Quality controls for Santos kitchens: edge banding and edge-banded items
14 / 06 / 2021
Edge banding is one of the kitchen components that is most prone to the effects of daily use and is also among those most affected by the passage of time. At first glance, edge banding is tape applied to the edge of boards to conceal their exposed sides and improve their appearance. However, its main function is to preserve the integrity of the cabinets, protecting their interiors from liquids and moisture that—through their action—could damage them and reduce their resistance.
A properly edge-banded cabinet will last the entire lifespan of the kitchen without coming unglued, getting deformed or cracked, or undergoing drastic changes in colour, despite being subjected to extreme moisture, heat and lighting conditions. Due to its great impact on the final product, Santos pays particular attention to quality control for edge banding, as well as to how it is applied.
Quality control for edge banding
As with the boards, each batch of edge banding received at the factory is carefully inspected to check its colour and size. In addition, they are subjected to a series of tests aimed at ensuring their quality, strength and durability. Only edge banding that passes these strict tests is used in Santos kitchens.
Washability and friction test
This test, carried out on a specific machine, analyses how the edge banding performs against abrasion and friction. The sample is subjected to at least four hundred dry friction cycles, and must prove to be resistant during the process.
Edge banding must come—as standard—with a primed layer that enables proper adhesion to the board. To ensure that this is the case, the samples are exposed to an ultraviolet light source that reveals its presence.
Quality control for edge-banded items
Proper edge banding of the boards is one of the most decisive factors in the conservation of kitchen units, as keeping the interiors of the units properly isolated and protected against the effects of liquids and moisture depends on it. Even waterproof—that is, moisture-resistant—boards cannot meet this challenge if they have not been properly edge banded, particularly in problem areas such as the sink, dishwasher or fridge.
In addition to controlling the quality and strength of the edge banding itself, as shown above, Santos rigorously monitors the edge banding process to ensure optimum levels of adhesion and durability.
In order to detect any possible deficiency or anomaly, the edge-banded items are subjected to a full battery of tests in accordance with European and Spanish regulations, as well as additional in-house tests. The quality laboratory places incognito orders to the factory to analyse the different materials used with the edge banding machines. No board will pass these tests if it has not been properly edge banded.
Adhesion and bonding test
These are two tests to check that the levels of adhesion and bonding between the edge banding and the board are adequate. The level of adhesion is measured by pulling out the edge banding and then observing the amount of board particles that remain adhered to it. The value of the bonding force is measured using a dynamometer after separating the edge banding from the board. The latter is an in-house test conducted by Santos, in which the required values vary depending on the type of glue used.
Immersion and steam resistance test
These tests assess the resistance of the item to the action of liquids and moisture—two potentially harmful agents for cabinets that are ever-present in the kitchen, particularly in the washing-up and cooking areas. In the first test, the sample is immersed in one centimetre of water for at least half an hour, and in the second, it is exposed to intense water vapour for at least one hour. Once both tests have been completed, the item must remain free of any deformation or cracking, which would indicate that the bond between the edge banding and the board is not good enough.
Glue strength test
These are climate tests in which samples are subjected to cycles of extreme temperature and humidity contrasts, simulating accelerated ageing of the material. This makes it possible to determine whether the edge banding properly adheres to the board, and also to assess the evolution of the edge banding throughout the lifespan of a kitchen. The edge banding used by Santos can withstand the thermal shock of going from -12 ºC to 70 ºC, which is why they will remain in perfect condition for many years.
Ageing resistance test
This is a test performed by qualified external laboratories, which measures how the edge banding ages as a result of its exposure to different types of light. The aim to choose materials that preserve their original colour as long as possible, to avoid the unsightly contrast between the edge banding and the decorative sides of the cabinets in the future. This type of testing is particularly useful for white or light-coloured cabinets, as they are the ones most damaged by light exposure.
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