’s durability.

A relatively new development in HPL technology is Double Belt Press (DBP) for the production of Continuous Pressed Laminate (CPL). CPL is decorative paper impregnated with resins and fused under heat and high pressure with resin-impregnated backer(s). Laminate properties are similar to standard HPL and typical thickness range is .4 mm to 1mm. CPL is available in desired sheet lengths or continuous rolls.

Flexible CPL is decorative paper impregnated with flexible thermosetting resins and fused under heat and high pressure with resin-impregnated backer(s). This engineered CPL offers a unique range of formable decorative laminates suitable for profile wrapping and edgebanding applications.

Common thickness range is .2 mm through .4 mm. Surface properties are similar to vertical grade HPL and are used significantly to complement HPL and TFL laminates.

There are many types or grades of high pressure laminates engineered for specific performance requirements.

In addition to aesthetic attributes, the lamination of particleboard or MDF with HPL can improve the physical performance of the substrate. For example, a shelf of 3/4″ industrial (M-2) particleboard that is 24″ long will carry 45 lbs. per square foot (psf) of uniform loading with 0.133″ deflection. The same shelf can carry 85 lbs psf before reaching the same deflection if overlaid with HPL.

High pressure laminate is considered one of the most durable decorative surface materials. It performs well in both horizontal and vertical applications, appearing in furniture, cabinetry, flooring and wall treatments.

HPL is durable and therefore well-suited for surfaces in high traffic areas in the home, as well as retail, corporate and hospitality settings. It is often utilized in both vertical and horizontal surfaces in hospitals and clinics.

The nature of HPL also allows it to be postformed. The technology has evolved to include a variety of premium edge treatments with ogees and multiple radiuses that mimic more expensive stone installations.

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