You are here: Home > Vitreous Enamel > Manufacturing > Cladding & Cloakrooms

The Manufacturing Process of Architectural Cladding Panels
and the Modular Cloakroom Cubicle Systems.




CAD

A CAD system is used to create working drawings to the clients specification.

Lazer Cutting

A CNC laser is programmed, using digital information from the CAD system, to cut the sheet steel to shape and create the required fixing holes.

Bending & Welding

A variety of techniques involving spinning, press-brakes, guillotines and welding are used, according to requirements, to form the complex rectangular and curved shapes. Corners are welded and finished to complete the sheet steel profile.

Steel Preparation

Every panel goes through a chemical process to remove contamination and provide an 'etched' surface to receive the enamel. The special low-carbon steel is chemically pretreated, which involves alkaline degreasing, acid pickling and surface passivation to ensure 100% adherence for the glass coating.

Ground Coating

The first coat, or ground coat, is applied to all surfaces.


Drying

The ground coat is dried at 200 - 300ºC leaving the enamel in a 'bisque' form on the steel.


Furnace

Panels are pre-heated to 400ºC before entering the furnace.
The chemical fusing of the vitreous enamel to the steel base takes place at approximately 820ºC. Upon firing in the furnace, under closely controlled conditions, the ground coat is chemically bonded to the steel base. The powder melts, flows and hardens to a smooth, durable vitreous coating on the metal.


Top Coats

Subsequent colour coats are applied (usually 2) depending upon the specification.
The second coat or cover coat is specially formulated with, for example, titanium-based frits, suspending agents and ceramic pigments to provide chemical resistance, abrasion and wear resistance, colour and texture. It is applied in the same way as the ground coat and is once again fired at 820ºC. After two cover coat layers, the overall thickness of the coating is increased to 250-350 microns (1 micron = a millionth of a millimetre).

Substrates & Edges

Various substrates are then bonded to the panel after being passed through an adhesive curtain coater. These can provide additional structural strength, thermal and fire resistant properties. There are a number of core materials available for laminating with adhesives to the inside face of the panels, either as a single layer or as part of a composite construction. The selection depends on the type of panel being specified and the performance required. The range includes asbestos-free fibre insulating boards, calcium silicate fire resistant boards, mineral fibre rigid foamed polyurethane and phenolic resin boards bonded with a neoprene based adhesive. A recent addition has been the introduction of aluminium honeycomb constructions bonded with an epoxy resin adhesive in various sizes to suit the loading requirements. This core in particular has permitted the design of large, exceptionally flat panels requiring a minimum number of fixings.


Inspection

Panels are cleaned, inspected to ensure that there are no defects and then bubble-wrapped.


Packaging

Packed for transportation.