Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) and plywood are the two major veneer-based wood composite products. During LVL/plywood manufacturing, the hot pressing process is crucial not only to the quality and productivity, but also to the performance of panel products. Up to now, the numerical simulation of the hot-pressing process of LVL/plywood products is not available.
To help understand the hot-pressing process of veneer-based wood composites, the main objective of this study was to develop a computer simulation model to predict heat and mass transfer and panel densification of veneer-based composites during hot-pressing. On the basis of defining wood-glue mix layers through the panel thickness, a prototype finite-element based LVL/plywood hot-pressing model, VPress®, was developed to simulate, for the first time, the changes of temperature, moisture and vertical density profile (VDP) of each veneer ply and glueline throughout the pressing cycle. This model is capable of showing several important characteristics of the hot-pressing process of veneer-based composites such as effect of glue spread level, veneer moisture, density, platen pressure and temperature as well as pressing cycles on heat and mass transfer and panel compression. Experiments were conducted using several different variables to validate the model. The predicted temperature profiles of the veneer plies and gluelines (especially at the innermost glueline) by the model agree well with the experimental measurements. Hence, the model can be used to evaluate the sensitivity of the main variables that affect hot-pressing time (productivity), panel compression (material recovery) and vertical density profile (panel stiffness). Once customized in industry, the new model will allow operators to optimize the production balance between productivity, panel densification and panel quality or stiffness. This hot-pressing model is the first step in facilitating the optimization of the pressing process and enhanced product quality.
Hot pressing is a critical stage in plywood and laminated veneer lumber (LVL) manufacturing. In this study, a new hot pressing method was developed for plywood and LVL products, which integrated both pressure control and position control in one pressing cycle. The optimum pressing parameters and resulting benefits of this method were determined for panels made from stress graded Douglas-fir, white spruce and mountain pine beetle (MPB) veneer through laboratory tests and for white spruce-lodgepole pine-subalpine fir (SPF) veneer through full-size panel tests. The method was further successfully applied in a mill trial using an industrial multi-opening plywood press.
The work described in this report involved examination of the development of IB strength in OSB panels as a function of pressing parameters and mat moisture content. Response surface methodology (RSM) was used in the design the experimental work employing a Box-Behnken design with four (4) variables (platen temperature, pressing time, moisture content (MC) of the face layers of the mat and face/core ratio). Results showed that the relationship between the study parameters and IB strength fits very well the form of quadratic polynomials. Within the limits studied, it was found that increasing the pressing time and/or temperature could significantly improve the IB strength in OSB panels. Also, the study showed that bonding strength is improved by reducing mat moisture content.
The work is also involved with the effect of resin kinetic on the bonding strength development. Several commercial phenol formaldehyde core resin were selected and characterised with a thermal analysis technique (DSC) to compare the chemical reactions and curing behaviour. The automated bonding evaluation apparatus or slap-shear test was employed to evaluate strength development of the selected adhesives as function of time, temperature and furnish moisture content. Test results showed that within the limits studied, increasing the pressing time and/or temperature could significantly improve the bonding shear. Also, the study showed that furnish moisture content and energy activity of the resin have limited effect on the bonding strength.
The study on the development IB strength as a function of resin energy activity, pressing temperature, pressing time and mat moisture content at the face layers, showed a significant effect of pressing time and temperature on the IB strength of the panel. Also resin with high activity energy was found to provide panel with low IB.