Dr Raymond Roberts
Consultant physicist

Dr Raymond Roberts
Consultant physicist

Optimizing the manufacture of particleboard, MDF and low pressure melamine panels.

My area of expertise is the blending of particleboard flake through the use of physics, surface chemistry and the optimisation of the settings of blender paddles, horns and outfeed flap pressures. This leads to the maximisation of resin spread as well as the minimisation of resin use while maintaining or improving the physical properties of the panel. Using these techniques I have also solved the age old problem of chipout in laminated particleboard resulting in poor machinability.

By using the physics of fluid flow as demonstrated by my knowledge of liquid penetration into paper,

https://digitalcollections.anu.edu.au/handle/1885/49373

I can optimise the impregnation of resins into decor paper in laminated wood panels manufacture. This is achieved by manipulating the surface chemistry of the resin and also by optimising the structure of paper. For full details of the physics of paper structure and surface energy considerations please refer to my PhD thesis .

These techniques are now being used to optimise the spread of resins onto MDF fibre resulting in significant reductions in resin loading with no effect on properties.

I have been involved in the panels industry in senior technical and production management roles for over twenty years. To gain a better understanding of the impregnation of resins into paper I undertook high level research resulting in the attainment of my PhD at the Research School of Physical Sciences and Engineering, Australian National University. This resulted in solving the physics of fluid flow in paper a topic that had been studied (and up till then not solved) since 1917.

As a result I have developed a detailed knowledge of wetting of difficult to wet surfaces such as particleboard flake, MDF fibre and decor paper and as such can optimise board manufacturing processes with a level of understanding that is rarely found given my operational experience and my knowledge of the physics of the processes.

If you would like to find out more about how I can improve and optimise your processes please contact me.