with maximum repeatability.
Typical cost ranges from $150,000
to $700,000 depending on brand and
options. Membrane presses can press
sophisticated profiles and all types of
To make sure you purchase the
correct technology, talk to a range of
Remember that no matter how
inexpensive the press technology is, it
is not a good deal if it doesn’t perform
to your expectations and those of your
After making the critical decision of
which type of press to purchase, you
need to determine the type of adhesive
and foil to use.
The three basic types of adhesives
are two-part polyurethane dispersion
(PUD), single-part PUD, and pre-applied adhesive.
There are pluses and minuses with
each type. Once again, it is to your
benefit to research the performance
and consult customer testimonials for
a variety of suppliers.
Ask pertinent technical questions.
Making the right choice will maximize your company’s ability to offer
high quality products, cost-effectively
Two-part PUD are catalyst mixed
onsite as needed. This adhesive offers
the highest performance (heat resistance) available in the market.
Single-part PUD adhesives have
encapsulated catalyst premixed in the
adhesive. They offer lower heat resistance than two-part PUD adhesives.
Pre-applied adhesives use a heat-activated adhesive applied in advance
to the PVC thermofoil. They offer the
lowest heat resistance of the three
If you are trying to choose between
two-part and single-part adhesives,
check the adjoining chart.
There are numerous vinyl options
available in the market.
Price should not be the only reason
for choosing a particular vinyl.
Performance, consistency from lot
to lot, design, service and knowledge
provided should play into your decision.
Successful 3DL pressing is as much
an art as it is a process. You will serve
yourself well if you align with adhesive
and foil suppliers that supply high
quality, consistent product and have
extensive experience with the process
to assist with questions on pressing.
They are out there; do your research to
The most commonly used substrate for
3DL parts is engineered wood, either
MDF or particleboard, although there
are many other options such as metal,
ABS and other plastics.
A high quality, ultra-high density
MDF will not only machine cleaner
and give you a smoother finish, it will
also save on adhesive consumption
because the adhesive will not dive-in as
much as with less expensive board.
Single part vs. two-part adhesives
Catalyst already mixed in.
No mixing needed.
Longer pot life.
Should be shipped/stored at 72
Should be activated at 160 degrees F.
Activation temperature increases with
Lower heat resistance on finished
Challenging with thin or soft film due
to higher activation.
Easy five-minute mixing.
Greater heat resistance.
Longer shelf life.
Ability to use a wider range of vinyl.
Ability to run at lower activation
Confidence in producing best product
Needs to be mixed.
Mixed material should be used and
pressed within 10 hours.
Daily cleanup required.