Many people want to know what the difference between high-pressure and low-pressure laminate is, but not many has the chutzpah to actually stand up and ask.
What they really mean is: What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?
We are going to take a look at how High Pressure Laminate and Low Pressure Laminate are made and why a manufacturer might want to choose one over the other. Often times we hear of high pressure laminate compared to melamine. However, melamine is a chemical technically used in both High Pressure Laminate and Low Pressure Laminate. What distinguishes high from low pressure laminates is really the process by which they become laminates.
Here’s a very brief description of what melamine is. It is an organic, white crystalline powder made by heating cyanamide – an acidic crystalline compound. Melamine, combined with other chemicals, becomes a plastic resin that is perfectly safe and has been in use since the 1950s without any negative effects. Impregnating layers of kraft paper with melamine resin creates the melamine laminate. A newly formed layer of laminate is combined with a decorative film layer which is then attached to a wooden substrate like fiberboard or particleboard core materials. The resulting product is used in furniture, counter tops, walls, floors, and a whole lot of other places.
The process used to attach the melamine-infused laminate paper to a substrate is really where the High Pressure Laminate differs from the Low Pressure Laminate.
In creating High-Pressure Laminate the layer of laminate is adhered to the substrate under pressures of 70 to 100 bars and temperatures of 280 to 320 degrees Fahrenheit using adhesives. Low-Pressure Laminate means the layer of laminate is adhered to the substrate under pressures of 20 to 30 bars at temperatures of 335 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit with no adhesives. As far as the advantages of one over the other goes, most would say it is in the price. The price of low pressure laminate is usually less expensive than high pressure laminate. The only reason for this difference in price is that Low Pressure Laminate does not cost as much to manufacture. Both are fire retardant and include antibacterial properties, making both an excellent hygienic choice for food preparation areas, health facilities and medical offices.
Although both are resistant to chemicals and heat, High Pressure Laminate is slightly more durable when it comes to these hazards. This might be something to consider if you’re selecting furniture for a lab, commercial kitchen or healthcare facility.
Cubicle Solutions use High Pressure Laminate in the manufacturing process of most of our products.
The main thing to consider when choosing High Pressure Laminate or Low Pressure Laminate is how the manufactured final products will be used and whether the price you pay is worth the extra protection that High Pressure Laminate provides. In the long run it is definitely worth paying the additional cost as you will also be reducing damage during daily use.