WO2007144718A2 - Method for manufacturing coated panels and coated panel - Google Patents

Method for manufacturing coated panels and coated panel Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2007144718A2
WO2007144718A2 PCT/IB2007/001493 IB2007001493W WO2007144718A2 WO 2007144718 A2 WO2007144718 A2 WO 2007144718A2 IB 2007001493 W IB2007001493 W IB 2007001493W WO 2007144718 A2 WO2007144718 A2 WO 2007144718A2
Authority
WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
particles
characterized
resin
carrier sheet
method according
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/IB2007/001493
Other languages
French (fr)
Other versions
WO2007144718A3 (en
Inventor
Eveline Roseeuw
Original Assignee
Flooring Industries Limited, Sarl
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to BE2006/0325 priority Critical
Priority to BE200600325A priority patent/BE1017168A5/en
Priority to US87841607P priority
Priority to US60/878,416 priority
Application filed by Flooring Industries Limited, Sarl filed Critical Flooring Industries Limited, Sarl
Publication of WO2007144718A2 publication Critical patent/WO2007144718A2/en
Publication of WO2007144718A3 publication Critical patent/WO2007144718A3/en

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Classifications

    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B29/00Layered products comprising a layer of paper or cardboard
    • B32B29/06Layered products comprising a layer of paper or cardboard specially treated, e.g. surfaced, parchmentised
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B44DECORATIVE ARTS
    • B44CPRODUCING DECORATIVE EFFECTS; MOSAICS; TARSIA WORK; PAPERHANGING
    • B44C5/00Processes for producing special ornamental bodies
    • B44C5/04Ornamental plaques, e.g. decorative panels, decorative veneers
    • DTEXTILES; PAPER
    • D21PAPER-MAKING; PRODUCTION OF CELLULOSE
    • D21HPULP COMPOSITIONS; PREPARATION THEREOF NOT COVERED BY SUBCLASSES D21C OR D21D; IMPREGNATING OR COATING OF PAPER; TREATMENT OF FINISHED PAPER NOT COVERED BY CLASS B31 OR SUBCLASS D21G; PAPER NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • D21H27/00Special paper not otherwise provided for, e.g. made by multi-step processes
    • D21H27/18Paper- or board-based structures for surface covering
    • D21H27/22Structures being applied on the surface by special manufacturing processes, e.g. in presses
    • D21H27/26Structures being applied on the surface by special manufacturing processes, e.g. in presses characterised by the overlay sheet or the top layers of the structures
    • D21H27/28Structures being applied on the surface by special manufacturing processes, e.g. in presses characterised by the overlay sheet or the top layers of the structures treated to obtain specific resistance properties, e.g. against wear or weather
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04FFINISHING WORK ON BUILDINGS, e.g. STAIRS, FLOORS
    • E04F15/00Flooring
    • E04F15/02Flooring or floor layers composed of a number of similar elements
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04FFINISHING WORK ON BUILDINGS, e.g. STAIRS, FLOORS
    • E04F15/00Flooring
    • E04F15/02Flooring or floor layers composed of a number of similar elements
    • E04F15/10Flooring or floor layers composed of a number of similar elements of other materials, e.g. fibrous or chipped materials, organic plastics, magnesite tiles, hardboard, or with a top layer of other materials
    • DTEXTILES; PAPER
    • D21PAPER-MAKING; PRODUCTION OF CELLULOSE
    • D21HPULP COMPOSITIONS; PREPARATION THEREOF NOT COVERED BY SUBCLASSES D21C OR D21D; IMPREGNATING OR COATING OF PAPER; TREATMENT OF FINISHED PAPER NOT COVERED BY CLASS B31 OR SUBCLASS D21G; PAPER NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • D21H13/00Pulp or paper, comprising synthetic cellulose or non-cellulose fibres or web-forming material
    • D21H13/10Organic non-cellulose fibres
    • DTEXTILES; PAPER
    • D21PAPER-MAKING; PRODUCTION OF CELLULOSE
    • D21HPULP COMPOSITIONS; PREPARATION THEREOF NOT COVERED BY SUBCLASSES D21C OR D21D; IMPREGNATING OR COATING OF PAPER; TREATMENT OF FINISHED PAPER NOT COVERED BY CLASS B31 OR SUBCLASS D21G; PAPER NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • D21H21/00Non-fibrous material added to the pulp, characterised by its function, form or properties; Paper-impregnating or coating material, characterised by its function, form or properties
    • D21H21/50Non-fibrous material added to the pulp, characterised by its function, form or properties; Paper-impregnating or coating material, characterised by its function, form or properties characterised by form
    • D21H21/52Additives of definite length or shape
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04FFINISHING WORK ON BUILDINGS, e.g. STAIRS, FLOORS
    • E04F15/00Flooring
    • E04F15/02Flooring or floor layers composed of a number of similar elements
    • E04F15/04Flooring or floor layers composed of a number of similar elements only of wood or with a top layer of wood, e.g. with wooden or metal connecting members

Abstract

Method for manufacturing coated panels of the type having a top layer (1), which comprises at least one carrier sheet (3) soaked in resin (2) and a printed decor (6) or a coloration, wherein hard nano- or micro- particles (9) are incorporated into the top layer (1), which are situated above said printed decor (6) or coloration, wherein the method comprises at least the step of forming a carrier sheet (3), which is provided with a resin coating, such that this at least partially resin-treated or resin-pre-treated carrier sheet (3) has an amount of resin (2) at least at the side intended to form the upper side (7) thereof, characterized in that the method also comprises the step of providing a suspension, which comprises at least a portion of said hard nano- or micro-particles (9), at the upper side (7) of said already resin-pre-treated carrier sheet (3).

Description

Method for manufacturing coated panels and coated panel.

This application claims the benefit under 35 U. S. C. § 119(e) of U.S. provisional application No. 60/878,416 filed on January 4, 2007.

This invention relates to a method for manufacturing coated panels, as well as to coated panels. More particularly, the invention relates to a method for manufacturing floor panels or furniture panels, as well as to floor panels and furnitu-re panels.

In particular, the invention relates to a method for manufacturing laminate panels, such as floor panels or furniture panels, of the type comprising a top layer on the basis of at lea-st one carrier sheet -soaked in resin, for example, of paper. Laminate panels of this type may be realized in a variety of manners. For example, they may be realized by means of a DPL (Direct Pressure Laminate) technique, wherein this r-esin-soaked carrier sheet, possibly together with one or several other resin-soaked carrier sheets, is consolidated at an increased temperature and pressure, by means of a press element, on a basic board, such as a MDF or HDF (Medium Density Fiberboard or High Density Fiberboard) board.

Laminate panels may also be realized, for example, by means of a HPL (High Pressure Laminate) technique,

•wherein the resin-soaked carrier sheet is consolidated with other resin-soaked carrier sheets, after which the top layer obtained in this manner then is provided on a basic board.

In a DPL technique as well as in a HPL technique, the laminate panels comprise a printed decor obtained by means of a print or coloration, which usually is provided at least on or in one of said carrier sheets and which determines the appearance of the decorative side of the panels.

It is known to apply hard particles, such as aluminum oxide, also called corundum, in the top layer of such floor panels or furniture panels, with the intention of forming a wear-resistant layer above said printed decor or said print. Generally, it is assumed that, the larger the average size of the hard particles, the better the wear resistance of the obtained panels. However, panels comprising such large particles at their surface still have a high risk of developing scratches.

The tests describing scratch resistance and wear resistance are well known to those skilled in the art. For example, in laminate floor panels, wear resistance as a standard is measured as a number of revolutions, IP value (initial wear point) , that a grinding wheel must perform before the printed decor of the laminate floor panel is affected, such as described in EN 13329 Annex E, also called Taber test. Scratch resistance is determined by visually determining the visibility of scratches that are provided in the surface with a standard needle tip with differing pressure force. The larger the required pressure force for forming a visible scratch, the larger the scratch resistance of the surface. Polishing sponges are also applied for the visual evaluation of scratches. It is clear that it is not required for a scratch that the printed decor as such is affected. A mere damage of the resin of the top layer is sufficient.

In the meantime, it is known from BE 1 015 862, with the intention of obtaining an improved scratch resistance, to apply small particles, such as nano-particles, in laminate floor panels. From the state of the art, various methods are known for applying hard particles. However, these methods, for example, the one known from WO 98/47705, are insufficient for applying hard nano-particles.

The method of the present invention aims at an efficient and good manner of manufacturing a coated panel, preferably a laminate panel of the DPL or HPL type having an acceptable scratch resistance. In particular, this relates to laminate floor panels and laminate furniture panels. To this aim, the invention according to its first aspect relates to a method for manufacturing coated panels of the type having a top layer which comprises at least one carrier sheet soaked in resin and a printed decor or a coloration, wherein hard nano-particles are incorporated into the top layer, which are situated above said printed decor or said coloration, wherein the method comprises at least the step of forming a carrier sheet, which is provided with a resin coating, such that this at least partially resin-treated or resin-pre-treated carrier sheet has an amount of resin at least at the side intended to form the upper side thereof, with as a characteristic that the method also comprises the step of providing a suspension, which comprises at least a portion of said hard nano-particles, at the upper side of said already resin-pre-treated carrier sheet. In the case that the top layer comprises several carrier sheets, the aforementioned carrier sheet preferably relates to the carrier sheet situated closest to the upper side of the panel. In the case that the coated panel comprises a coloration, this latter preferably is applied by means of a colored carrier sheet, whether or not corresponding to the above-mentioned carrier sheet upon which the suspension is provided. In the case that the coated panel comprises a printed decor, this latter preferably is applied by means of printed carrier sheet, whether or not also corresponding to the above-mentioned carrier sheet upon which the suspension is provided.

By "nano-particles" generally particles are meant with an average size of less than 1 micrometer. However, according to the invention preferably particles are applied with an average size between 20 and 700 nanometers, and still better between 50 and 200 nanometers .

By "hard particles", particles are meant that are harder than the aforementioned resin. Preferably, particles are applied consisting of a material with wear-resistant properties, such as ceramic particles, for example, particles chosen from the group of aluminum oxide

(A1203) , silicon carbide (SiC) , titanium oxide (TiO2) , boron carbide (B4C) , tungsten carbide (WC) and silicon dioxide (SiO2) . Aluminum oxide is a particularly suitable material, as this material has approximately the same refractive index as melamine resin, which latter typically can be appli-ed in the manufacture of a laminate panel . In comparison to many other ceramic particles, aluminum oxide particles have a smaller influence on the visibility of the underlying printed decor or the underlying coloration. Another example of a material with wear-resistant properti-es is glass. So, glass spheres, whether or not hollow, may be used as hard particles. These spherical particles have multiple advantages. In laminate panels of the DPL type, they may, for example, although they are situated at the surface of the panel, result in a reduced wear of the press element used in the DPL pro-cess. The inventor has found that applying the hard nano- particles in suspension on the upper side of an already resin-pre-treated carrier sheet results in less tendency of these nano-particles to agglomerate, such that a more uniform distribution of the particles is achieved and a corresponding better scratch resistance of the surface is created. An additional advantage is that the risk of nano-particles migrating to underlying layers is reduced.

However, the inventor has also found that advantag-es may also be achieved when, instead of nano-particles, use is made of micro-particles with an average grain size smaller than 30 micrometers and preferably larger than 5 micrometers, wherein said suspension then, instead of a portion of the nano-particles, comprises at least a portion of the micro-particles. Thus, the invention, according to a deviating variant of said first aspect and/or the preferred embodiments thereof discussed hereafter, also relates to such method, wherein, instead of nano-particles, use is made of such micro-particles and wherein said suspension comprises at least a portion of the micro-particles. The smaller the particles, the more pronounced the obtained uniformity of the distributed particles over the surface and the smaller the tendency to migrate towards underlying layers . However, with larger particles, such as the above- mentioned micro-particles, a better wear resistance of the surface is obtained. A good compromise between the advantages of the dispersion and the wear and scratch resistance may be obtained by means of the aforementioned micro-particles. Preferably, this relates to particles with an average grain size between 5 and 20 micrometers, such as particles with an average size of 17 micrometers. The above-mentioned glass spheres are best applied as micro-particles. It is noted that it is not excluded that one works with a mixture of hard particles partially consisting of nano-particles and partially consisting of micro- particles, whether or not consisting of the same material, wherein this mixture then is provided in said suspension.

According to a first important embodiment of the method, said carrier sheet relates to a so-called overlay, which is situated in the final panel, floor panel or furniture panel, as an at least partially transparent or translucent layer above the printed decor or the coloration. This overlay may substantially consist, for example, of alpha cellulose and, without resin treatment, have a weight between 10 and 40 gram/m2, and still better between 20 and 25 gram/m2. In this first important form of embodiment, the resin-pre-treated carrier sheet in dry condition, this is a condition in which the residual moisture content is approximately 6%, preferably has a weight between 100 and 180 gram/m2, and still better between 25 and 150 gram/m2. In this manner is obtained that the carrier sheet is completely soaked, however, not over-saturated, and that a good adherence of the nano-particles or micro-particles as well as of underlying layers, such as a possible basic board in the case of a DPL technique, may be achieved.

According to a particular possibility of this first embodiment, the carrier sheet may relate to a so-called overlay, wherein this overlay substantially consists of an alpha cellulose paper, in which during the production of the paper hard particles, such as aluminum oxide and/or glass fibers and/or glass spheres, are integrated. It is clear that the application of such carrier sheet effects an even better tear resistance. According to a second important embodiment of the method, said carrier sheet has a print or coloration forming said printed decor or said coloration. Preferably, this relates to a so-called decor paper preferably having, without resin treatment, a weight between 55 and 100 or even up to 150 gram/m2 and still better between 70 and 90 gram/m2. In order to obtain that the carrier sheet is completely soaked, however, not over-saturated, the resin-pre-treated carrier sheet in this case preferably has a weight of 120 to 200 gram/m2, and still better from 130 to 170 gram/m2. The heavier decor papers, these are the decor papers with a resin-untreated weight of more than 100 gram/m2, preferably are used with furniture panels.

According to these two important embodiments, the step of forming a resin-pre-treated carrier sheet consists preferably at least of the metered application of resin, for example, by means of a metering device, such as metering rolls. In this step, then, whether or not in combination with said metering device, resin may be applied by means of a spraying device or the like.

It is not excluded that during the manufacture of the floor panel or furniture panel, whether or not during •the step of forming a resin-pre-treated carrier sheet, also hard particles are applied in the top layer on a location where, in the final panel, they are situated above the printed decor or coloration, however, below the aforementioned nano-particles or micro-particles applied by means of a suspension. These hard particles preferably have a larger average size of said nano- particles, micro-particles, respectively. An average size between 20 and 200 micrometers or between 30 and 180 micrometers, and still better between 60 and 160 micrometer is recommended for obtaining a good wear resistance in combination with an acceptable visibility of the printed decor or the coloration.

The hard particles situated below the nano-particles or micro-particles, which latter have been applied by means of a suspension, preferably are situated in a resin layer and/or preferably are applied in a separate step. In the case of said first important embodiment, these hard particles preferably are applied at the side of the carrier sheet that is intended to form the underside thereof. Then, these larger particles, as aforementioned, provide for a higher wear resistance of the surface of, for example, a laminate floor panel, without, however, having an influence on the step of applying the suspension. For the hard particles applied in this step, however, any material may be applied that is harder than the material of the top layer. Preferably, the same material is applied as that of the nano-particles or micro-particles still to be applied, however, one may also opt for another, preferably ceramic material.

Said hard particles situated below the nano-particles or micro-particles deposited by means of a suspension may also be integrated in a carrier sheet itself, for example and preferably in said carrier sheet. In the case of a paper carrier sheet, this means that the hard particles are taken up into the paper itself.

Befor-e providing said suspension, the obtained resin- pre-treated carrier sheet preferably is dried up to a residual moisture content of maximum 20%, and still better of maximum 15%. By introducing this drying treatment is obtained that the risk that the subsequently-applied suspended nano-particles will sink down into the resin that is already present at the upper side of the resin-pre-treated carrier sheet and that the deposited nano-particles will be present as good as possible in the top portion of the top layer of the final panel. They will function best as scratch- retarding components if present at the surface of the floor panel or furniture panel. With such method can be obtained that a uniform distribution of hard nano- particles is present at least in the first 2 to 5 micrometers underneath the surface of the panel. In these first 2 to 5 micrometers a very high concentration of nano-particles may be obtained; an amount of more than 50 volume percent of nano-particles in this layer is not excluded. The amount of nano-particles may even rise up to more than 85 volume percent. In the case that one works with micro-particles instead of nano- particles, generally one attempts that the micro- particles are present at the surface of the final panel in a concentration between 2 and 20 grams per square meter, and still better in a concentration between 5 and 15 grams per square meter, such as, for example, approximately 10 grams per square meter. With micro- particles, too, it is of importance that they are present at the surface of the coated panel, preferably a number of micro-particles herein forms a hard portion projecting at the surface, which still better is not or hardly covered by the remaining ingr-edients of the suspension. The inventor has found that the presence of such projecting portions of micro-particles -effects a very good wear and scratch resistance, whereas the possibly damage to or wear of the press plate or other press element used in the manufacture of the panel may be -restricted by limiting the average grain size of the micro-particles, for example, to 30 micrometers or less. Preferably such projecting portions are present at the surface at least in a concentration of 50 to 80 per square centimeter; still better, concentrations of 100 to 1000 projecting portions per square centimeter are accomplished.

For the suspension to be applied preferably use is made, apart from the aforementioned hard nano-particles or micro-particles, at least of resin and water. According to the desired effect, a variety of mixing ratios are possible .

In a first example, a water-dissolved mixture of solids may be applied, wherein said mixture comprises at least 50 percent by weight and still better at least 70 percent by weight of the respective particles. This mixture has in particular advantages when the suspension comprises nano-particles. Particularly good results may be obtained with a mixture comprising 90 percent by weight and more of nano-particles. In the mixture of solids, further preferably use is made of at least 10 percent by weight solid resin. This mixture then preferably is mixed with water until a suspension is obtained consisting for at least 30% of said mixture of solids, however, preferably consisting for at least 45% or at least 50% of said mixture.

In a second example, a water-dissolved mixture of solids may be used, wherein this mixture then comprises less than 30 percent by weight, and still better less than 20 percent by weight of the respective particles. This mixture has in particular advantages when the suspension contains micro-particles. Particularly good results may be obtained with a mixture containing only 10 percent by weight or less of micro-particles. In this mixture of solids, further preferably use is made of at least 35 percent by weight solid resin. This mixture then preferably is diluted with water until a suspension is obtained consisting for at least 30% of said mixture of solids, however, preferably even consisting for at least 45% or at least 50% of said mixture.

As a resin, preferably a thermo-hardening amino resin, such as a melamine resin, is applied. However, it is not excluded that at least for the suspension use is made of a thermoplastic resin.

In the suspension further dispersing agents known as such may be applied, which promote maintaining the nano- particles or micro-particles in suspension. Other possible components for the suspension are silane, butane diol, epsilon-caprolactam, polyglycolene and other similar materials. These agents are known as such as modifying materials for amino resins. Preferably, the suspension is substantially or entirely free of cellulose or anyhow comprises at least less than 5 percent by weight, or still better less than 1 percent by weight cellulose. Avoiding or minimizing the cellulose portion in the suspension results in a better transparency of the obtained top layer. This is in particular of importance when using larger particles, such as the aforementioned micro-particles. Namely, micro-particles as such may entrain a substantial opaqueness of the top layer.

For applying the suspension, in principle any depositing or application system may be used, however, preferably use is made of at least one of the following possibilities : a metering device; a spreading device at least by means of a knife; an application device with at least a wire doctor roll and/or raster roll; an application device with at least a so-called air knife; an application device by means of rolls and knives .

It is noted that it would be better not to use a spraying device for depositing the suspension, as it may have a negative effect on the uniformity of the applied nano-particles. However, the use of such spraying device is not excluded and becomes more interesting the larger the average size of the particles to be applied is. For example, it may be particularly efficient with micro- particles. As will be shown in the following, for applying the dispersion also use can be made of a method according to the sixth aspect of the present invention.

Preferably, the suspension is applied in an application device arranged in line with a device that is used during said step of forming the resin-pre-treated carrier sheet. To this aim, an extra station may be provided on a standard impregnation channel. Preferably, said application device, seen in the flow direction of the carrier sheet, is situated after a drying station or oven.

Generally, it is preferable that, when performing a method according to the first aspect, at least two drying installations or ovens are used and that between these two drying installations, an application device is situated, by means of which at least a portion and preferably the entire aforementioned suspension with nano-particles or micro-particles is provided. In this manner is obtained that the residual moisture content of said resin-pre-treat-ed carrier sheet is restricted by means of the first drying installation before the suspension is applied and that, after applying the suspension, the carrier sheet can be dried further in the second drying installation to a residual moisture content of maximum 10%, and still better maximum 7%. Of course, this second drying step may also be performed on another line or separately.

It is clear that the present invention according to its first aspect also relates to a coated panel, such as a floor panel or a furniture panel, which is obtained or can be obtained by using a method with the characteristics of this first aspect.

According to a second independent aspect, the present invention relates to a coated panel of the type having a top layer which comprises one or more carrier sheets soaked in resin and a printed decor or a coloration, with the characteristic that the portion of the top layer extending above the carrier sheet situated closest to the upper side of the panel has at least two resin layers, amongst which, on the one hand, a first resin layer comprising, apart from resin, at least one effective ingredient, and, on the other hand, a s-econd resin layer situated between the carrier sheet and said first resin layer, and that the second resin layer differs from said first resin layer at least in that it does not comprise said effective ingredient in a similar function or does comprise it in a lower concentration. In the case that the coated panel comprises a coloration, this latter preferably has been applied by means of a colored carrier sheet, whether or not corresponding to the above-mentioned carrier sheet situated closest to the upper side of the panel. In the case that the coated panel comprises a printed decor, this preferably has been applied by means of a printed carrier sheet, whether or not also corresponding to the above-mentioned carrier sheet situated closest to the upper side of the panel.

For the sake of clarity, by the fact that such ingredients are not present in a similar function is meant that such effective ingredient is not present in the second resin layer in a same or almost same size or form as in the first resin layer. According to the second aspect of the invention, for example, corundum particles may be present in the first resin layer as well as in the second resin layer, however, in the first resin layer exclusively in the function of nano- particles or micro-particles and in the second resin layer in the function of considerably larger particles.

According to the second independent aspect is obtained that effective ingredients are situated substantially there, where they are effective. Namely, such ingredients, with excessive use, may lead to a loss of visibility of the printed decor or coloration and/or to a major extra cost. The function of such ingredients may be, for example, scratch repellency, such as with nano- particles or micro-particles, however, also other effects are possible, such as, for example, ingredients with dirt-repellent effect, ingredients with bactericidal and/or bacteria-repellent effect and the like.

With many of these ingredients, the thickness of said first resin layer may be restricted to less than one- half of said second resin layer. The thickness of the first resin layer may be restricted to less than 30 micrometers, and preferably to less than 10 micrometers. Thicknesses between 0.5 and 5 micrometers are not excluded and are, for example, particularly advantageous when the effective ingredient consists of nano- particles. Thicknesses between 10 and 30 micrometers are, for example, beneficial when working with the micro-particles mentioned in the first aspect. With such thicknesses, the concentrations of projecting hard particles mentioned there may be obtained at the surface of the floor panel or furniture panel.

Preferably, the concentration of the effective ingredient in the first resin layer, when this ingredient relates to a solid, is restricted to a maximum of 20 grams per square meter, and still better to 15 grams per square meter. Preferably, the concentration is larger than or at least equal to 5 grams per square meter.

Preferably, the first resin layer is applied separately on said carrier sheet, whereas this carrier sheet already has been provided with at least said second resin layer. The separate application of the first resin layer may be performed, for example, by applying the first resin layer as a suspension of the effective ingredient .

The second aspect is particularly interesting for ingredients which are effective at the surface of the floor panel or furniture panel. Thus, said first resin layer preferably forms the surface of said top layer.

Preferably, the concentration of the effective ingredient in said second resin layer is maximum one- half, and still better maximum one tenth of the concentration of this ingredient in said first resin layer. Optimally, the concentration of this ingredient in said second resin layer is zero or practically zero. According to the second aspect, said carrier sheet may relate, for example, to a paper sheet with a not-resin- treated weight between 10 and 40 gram/m2, and still better between 20 and 25 gram/m2. Such paper sheet may be applied as a so-called overlay.

According to the second aspect, said carrier sheet may also relate to a so-called decor paper. In such case, the carrier sheet has a print or coloration forming said printed decor or said coloration, and the carrier sheet, resin-untreated, has a weight between 55 and 100 gram/m2 or even up to 150 gram/m2 and still better between 70 and 90 gram/m2. The heavier decor papers, these are the decor papers with a resin-untreated weight of more than 100 gram/m2, preferably are applied for furniture panels .

In an important embodiment of this second aspect, the effective ingredient is formed by hard particles. According to this important embodiment, said first resin layer preferably has one and still better a combination of two or more of the following characteristics: the characteristic that in the first resin layer micro-particles are applied as hard particles, with an average size of less than 30 micrometers and preferably larger than 5 micrometers, and still better between 5 and 20 micrometers; the characteristic that in the first resin layer nano-particles are applied as hard particles, with an average size of less than 1 micrometer; the characteristic that in the first resin layer nano-particles are applied as hard particles, with an average size between 20 and 700 nanometers, and still better between 50 and 200 nanometers; the characteristic that in the first resin layer particles are applied as hard particles chosen from the group of aluminum oxide, silicon carbide, titanium dioxide, boron carbide, tungsten carbide, silicon dioxide; the characteristic that in the first resin layer glass spheres are applied as hard particles; the characteristic that the first resin layer consists for at least 50 percent by weight and still better for at least 80 percent by weight of said hard particles; the characteristic that the first resin layer consists of maximum 50 percent by weight of resin and still better of maximum 20 percent by weight resin; the characteristic that in the first resin layer flat or oblong particles are applied, such as flat corundum particles or the particles discussed by means of the fourth aspect described in the following.

According to the same important form of embodiment, said second resin layer preferably has one and still better a combination of two or more of the following characteristics: the characteristic that the second resin layer consists for less than 50 percent by weight and still better for less than 20 percent by weight of hard particles; - the characteristic that the second resin layer comprises no or almost no hard particles; the characteristic that the second resin layer consists of at least 50 percent by weight resin and still better of at least 80 percent by weight resin; the characteristic that the second resin layer consists exclusively or almost exclusively of resin.

Nano-particles or other particles of ceramic materials or glass spheres are particularly expensive scratch- resistant and/or wear-resistant ingredients, which have an important effect at the surface of the top layer and therefore preferably may be concentrated solely or substantially at the surface. However, it is not excluded that the floor panel or furniture panel according to this important form of embodiment of the second aspect also has at least a third resin layer, which is present beneath said carrier sheet and which comprises hard particles, wherein the average size of the hard particles in the third resin layer preferably is larger than the average size of the hard particles in said first resin layer. Preferably, in this third resin layer then particles are used with an average size between 20 and 200 micrometers, and still better between 60 and 160 micrometers. These sizes of ceramic particles are currently available on the market and are less expensive than, for example, said nano-particles.

The inventor has found that by means of said glass spheres, an increased resistance against deep scratches in combination with a reduced wear of the press element applied in the production of the laminate may be obtained.

From the above, it is clear that also mixtures of, for example, two or more hard materials may be applied as an effective ingredient. It is of particular interest to combine glass spheres with hard particles, such as corundum. Preferably, in such mixture the glass spheres have an average size between 5 and 30 micrometers. However, larger glass spheres, for example, up to 150 micrometers, are not excluded. This may relate to hollow as well as to full glass spheres. Preferably, the mixture further comprises as hard particles micro- particles of corundum or any other ceramic material, wherein these micro-particles, for example, have the dimensions as defined by means of the first aspect. Preferably, the micro-particles thus have an average size of smaller than 30 micrometers. Also, the hard particles may comprise flat or oblong particles. Such particles preferably have an average largest main dimension between less than 60 micrometers, which will be explained further by means of the fourth independent aspect.

In other embodiments of this second aspect, said effective ingredient is formed by soft particles, such as particles on the basis of polyurethane, which preferably are spherical. Such particles may impart a certain toughness to the surface of a floor panel or any other coated panel, which also leads to a more scratch- resistant surface.

According to the second aspect, also fiber-shaped effective ingredients may be used, such as glass fibers and/or cellulose fibers. These have the feature that they provide for a better adherence between the polymer chains of the resin, as a consequence of which also a better scratch resistance may be obtained.

According to still another possibility, the effective ingredient is formed by a fluorine-carbon compound, preferably a polymerized fluorine-carbon compound. Such materials are renowned for their dirt-repellent effect, which, of course, is desired primarily at the surface of the coated panel, for example, the floor panel. Still another possibility relates to the application of bactericidal and/or bacteria-repellent ingredients. It is clear that the presence of such ingredients also is desirable substantially at the surface.

It is noted that according to the second aspect said carrier sheet, the first and second resin layers extend horizontally one above the other in the top layer, wherein preferably the second resin layer directly borders the first resin layer and the carrier sheet.

It is clear that certain embodiments of said important embodiment of the second aspect may be realized by means of a method of the first aspect .

According to a third independent aspect, the present invention relates to a coated panel, such as a floor panel or a furniture panel, of the type having a top layer, which comprises at least one resin-soaked carrier sheet and a printed decor or a coloration, with as a characteristic that the top layer comprises at least one effective ingredient, which is situated above the printed decor or the coloration and is present in form of flat or oblong particles. Preferably, said effective ingredient is chosen from the list of the following three possibilities: flat hard particles, such as flat corundum particles; - cellulose fibers; glass fibers.

In the case that the coated panel comprises a coloration, this latter preferably has been applied by means of a colored carrier sheet, whether or not corresponding to the above-mentioned carrier sheet, in which said flat or oblong particles are present. In the case that the coated panel comprises a printed decor, this latter preferably has been applied by means of a printed carrier sheet, whether or not also corresponding to the above-mentioned carrier sheet, in which said flat or oblong particles are present.

As described above, the above three possible ingredients show effects that may be advantageously applied at the surface of the top layer. Their oblong or flat shape has the advantage that, when pressing such top layer, for example, when utilizing said DPL technique, there is less risk of damaging the press element used therewith. It is evident that for this reason, oblong or flat particles are also interesting for other effective ingredients .

It is noted that as flat particles, preferably particles are used in which one of the three main dimensions of the respective particle is at least 10 times smaller than the other two main dimensions thereof, such as it is the case, for example, with particles in the form of flakes. Preferably, by "oblong" is meant that one of the three main dimensions of the respective particles is at least 10 times longer than the other two main dimensions, such as it is the case, for example, with particles with a fiber shape.

The largest main dimension of the flat or oblong particles preferably is less than 60 micrometers and still better is contained within the range of 10 to 50 micrometers. Of course, this relates to the average largest main dimension of the particles. A very good value for this is 40 to 45 micrometers. Of course, such flat or oblong ingredients may also be applied in a particularly advantageous manner with panels having the characteristics of said second aspect, wherein these ingredients then form the above-mentioned effective ingredient of the first resin layer.

According to a fourth independent aspect, the present invention relates to a coated panel, such as a floor panel or a furniture panel, of the type having a top layer, which comprises at least one resin-soaked carrier sheet and a printed decor or a coloration, with the characteristic that the carrier sheet as such comprises glass fiber and/or glass spheres. Further ingredients of the carrier sheet may, for example, relate to cellulose fiber and/or polyester fiber. In the case that the coated panel comprises a coloration, this latter preferably has been applied by means of a colored carrier sheet, whether or not corresponding to the above-mentioned carrier sheet comprising the glass fibers and/or glass balls. In the case that the coated panel comprises a printed decor, this latter preferably has been applied by means of a printed carrier sheet, whether or not also corresponding to the above-mentioned carrier sheet comprising the glass fibers and/or glass balls.

Surprisingly, the inventor has found that a panel with such carrier sheet has good scratch resistance features. It is clear that this carrier preferably is situated above said printed decor or said coloration. Preferably, this relates to a carrier sheet which substantially comprises alpha-cellulose paper into which glass fibers and/or glass spheres have been integrated during the manufacture of the paper. Such paper preferably is used as a so-called overlay and/or preferably has a weight between 10 and 40 gram/m2 and still better between 20 and 25 gram/m2. When glass spheres are applied in the carrier sheet, they preferably have an average size that is smaller than 30 micrometers, and preferably is larger than 5 micrometers. These glass spheres as such may be hollow or not. However, it is not excluded that the applied glass spheres or glass fibers have an average size between 10 and 150 micrometers. It is clear that with such large glass spheres or glass fibers then other advantages may be obtained, too.

It is noted that integrating wear-resistant particles of material into a carrier sheet during paper production as such is known, for example, from DE 196 04 907. In this document, particles of material, such as aluminum oxide, are mentioned. However, the inventor has found that glass fibers, and still better glass balls, are also suitable for integration into a carrier sheet and that this carrier sheet, when applied in a laminate panel, may effect an even better scratch resistance than this is the case with the carrier sheets known from the above document.

It is clear that a laminate panel with the characteristics of the second aspect may also show the characteristics of the second and/or the third aspect.

It is noted that where in the present invention according to all its aspects hard particles, nano- particles or micro-particles are used, this will preferably relate to so-called silanised particles, such as silanised aluminum oxide. Silanised particles show the feature that they adhere better in a resin, such as melamine resin. Aluminum oxide may be silanised with a Si-OH group as well as with a Si-NH2 group. The inventor has found that this latter, namely the so-called amino silanes, effect an even better adherence with the resin. According to a fifth independent aspect, the present invention relates to a coated panel of the type having a top layer which comprises at least one resin-soaked carrier sheet and a printed decor or a coloration, wherein the top layer comprises aluminum oxide particles situated at least partially above the printed decor or said coloration, with the characteristic that the aluminum oxide particles are silanised with an amino silane. In the case that the coated panel comprises a coloration, this latter preferably has been applied by means of a colored carrier sheet, whether or not corresponding to the abovementioned carrier sheet. In the case that the coated panel comprises a printed decor, this preferably has been applied by means of a printed carrier sheet, whether or not also corresponding to the carrier sheet mentioned in the fifth aspect.

It is clear that the coated panels of the second through fifth aspects may relate to floor panels or furniture panels. Preferably, these are panels of which said top layer relates to a laminate top layer of the DPL or of the HPL type.

Other examples of coated panels, which may be obtained according to the first aspect of the invention or which show the characteristics of the second and/or the third and/or the fourth and/or the fifth aspect, are wall panels or ceiling panels.

According to all aspects of the invention, said top layer may be situated on a substrate or basic board of any material, whether or not by the intermediary of still other material layers. Thus, the substrate or basic board may consist of a wood-based material as well as any other material. In the case of a wood-based material, for example, use may be made of fiberboard, oriented strand board, multiplex, MDF or HDF, boards or panels obtained by wood extrusion, and the like. Other, not-limiting examples of substrates or basic boards are boards obtained by hardening a substance, for example, boards of synthetic material, or boards obtained by a material hardening due to the influence of water, such as boards on the basis of cement or the like.

According to a sixth aspect, the invention relates to a method allowing to apply hard particles in an alternative manner on a material sheet or carrier sheet, such as a paper sheet. To this aim, the invention relates to a method for applying a substance on a material sheet, wherein the substance is transferred from a reservoir onto the material sheet or carrier sheet by bringing the material sheet, whether or not directly, with at least one side thereof into contact with the respective substance, with as a characteristic that said reservoir has at least one outlet opening, wherein at this outlet opening a surface of said substance is formed and said side of the material sheet is guided over this surface, wherein at least an amount of said substance is transferred onto said side of the material sheet and wherein the substance comprises at least hard particles.

As the transfer of the substance is performed by means of a contact between a side of the material sheet and a surface of this substance at an outlet opening, a thin layer of the respective substance may be transferred onto the material sheet in a uniform manner. A uniform distribution of said substance is recommended when working with hard particles, with which, for example, a certain scratch and/or wear resistance at the respective material sheet is intended to obtain. Preferably, by means of the method 1 to 10 grams per square meter of said hard particles are applied, and still better 3 to 10 grams per square meter.

It is clear that said contact occurs in the immediate proximity of said outlet opening and that said surface preferably is continuously maintained, for example, in that said reservoir is flowing over at least via this outlet opening. By means of the technique of the sixth aspect, by guiding said side of the material sheet over the surface at the outlet opening, the aforementioned amount of the substance can be taken along by the material sheet.

In the most preferred embodiment of a method according to the sixth aspect, the material sheet is guided over the edge of said outlet opening, preferably such that by the cooperation of the material sheet and this edge a film-shaped layer of the respective substance is provided on the material sheet. By means of said cooperation, also a certain metering may be obtained.

It is noted that the method of the sixth aspect, in particular the fact that the substance to be applied may be taken along by the material sheet from the outlet opening, has significant advantages in respect to a technique in which such substance is splashed or sprayed from a reservoir onto the material sheet. Known splashing techniques and spraying techniques may cause undesired uniformity differences, due to the force with which the substance is applied on the material sheet, as such techniques are based on turbulent streams of liquid, whereas the transfer technique of the sixth aspect may take place by means of a rather laminar stream of the substance. Preferably, said substance comprises at least a liquid component.

Preferably, said substance relates to a dispersion comprising at least said hard particles. So, for example, this may relate to a dispersion with nano- particles and/or micro-particles of the type discussed by means of the method of said first aspect, however, also larger particles than the hard particles mentioned there may be used. Average grain sizes up to 200 micrometers are not excluded.

Preferably, said substance comprises at least resin preferably a thermo-hardening resin, such as melamine resin.

Preferably, said substance is applied in a metered manner. As already mentioned above, such metering may be achieved according to a first possibility in that the material sheet is guided over the edge of the outlet opening. According to a second possibility, which whether or not can be combined with this first possibility, the metered application is performed at least in that, after said application, surplus substance is removed. It is not excluded that a possible undersupply of said substance is additionally applied in any manner. Preferably, independently of the fact whether a metering takes place, one attempts an amount of applied substance between 5 and 50 grams per square meter, or still better between 10 and 25 grams per square meter.

In a preferred form of embodiment of applying the substance in a metered manner, said amount of the substance, prior to and/or during said contact of the respective side with said surface, is adjusted, varied and/or controlled by means of adjustment means. Hereby, it is obtained that apart from the larger uniformity of the provided layer of said substance, also an adjusted, whether or not variable, thickness of this layer may be obtained. Possibly, for an in-line adjustment of the thickness, one may also work with a feedback by means of one or more sensors that measure or estimate the applied amount of the substance, and the signal of which is used to control said thickness, such that this latter remains within the desired limits.

Preferably, by means of said adjustment means the tension with which the material sheet is guided over said surface may be adjusted. The inventor has found that a variation of the tension may result in a simple manner in an adjustment of the amount of transferred substance. For such adjustment, simple mechanical means may be applied, which are known as such. Of course, said tension may be varied in a variety of ways. For example, the material sheet as such, whether or not locally, may be subjected to a tension force in its longitudinal direction and/or may said reservoir or said outlet opening or at least the edge thereof be displaced relative to the material sheet, such that, for example, it presses more or less against the material sheet.

For example, said material sheet relates to a paper sheet and/or is this material sheet intended to be applied in the top layer of a coated panel, wherein said flat side then preferably is directed towards the upper side of said coated panel. So, for example, may the material sheet be a so-called overlay or a so-called decor layer.

Before said material sheet is guided over the respective surface, it is preferably provided with the same or another substance, preferably by impregnating this material sheet with the respective substance or possibly with one or several liguid ingredients thereof. This may, for example, take place by guiding the material sheet through a bath and/or by moistening the material sheet in any other manner with the respective substance, for example, by means of splashing and/or spraying techniques .

The inventors have also found that said preferred embodiment, in which use is made of adjustment means for adjusting, controlling or varying the amount of substance to be transferred, shows advantages independently from the fact whether one works with a substance comprising hard particles. Such method thus may also be applied for transferring other ingredients onto a material sheet, such as, for example, the effective ingredients mentioned in connection with the second aspect. Thus, the invention, according to a deviating variant of the sixth aspect, also relates to such method in which adjustment means are applied, as described above, and wherein not necessarily hard particles are applied. It is clear that with such method, uniform thin layers may be applied on a material sheet, such as a paper sheet.

It is clear that the invention also r-elates to a material sheet that is obtained by applying a method with the characteristics of the sixth aspect and on a coated panel of the type having a top layer, with as characteristic that said top layer comprises such material sheet. It is clear that such coated panel further also may show the characteristics of the second, third, fourth and/or fifth aspect of the invention, and/or that for manufacturing such coated panel, a method with the characteristics of the first aspect may¬ be applied.

With the intention of better showing the characteristics of the invention, hereafter, as an example without any limitative character, several preferred forms of embodiment are described, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Figure 1 represents a method according to the first aspect of the invention;

Figure 2 represents a variant of such method for the area indicated by F2 in figure 1; Figures 3 and 4 represent a cross-section through the top layer of a panel, in this case a floor panel, manufactured by such method, wherein figure 4, at a larger scale, represents a view of the area indicated by F4 in figure 3; Figures 5 through 9 represent further examples of such panels;

Figure 10 schematically illustrates a method with the characteristics of the sixth aspect; and Figure 11, at a larger scale, represents a view of the area indicated by FlI in figure 10.

Figure 1 represents various steps in a method of manufacturing a coated panel, in this case a floor panel. Herein, this relates to a laminate floor panel with a top layer 1, which, amongst others, is constructed of two carrier sheets 3 soaked in resin 2. A first carrier sheet 3, provided with resin 2, forms a so-called overlay 4 and, in the example, is intended for forming the upper side of the floor panel to be manufactured. This overlay 4 extends on top of a second carrier sheet 3, which, provided with resin 2, forms a decor layer 5, also called decor paper. To this aim, the second carrier sheet 3 has a print 6 forming said printed decor. It is clear that, within the scope of the invention, one may also work with a colored carrier sheet instead of a printed carrier sheet as a decor layer.

Figure 1 clearly shows that the first carrier sheet 3, which is intended to form the overlay 4, in a first step Sl is provided with resin 2, such that this carrier sheet 3 has an amount of resin 2 at least at its upper side 7. In the present case, the carrier sheet 3 has been completely saturated with the resin 2 and shows an amount of resin 2 at its underside, too. In a second step S2, a suspension 8 comprising hard nano-particles 9 is provided at the upper side 7 of the already resin- treated first carrier sheet 3 or overlay 4, said suspension preferably meeting one or more of the specifications described in the introduction. It is clear that the suspension 8 herein may be applied in any manner, for example, pursuant to the techniques described in the introduction. It is also clear that the hard nano-particles 9 also may be replaced by the micro- particles mentioned in the introduction.

For forming the laminate floor panel, in the example of figure 1 the DPL technique mentioned in the introduction is applied, wherein, as represented in step S3, sai-d overlay 4, which in this case is already provided with a suspension 8, and said decor layer 5, by means of a press element 10, are consolidated on a base plate 11. In this case, at the underside 12 of the base plate 11, which, for example, may consist of a MDF or HDF board, also a carrier sheet 3 soaked in resin 2 is provided, said sheet forming a so-called balancing layer or backing layer 13. It is noted that in step S3 preferably relatively large boards are formed, which subsequently may be sawn to or may be divided in any other manner into smaller panels, at which, in order to form the final floor panels, coupling means may be provided at the edges thereof.

It is clear that in this manner, floor panels are obtained comprising nano-particles at the upper surface, which, due to the fact that they are provided in a suspension, impart the advantages mentioned in the introduction to these floor panels.

It is noted that, according to a not represented variant, it is not excluded to apply the nano-particles by means of a suspension after the various layers already have been consolidated by means of the press element 10.

Figure 2 represents that, according to a variant, hard particles 14 may also been provided at the underside of the first carrier sheet 3 or overlay 4. These may also be provided by means of a resin suspension and, as represented, preferably are of a larger average size than said nano-particles 9 or micro-particles.

Figure 3 represents a cross-section through the top layer 1 of the laminate floor panel that is obtained by the method of figure 1. In this laminate floor panel, the surface 15 of the top layer 1 is formed by the nano- particles 9 provided in suspension 8. Figure 4 represents that particularly high concentrations of the nano-particles 9 may be reached at the surface 15 of a laminate floor panel, which are situated directly next to the upper surface of the floor panel and therefore are particularly effective. Figure 5 represents the result that may be obtained with the method of figure 2. It is clear that, when pressing the respective carrier sheets 3, a possible migration of the hard particles 9 and/or 14 and/or the applied resin

2 may occur. Figure 5, for example, represents that the resin 2 at the underside of the carrier sheet 3 of the overlay 4 and the resin 2, with which the particles 14 have been provided, migrate to a layer in which the particles 14 spread. An excessive migration of the nano- particles 9 or micro-particles to the underlying structure, as represented, preferably is avoided and may be prevented, for example, by applying said suspension 8 only after the resin-pre-treated carrier sheet 3 has dried somewhat .

Figure 6 represents another variant wherein larger hard particles 14 are present on top of the carrier sheet 3 of the overlay 4, however, wherein the surface 15 of the laminate floor panel still is formed substantially by said nano-particles 9 or micro-particles that are comprised in resin.

Figure 7 represents a variant, wherein hard particles 14 are present in the carrier sheet 3 of the overlay 4.

This may be achieved, for example, when a carrier sheet

3 is applied wherein, in the production thereof, for example, the production of the paper of which this carrier sheet 3 is made, hard particles 14 are integrated therein.

Figure 8 represents a variant of a laminate panel, in this case a laminate floor panel, wherein the top layer 1 does not comprise any extra carrier sheets 3, such as overlays 4, above the print 6 or the printed decor. Figure 9 also shows such a variant, wherein, apart from the particles, more particularly nano-particles 9, provided in the suspension 8, also larger hard particles 14 are provided above the print 6 or the printed decor, which, however, are situated substantially underneath the particles provided in suspension, in this case, nano-particles 9. The embodiments represented in figures 8 and 9, as well as other embodiments in which no use is made of a carrier sheet in the form of a so-called overlay, are of particular importance for furniture panels. Due to the, in comparison to floor panels, less high requirements for wear resistance for furniture panels, an inexpensive acceptable solution may be offered by means of these embodiments. Of course, these embodiments are also of importance for floor panels.

The larger hard particles 14 in the example of the figures 5, 6, 7 and 9 preferably have an average size between 20 and 200 micrometers, and still better between 60 and 160 micrometers.

It is noted that the carrier sheets 3 in the represented examples are illustrated only schematically and that in reality the relation between the thickness of such carrier sheet and the overall thickness of the top layer may deviate from the relation applied in the figures. The same is valid for the represented dimensions of the hard particles 9 and 14. For not-restricting examples of practical dimensions of the particles 9 and 14, reference is made to the description in the introduction.

Further, it is noted that, amongst others, the figures 5 through 9 also represent floor panels which also fulfill the second aspect of the invention, wherein hard nano- particles or micro-particles are used for the effective ingredient mentioned in this second aspect. Herein, the first resin layer mentioned there is formed by said suspension 8.

Figure 10 illustrates a method for applying a substance 16 onto a material sheet or carrier sheet 3. Herein, the substance 16 initially is situated in a reservoir 17, which, in this case at the top, shows at least one outlet opening 18. At the height of this outlet opening 18, a surface 19 of the respective substance 16 is formed. It is clear that by capillary effect, in the case of a liquid substance 16, or by accumulation, in the case of a solid substance 16, the respective surface 19 may be formed at a small distance above the outlet opening 18. As illustrated in the figure, the material sheet 3 is guided over the outlet opening 19, whereas a first side 20 thereof comes into contact with the respective surface 19. In this manner, an amount of the substance 16 is transferred onto the material sheet 3.

It is clear that said surface 19 at the height of the outlet opening 18 must be maintained in order to obtain a good functioning of the method of the invention. This is possible, for example, by continuously topping up the reservoir 17 or even let it flow over. For collecting overflowing substance 16, a collecting reservoir 21 or any other recipient may be provided.

The transfer of the substance 16 onto the material sheet 3 is also clearly represented in figure 11. The material sheet or carrier sheet 3, which in this case already has been impregnated with resin 2 in a prior step, takes the respective substance 16 along over the edge 22 of the outlet opening 18. As a result of the cooperation of the material sheet 3 and this edge 22, a film-shaped layer 23 of the respective substance 16 is provided on the material sheet 3. In dashed line is represented that that the pre-impregnated material sheet 3 already, preferably at a second side 24 thereof, may have been provided with hard particles 14 in any manner. It is noted that, after said prior step, in which the material sheet 3 is pre-impregnated, possibly a drying treatment may be performed. Depending thereon, the material sheet 3, whether or not in a wet condition, may be guided over said outlet opening 18. Of course, after performing the method of the sixth aspect on the material sheet 3, also a drying treatment may be applied.

The represented substance 16, which is provided at said first side 20 by means of the method according to the sixth aspect, relates to a dispersion with hard particles 9. Such dispersion further may also comprise resin 2 and/or water. The hard particles 9 applied in the substance preferably have an average grain size that is smaller than the average grain size of the hard particles 14, which possibly have been provided in a prior step on the material sheet 3, for example, on said second side 24 thereof. In particular, the dispersions may be used that are described in connection with the first aspect.

In figure 10, by the arrows 25 is represented that the material sheet 3 may be displaced relative to the outlet opening 18. By means of the adjustment of the relative distance D of the material sheet 3 to the edge 22 of the outlet opening 18, possibly the amount of substance 16 to be applied may be adjusted.

In figure 10, it is further represented that optionally, possibly excessive substance 16 may be removed, for example, by means of the doctor blade 26 represented in dashed line. Preferably, the represented material sheet 3 relates to a paper layer, for example, an overlay or a decor layer. Preferably, such material sheet 3 is applied in the top layer of a coated panel, and the hard particles 9, which have been applied by means of the method of the sixth aspect, are situated at least above a possible print 6 or coloration, which may be present in such coated panel. Still better, the material sheet 3 is applied such in the top layer 1 that the respective particles 9, in the coated panel, will be situated closer to the upper side or the surface 15 of the panel than the actual material sheet 3.

It is clear that the method of the sixth aspect can be applied for performing the second step S2 mentioned above, for example, mentioned in connection with figure 1.

With the intention of illustrating the invention still further, hereafter, without any limitative character, another embodiment example has been included.

Example:

The example describes a practical implementation of the method of the first aspect of the invention, wherein use is made of an overlay realized as is represented in figure 2.

For forming the resin-pre-treated carrier sheet, resin was applied on a 25 gram/m2 overlay paper, consisting of alpha cellulose, by means of two successive impregnation steps .

In a first impregnation step, 50 gram/m2 amino resin (K791 of BASF) was applied with metering rolls. This resin was applied in a liquid mixture comprising 65 parts of water per 100 parts solid amino resin matter.

Thereafter in a second impregnation step also 55 gram/m2 of resin were applied on the underside of the overlay paper by means of a spraying device. This resin was applied by means of a suspension comprising, per 100 parts of solid amino resin matter, approximately 60 weight parts of aluminum oxide particles of an average size of approximately 65 micrometers and 65 parts of water.

After the aforementioned two impregnation steps, the carrier sheet was led into a drying installation, wherein the resin-pre-treated carrier sheet was dried until it showed a residual moisture content of approximately 6% .

At the upper side of this dried, resin-pre-treated carrier sheet a suspension with nano-particles was provided by means of a spreading device. This suspension related to an aqueous dilution of 50% of a mixture of solids. This mixture of solids comprised 90 percent by weight A12O3 particles with an average grain size of 100 nanometers and 10 percent by weight of amino resin

(K791) .

After applying the suspension, the treated carrier sheet was led back into the drying installation, where the residual moisture content was brought back to approximately 6%.

The thus obtained overlay, together with a resin-treated decor paper, was pressed on a HDL board by means of a DPL technique. By means of the same press treatment, a backing layer, which also consisted of a resin-soaked carrier sheet, was provided at the underside of the basic board.

The applied decor paper comprised a print representing the African dark wood species Wenge. This print was chosen because possible scratches usually will show as white in the top layer of a laminate floor panel and thus might be observed very quickly against the background of a dark printed decor.

The obtained laminate panel was subjected to the tests for scratch resistance described in the introduction and showed excellent results. Compared with a floor panel of the state of the art, in spite of the darker printed decor, a significantly higher pressure force had to be exerted onto the needle tip before a visually disturbing scratch developed. Also, the sponge test mentioned in the introduction resulted in little or no scratches.

Generally, it is noted that in the previous aspects of the invention by "effective ingredient" is meant that the respective ingredient is present in a higher concentration than it is the case with traces and therefore has a measurable effect.

It is clear that, when speaking about nano-particles, micro-particles or other particles with an average size situated in a certain interval, preferably it is obtained that the largest quantity of these particles, thus, at least 50 percent by weight of the total weight of particles, has a size situated within this interval.

For the determination of the average size of the particles, reference is made to the relevant standards. In general, it may be stated that according to the current methods for determining the average size of a powdery material, 50 percent by weight of the particles of this powdery material is larger or smaller than the average grain size of the respective material.

It is clear that the invention according to all its aspects preferably can be used with laminate floor panels or laminate furniture panels manufactured by means of the DPL technique mentioned in the introduction.

Further, it is clear that within the scope of the present invention according to all its aspects, by λlaminate' any kind of laminate is intended. Herein, this may relate, for example, to DPL as well as to HPL. Thus, a laminate top layer, which is present as a coating on said panels, floor panels or furniture panels, may comprise, independent of the application of the coated panel, any number of carrier sheets provided with resin. In a DPL top layer, this number even may be restricted to a single carrier sheet, which then preferably has a decor obtained by coloring or printing the respective carrier sheet.

It is noted that it is evident to those skilled in the art that there, where a printed decor or a print is mentioned, the invention according to all of its aspects may as well be applied for coated panels, which, instead of such decor or print, comprise a coloration, for example, in the form of at least one colored carrier sheet.

Further, it is evident to those skilled in the art that there, where material sheets or carrier sheets soaked in resin are mentioned, it suffices that such sheet is provided with resin. Also, it is clear that there, where hard particles that are or have been applied in the top layer at a location where, in the final panel, they are situated above the printed decor or coloration, however, are situated below said nano-particles or micro- particles applied by means of a suspension, it is intended that preferably at least the majority of these hard particles is situated below the majority of said nano-particles or micro-particles applied by means of a suspension.

The present invention is in no way limited to the forms of embodiment described as an example and represented in the figures, on the contrary may such methods and coated panels be realized according to various variants without exceeding the scope of the invention.

Claims

Claims.
1.- Method for manufacturing coated panels of the type having a top layer (1) , which comprises at least one carrier sheet (3) soaked in resin (2) and a printed decor (6) or a coloration, wherein hard nano-particles
(9) are incorporated into the top layer (1), which are situated above said printed decor (6) or coloration, wherein the method comprises at least the step of forming a carrier sheet (3) , which is provided with a resin coating, such that this at least partially resin- treated or resin-pre-treated carrier sheet (3) has an amount of resin (2) at least at the side intended to form the upper side (7) thereof, characterized in that the method also comprises the step of providing a suspension, which comprises at least a portion of said hard nano-particles (9), at the upper side (7) of said already resin-pre-treated carrier sheet (3) .
2.- Method according to claim 1, characterized in that for the nano-particles (9) ceramic particles are used, preferably ceramic particles chosen from the group of aluminum oxide (A1203) , silicon carbide (SiC) , titanium oxide (TiO2), boron carbide (B4C) , tungsten carbide (WC) and silicon dioxide (SiO2) .
3.- Method according to claim 1 or 2, characterized in that for the suspension (8) use is made of a suspension containing, apart from said nano-particles (9) , at least resin (2) and water.
4.- Method according to claim 3, characterized in that for the suspension (8), use is made of a mixture of solids dissolved in water, wherein this mixture comprises at least 50 percent by weight nano-particles (9) and still better at least 70 percent by weight nano- particles (9) .
5.- Method according to claim 4, characterized in that said mixture comprises at least 10 percent by weight of solid resin (2) .
6.- Method according to any of the claims 4 or 5, characterized in that said suspension (8) consists for at least 30% of said mixture of solids.
7.- Method according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that the step of forming the resin-pre- treated carrier sheet (3) consists at least of the metered application of resin (2) .
8.- Method according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that during the manufacture of the panel also hard particles (14) are provided in the top layer (1) at a location where they are situated in the final panel above the printed decor (6) or coloration, however, below said nano-particles (9) applied by means of a suspension.
9.- Method according to claim 8, characterized in that the hard particles (14) situated beneath the nano- particles (9) applied by means of a suspension (8) have a larger average size than these nano-particles (9), preferably with an average size between 20 and 200 micrometers and still better between 60 and 160 micrometers .
10.- Method according to claim 8 or 9, characterized in that the hard particles situated below the nano- particles (9) applied by means of a suspension (8), are situated in a resin layer.
11.- Method according to any of the claims 8 to 10, characterized in that the hard particles (14) situated in the final panel below said nano-particles (9) are applied in a separate step.
12.- Method according to claim 11, characterized in that said carrier sheet (3) relates to a so-called overlay
(4) and that said hard particles (14) situated in the final panel below said nano-particles (9) are applied on that side of the carrier sheet (3) that is intended to form the underside thereof.
13.- Method according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that said carrier sheet (3) relates to a so-called overlay (4), which substantially consists of alpha cellulose and has a weight between 10 and 40 gram/m2 and still better between 20 and 25 gram/m2.
14.- Method according to claim 12, characterized in that said resin-pre-treated carrier sheet (3) in dry condition has a weight of 100 to 180 gram/m2 and still better of 125 to 155 gram/m2.
15.- Method according to any of the claims 1 to 11, characterized in that said carrier sheet (3) has a print or coloration forming said printed decor (6) or coloration, wherein this carrier sheet (3) preferably is a paper sheet having a weight between 55 and 100 gram/m2 and still better between 70 and 90 gram/m2.
16.- Method according to claim 15, characterized in that said resin-pre-treated carrier sheet (3) in dry condition has a weight of 120 to 200 gram/m2 and still better of 130 to 170 gram/m2.
17.- Method according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that the resin-pre-treated carrier sheet (3), before said suspension (8) is applied, is dried to a residual moisture content of maximum 20% and still better of maximum 15%.
18.- Method according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that the carrier sheet (3) , after the suspension (8) has been applied, is dried to a residual moisture content of maximum 10% and still better of maximum 7%.
19.- Method according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that said suspension (8) with which said nano-particles (9) are applied, also contains a dispersing agent maintaining said nano-particles in suspension.
20.- Method according to any of the claims 1 to 14, characterized in that said carrier sheet (3) relates to a so-called overlay (4), wherein said carrier sheet (3) substantially consists of an alpha cellulose paper into which, during the production of the paper, hard particles (14), such as aluminum oxide and/or glass fibers, are integrated.
21.- Method according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that for the application of said suspension (8) comprising said nano-particles (9), use is made of at least one of the following possibilities: a metering device; a spreading device at least by means of a knife; - an application device with at least a wire doctor roll and/or raster roll; - an application device with at least a so-called air knife; an application device by means of rolls and knives .
22.- Method according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that the step of applying said suspension comprising the nano-particles (9) is performed in an application device which is in line with a device applied during said step of forming the resin- pre-treated carrier sheet (3) , and that said application device, seen in flow direction of the carrier sheet (3), preferably is situated after a drying station or oven.
23.- Method according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that when performing the method at least two ovens are used and that an application device is situated between these ovens, by which at least a portion and preferably the entire aforementioned suspension (8) with nano-particles (9) is applied.
24.- Method according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that for the nano-particles (9) particles are used with an average size between 20 and 700 nanometers, and still better between 50 and 200 nanometers .
25.- Method according to any of the claims 1 to 23, characterized in that instead of nano-particles, use is made of micro-particles with an average grain size of less than 30 micrometers and preferably larger than 5 micrometers, wherein said suspension then, instead of a portion of the nano-particles, comprises at least a portion of the micro-particles.
26.- Method according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that said suspension is substantially free of cellulose.
27.- Coated panel, characterized in that it is obtained or may be obtained by applying a method according to any of the claims 1 to 26, wherein this coated panel preferably relates to a floor panel or a furniture panel.
28.- Coated panel of the type which comprises a top layer (1) comprising one or more carrier sheets (3) soaked in resin (2) and a printed decor (6) or coloration, characterized in that the portion of the top layer (1) extending above the carrier sheet (3) situated at the top closest to the upper side of the panel has at least two resin layers, amongst which, on the one hand, a first resin layer comprising, apart from resin, at least one effective ingredient, and, on the other hand, a second resin layer situated between the carrier sheet and said first resin layer, and that the second resin layer differs from said first resin layer at least in that it does not comprise said effective ingredient in a similar function or does comprise it in a lower concentration .
29.- Coated panel according to claim 28, characterized in that the thickness of said first resin layer is smaller than two thirds and still better is smaller than one-half of the thickness of said second resin layer.
30.- Coated panel according to claim 28 or 29, characterized in that said first resin layer is applied separately on said carrier sheet (3) , whereas this carrier sheet already was provided at least with said second resin layer.
31.- Coated panel according to any of the claims 28 to 31, characterized in that said first resin layer has a thickness of less than 30 micrometers and preferably of less than 10 micrometers.
32.- Coated panel according to claim 31, characterized in that said first resin layer has a thickness between 0,5 and 5 micrometers.
33.- Coated panel according to any of the claims 28 to
32, characterized in that said first resin layer forms the surface of the top layer.
34.- Coated panel according to any of the claims 28 to
33, characterized in that said carrier sheet (3) relates to a paper sheet with a weight between 10 and 40 gram/m2, and still better between 20 and 25 gram/m2.
35.- Coated panel according to any of the claims 28 to
34, characterized in that said carrier sheet (3) has a print or coloration forming said printed decor or said coloration, and that this carrier sheet has a weight between 55 and 100 gram/m2 and still better between 70 and 90 gram/m2.
36.- Coated panel according to any of the claims 28 to 35, characterized in that the concentration of the effective ingredient in said second resin layer is maximum one-half, preferably maximum one tenth of the concentration of this ingredient in said first resin layer, and that still better the concentration of the effective ingredient in said second resin layer is zero or quasi zero.
37.- Coated panel according to any of the claims 28 to 36, characterized in that said effective ingredient is formed by hard particles (9-14) .
38.- Coated panel according to claim 37, characterized in that said first resin layer has at least one and preferably a combination of two or more of the following characteristics : - the characteristic that in the first resin layer micro-particles are applied as hard particles, with an average size of less than 30 micrometers and preferably larger than 5 micrometers, and still better between 5 and 20 micrometers; - the characteristic that in the first resin layer nano-particles (9) are applied as hard particles; the characteristic that in the first resin layer nano-particles (9) are applied as hard particles, with an average size between 20 and
700 nanometers, and still better between 50 and
200 nanometers; the characteristic that in the first resin layer particles are applied as hard particles (9-14) chosen from the group of aluminum oxide, silicon carbide, titanium dioxide, boron carbide, tungsten carbide, silicon dioxide; the characteristic that in the first resin layer glass spheres are applied as hard particles; - the characteristic that the first resin layer consists for at least 50 percent by weight and still better for at least 80 percent by weight of said hard particles (9-14); the characteristic that the first resin layer consists of maximum 50 percent by weight of resin (2) and still better of maximum 20 percent by weight resin.
39.- Coated panel according to claim 37 or 38, characterized in that said second resin layer has at least one and preferably a combination of two or more of the following characteristics: the characteristic that the second resin layer consists for less than 50 percent by weight and still better for less than 20 percent by weight of hard particles (9-14); the characteristic that the second resin layer comprises no or almost no hard particles (9-14); the characteristic that the second resin layer consists of at least 50 percent by weight resin
(2) and still better of at least 80 percent by weight resin; the characteristic that the second resin layer consists exclusively or almost exclusively of resin (2) .
40.- Coated panel according to any of the claims 37 to 39, characterized in that the panel also has at least a third resin layer, which is present beneath said carrier sheet (3) and which comprises hard particles (14), wherein the average size of the hard particles (14) in the third resin layer is larger than the average size of the hard particles (9) in said first resin layer.
41.- Coated panel according to claim 40, characterized in that in the third resin layer hard particles (14) are applied with an average size between 20 and 200 micrometers and still better between 60 and 160 micrometers .
42.- Coated panel according to any of the claims 28 to 36, characterized in that said effective ingredi-ent is formed by soft particles, such as particles on the basis of polyurethane, preferably spherical particles.
43.- Coated panel according to any of the claims 28 to 36, characterized in that said effective ingredient is fiber-shaped, such as effective ingredients in the form of glass fibers and/or cellulose fibers.
44.- Coated panel according to any of the claims 28 to 36, characterized in that said ingredient has a dirt- repellent effect.
45.- Coated panel according to claim 44, characterized in that said effective ingredient comprises a fluorine- carbon compound, preferably a polymerized fluorine- carbon compound.
46.- Coated panel according to any of the claims 28 to 45, characterized in that the carrier sheet, the first and the second resin layer extend horizontally one on top of the other in the top layer, wherein the second resin layer directly borders the first resin layer and the carrier sheet (3) .
47.- Coated panel of the type comprising a top layer (1) , which comprises at least one carrier sheet (3) soaked in resin and a printed decor (6) or a coloration, characterized in that the top layer (1) comprises at least one effective ingredient, which is situated on top of the printed decor (6) and is present in the form of flat or oblong particles.
48.- Coated panel according to claim 47, characterized in that said effective ingredient is chosen from the list of the following three possibilities: flat hard particles, such as flat corundum particles; - cellulose fibers; glass fibers.
49.- Coated panel according to claim 47 or 48, characterized in that said effective ingredient is present in the top layer in such a manner that the panel also shows the characteristics of any of the claims 28 to 36.
50.- Coated panel of the type having a top layer (1) , which comprises at least on carrier sheet (3) soaked in resin (2) and a printed decor (6) or a coloration, characterized in that the carrier sheet (3) as such comprises glass fiber.
51.- Coated panel according to claim 50, characterized in that the carrier sheet (3) substantially comprises alpha cellulose paper into which during the production of the paper glass fibers have been integrated.
52.- Coated panel according to claim 50 or 51, characterized in that this panel also shows the characteristics of any of the claims 28 to 48.
53.- Coated panel of the type having a top layer (1), which comprises at least one carrier sheet (3) soaked in resin (2) and a printed decor (6) or a coloration, wherein the top layer (1) comprises aluminum oxide particles (9-14) situated at least partially above the printed decor (6), characterized in that the aluminum oxide particles (9-14) are silanised with an amino silane.
54.- Coated panel according to claim 53, characterized in that this panel also shows the characteristics of any of the claims 28 to 51.
55.- Coated panel according to any of the claims 28 to 54, characterized in that the panel relates to a floor panel or a furniture panel.
56.- Coated panel according to claim 55, characterized in that said top layer is of the DPL type or the HPL type.
57.- Method for applying a substance on a material sheet, wherein the substance (16) is transferred from a reservoir (17) onto the material sheet (3) by bringing the material sheet (3) , whether or not directly, with at least one side (20) thereof into contact with the respective substance (16), characterized in that said reservoir (17) has at least one outlet opening (18), wherein at this outlet opening (18) a surface (19) of said substance (16) is formed and said side (20) of the material sheet (3) is guided over this surface (19) , wherein at least an amount of said substance (16) is transferred onto said side (20) of the material sheet
(3) and wherein the substance (16) comprises at least hard particles (9-14).
58.- Method according to claim 57, characterized in that said substance (16) comprises at least one liquid component .
59.- Method according to claim 57 or 58, characterized in that said substance (16) relates to a dispersion of said hard particles (9-14) .
60.- Method according to any of the claims 57 to 59, characterized in that said substance (16) comprises at least resin (2) .
61.- Method according to any of the claims 57 to 60, characterized in that said substance (16) is applied in a metered manner.
62.- Method according to claim 61, characterized in that the application, as aforementioned, in a metered manner is performed at least in that said transfer is performed in a metered manner.
63.- Method according to claim 61 or 62, characterized in that the application, as aforementioned, in a metered manner is performed at least in that, after said transfer, surplus substance (16) is removed or a possible deficit of said substance (16) is additionally applied in any manner.
64.- Method according to any of the claims 57 to 63, characterized in that said material sheet (3) concerns a paper sheet.
65.- Method according to the claims 57 to 64, characterized in that said material sheet (3) is intended for being used in the top layer (1) of a coated panel, wherein said flat side (20) then preferably is directed towards the top side or the surface (15) of the respective coated panel.
66.- Method according to claim 65, characterized in that said material sheet (3) concerns a so-called overlay.
67.- Method according to claim 65, characterized in that said material sheet (3) concerns a so-called decor layer.
68.- Method according to any of the claims 57 to 67, characterized in that said material sheet (3) , before being guided over the respective surface (19), is provided with the same or another substance, preferably by impregnating the material sheet (3) with the respective substance or possibly with one or more liquid ingredients thereof.
69.- Material sheet, characterized in that it is obtained by applying a method according to any of the claims 57 to 68.
70.- Coated panel of the type having a top layer, characterized in that said top layer (1) comprises a material sheet or carrier sheet (3) with the characteristics of claim 69.
71.- Coated panel according to claim 70, characterized in that it shows the characteristics of any of the claims 27 to 56.
PCT/IB2007/001493 2006-06-13 2007-05-25 Method for manufacturing coated panels and coated panel WO2007144718A2 (en)

Priority Applications (4)

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BE200600325A BE1017168A5 (en) 2006-06-13 2006-06-13 Method for manufacturing floor panels or floor panel.
US87841607P true 2007-01-04 2007-01-04
US60/878,416 2007-01-04

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