History of Valchromat®
Valchromat was created by the research department of Valbopan as a result of a thorough and consistent research based on the need to improve and develop new and existing wood related products. It was created because of a gap in the market place, which called for a product combining color and other specific features lacking in existing products.
Valchromat® was first introduced in Paris during the 1998 Approfal Fair, winning Valbopan’s technical staff both the technological innovation prize and the display prize. Since then this product has undergone different industrial tests in order to achieve its stage of maturity. Tests in furniture applications were carried out during this period in co-operation with technicians, architects and designers to appraise its benefits for a variety of uses. Finally during the third quarter of 1999 Valchromat® came into the market through distribution channels in France, Switzerland and Belgium.
Evolution of MDF (Medium Density Fiber Board)
Over the last 30 years MDF has never really been completely accepted by specialists as an adequate product for different finishes and decorative purposes. Valchromat® has broken this taboo by introducing a new aesthetic concept of its own. Therefore not only do its chemical and physical – mechanical characteristics comply with MDF specifications, but also its standards that guarantee limitless decorative applications.
Valchromat® is at least 30% stronger and more stable/resistant than standard MDF board. It is completely moisture resistant, provided the correct finish is applied. Valchromat® increases the life span of tools used in its manufacturing due to a lubricant agent in its composition.
From the very beginning a rigorous selection of raw material is carried out. Wood, pigments and glues are carefully selected. Valchromat® is made exclusively of pine wood. The glue is exclusively developed for Valchromat® in association with a resin manufacturer. It is mainly made of a synthetic resin formed by melamine urea-formaldehyde. Valchromat is certified E1 (Low on formaldehyde). Exhaustive research was carried out in order to obtain color stability, minimum toxicity whilst keeping in mind ecological factors. Valchromat® is therefore entirely made up from organic pigments like those used in the children’s textile industry, and thoroughly complies with the strict Eco-Tex regulations.
The wood is peeled from the bark and sent into a chopper to be torn into small chips. The chips are then run through a very powerful magnet (this removes about 99% of all metal) followed by a washing stage which removes 80-90% of all the sand – this reduces the wear and tear of tools when cutting or machining.
Once the chips have been sorted to similar sizes, they are cooked with steam (pressure and temperature). The chips are now soft but the fibers still need to be isolated by de-fibration (two gigantic textured discs spine against each other to isolate the fibers). Pigments are prepared in-house, using an electronic supervising system which has been specifically developed for the manufacturing of Valchromat® and which rigorously controls the mix of all chemical products involved in the making of the glue.
When the mixture of colored fiber and glue dries, the Valchromat® is pressed in a large dimension monoplate press, forming large sized sheets. This press stage ensures that Valchromat® has a better density profile thus allowing more stability and better finishing properties.
Valchromat® color is obtained by adding organic pigments to wood fiber providing a thoroughly uniform colored piece of wood. It is equally resistant to daylight and artificial light. Color quality control is explained below.
After a 48 hour period sheets are calibrated at a homogenous thickness (0.1mm or 0.2mm), and mechanically polished. At this stage each sheet’s color is subject to a spectrophotometric control and classified according to the variation allowed for each color.
For color control, spectrophotometric technology allied to data color’s software is used, as it is widely accepted by both the paint and textile industries. Its regulation complies with CIE lab norms. For other testing Valchromat® then applies standard CEN tests designed for fiber panels. It was in this text that Valbopan together with manufacturing specialists, architects and designers set up the Valchromat® specifications designed to comply with EN (European) regulations. During the manufacturing process main features such as color, internal strength and humidity resistance are regularly tested (at least once an hour) to allow for any necessary adjustments. Once the manufacturing process is complete Valchromat® features are once again thoroughly tested.