Also known as Thermoplastic Furniture Surfaces, 3-D laminates are available in solid color, metallic and printed designs, and can be specified in a variety of surface textures, including realistic woodgrain ticking and high-gloss. 3-D laminates with enhanced wear and chemical resistant properties are available from several suppliers.
Definition: 3-D laminates are formable overlays created from PVC or polyethylene polymers. They are unique in that they can be pressed to panels with 3-D details machined into their faces (hence the name!), as well as unconventionally shaped panels and panel edges. Their ability to “self edge” – wrap seamlessly around the edges and interior cut-outs of a panel – reduces processing steps and helps seal the panel core from moisture and bacteria. This ability also helps create “soft” edges that mimic shaped solid wood or stone.
3-D laminates are often used on panels with a TFM back in matching designs. There are many components suppliers that specialize in fabricating vinyl parts to order.
Applications: Their use has grown in recent years as the office furniture industry has embraced nonstandard and organic shapes for worktops, and are increasingly being specified for store fixtures and POP displays. They are also commonly found in RTA furniture, particularly where the design calls for soft edges and unusual shaped components, and on kitchen cabinet doors and drawers in place of lacquer finishes.
Shown: 3-D laminate from SSI. Fabrication by JB Cutting. Photo: Kenn Busch