A Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine can be used to cut solid grade laminate for use as worktops in laboratories.

CNC machining can be used to cut solid grade laminate to suit a wide range of specifications. Panel System’s tooling means that spaces for gas taps, sinks and other equipment can be cut to exact measurements to ensure the full project is fitted correctly.

The high investment required to fit out laboratories at any level means the materials used must be durable and withstand a huge amount of use and heavy wear and tear. Solid grade laminate has a huge number of qualities that make it perfect for use in both school and other laboratories.

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About This Guide

This guide will look at the benefits of using CNC machining to cut solid grade laminate and the benefits of the method and material for school laboratory fit-outs.

The Benefits of solid grade laminate for school laboratory worktops

Solid grade laminate has a number of properties that make it the most suitable for school laboratory worktops:

Chemical resistance – laboratory worktops are extremely vulnerable to chemical stains, especially in schools, so it’s important that the material is resistant to chemicals. Solid grade laminate surfaces have non-porous surfaces and can be easily cleaned. Chemicals can be wiped away without leaving a mark or ruining the appearance of the worktop.

Easy to clean – the closed surface composition of solid grade laminate makes it extremely easy to clean. The surface is resistant to non-abrasive cleaning solutions so is easy to clean and disinfect which is especially important in school settings in which huge numbers of children move between classrooms regularly.

Durable and longer lasting – solid grade laminate is produced with two decorative sides and a black core so no edging strips are required to cover the sides of the worktop. This makes the benches much more durable and able to withstand heavy wear and tear as well as maintaining the appearance of the material. The material can resist both moisture and scratches, so the surface will retain its aesthetic appeal throughout its lifetime.

Resistant to vandalism – solid grade laminate is often used in toilet cubicles, lockers and for laboratory worktops due to its extreme impact resistance. This is especially important in school where   stools are placed on benches in preparation for cleaning.

Antibacterial – many suppliers of solid grade laminate provide surfaces with antibacterial properties, which also prevent the growth of mildew and mould.

Design flexibility – the ability to CNC machine solid grade laminate means it’s extremely flexible in terms of design. Spaces can be cut out to fit around taps, sinks and other lab equipment, without compromising on the aesthetic or performance of the material.

Sustainability – the supply of sustainable materials is becoming more important to many schools and businesses so this is taken into consideration by Panel Systems when sourcing materials. Panel System’s solid grade laminate products are Forest Stewardship Council ® (FSC) ® certified which means the softwood used to make solid grade laminate is supplied by certified forests.

Meet guidelines for laboratory design – solid grade laminate is usually recommended by industry bodies who regulate the design of laboratories. Guidelines require worktops to be impervious and resistant to the most common laboratory solvents, reagents and disinfectants. Solid grade laminate and stainless steel are the most commonly used materials for laboratory worktops due to their resistance to chemicals.

Benefits of using Panel Systems as supplier of solid grade laminate

CAD and design facilities – when CNC machining solid grade laminate, it’s important the designs are accurate and this starts with the specification and CAD designs. With an in-house CAD design team, Panel Systems can work with you to ensure exact specifications are inputted into the CAD design, helping projects to run smoothly and preventing wasted material for lab worktops that do not fit.

Reliability of service – with direct access to material and CNC fabrication services under one roof, Panel Systems is able to guarantee a reliable service with delivery on time to ensure projects are completed within their specified timeline. With no need to outsource any part of the process, Panel Systems is in full control of the project timeline.

3 and 5 axis CNC machining – having both 3 and 5 axis facilities available, Panel Systems has greater ability to achieve even the most complex machining details which 3 axis facilities may not be able to handle.

Access to the latest technology – Panel Systems has access to the latest technology for both CAD designs and CNC machining which means materials are cut accurately to fit the specifications of each particular project.

Quality of machining – access to the latest tooling and machinery means that Panel System’s CNC machining service is of the highest possible quality. Poor, cheap or older tools can lead rough or jagged cuts which can be seen on the end result. Newer tooling provides a smooth, accurate finish.

ISO 9001 approved – Panel Systems is ISO 9001 approved which is a certification for the management of the business and its operations. High-quality business management means we’re able to handle large orders and provide customers with the confidence that we will be able to fulfil the order on time and to a high standard. The business is regularly audited in relation to the requirements needed for the qualification which means we regularly assess the management of the service we provide and how it can be continuously improved.

ISO 9001 qualifications are based on management principles such as a strong customer focus, motivation and implication of top management, the process approach and continual improvement. This allows Panel Systems to maintain an understanding of how statutory and regulatory requirements can impact customers.

Access to top suppliers of solid grade laminate – Panel Systems has relationships with all major suppliers of solid grade laminate so we have the right materials for every project. We understand that not every project is the same so we supply a range of products to meet this demand.

Introducing the Technology:

How is solid grade laminate produced?

Solid grade laminate is manufactured using layers of high-quality Kraft paper which are saturated with thermosetting phenolic resins. The layers of paper are then heated and put under high-pressure compression. Once completed, the layers of paper provide a high strength, durable and waterproof material with two decorative sides and a black core.

The method of manufacturing the material provides panels with extreme strength and impact resistance and which is highly durable. High pressure laminate is suited to applications in which technical performance is of the utmost importance.

Why is CNC machining the best method of cutting solid grade laminate?

Panel System’s CNC machines utilise the highest quality tooling for greater dimensional accuracy and smoother cuts. The CNC tolerance allows for accuracy up to +/- 0.1mm which means, when it comes to fitting the laboratory out, all fabricated tops can be installed accurately.

Comparison Table

BrandProperties
Trespa TopLab24 hours chemical resistant

Does not support bacterial growth

Scratch & wear resistant

Easy to clean

Quick installation

Excellent machinability

Suitable for contact with food

Impact resistant
Formica ChemtopResistant to acid, alkali and reagents

Easy to clean and maintain

Hygienic

Resistant to bacteria

Reparable surface

Resistant to impact

Resistant to scratching

Resistant to moisture and steam
Resistant to heat and cigarette burns

Extremely durable

Who can benefit from solid grade laminate?

Laboratory worktops

Schools are usually subject to tight budgets so choosing a material that will not need replacing for the next 10-20 years is of paramount importance. This also means selecting a material that will withstand heavy use, wear and tear and vandalism for this amount of time. The nature of solid grade laminate and the way it’s produced make it the best material for use in these applications.

Aside from schools, solid grade laminate is also used to create the laboratory work benches in universities and research & development laboratories. Solid grade laminate is highly resistance to water, chemicals and heat which means it’s suitable for any laboratory environment.

Laboratory fume cupboards

A thinner version of solid grade laminate can be used to line the inside of fume cupboards as it’s resistance to chemicals and heat make it one of the best materials. Solid grade laminate worktops are usually between 16-18mm thick and the lining for fume cupboards is 6mm.

Toilet cubicles

Solid grade laminate panels are used to create toilet cubicles and in washrooms across a wide range of sectors due to its resistance to water, sunlight, chemicals, heavy use and vandalism. The surface of the material can be easily cleaned and is impervious to bacteria and cleaning chemicals making it a durable material that will look its best throughout its lifetime.

Children’s playground furniture

Its ability to withstand wear and tear and the weather, solid grade laminate is commonly used to create children’s playground furniture and systems.

Outdoor furniture

Solid grade laminate is available in a wide range of colours and finishes so wood-effect laminate is often used to create outdoor furniture for table tops, bins and bench seating. Its waterproof, impact resistance and water resistance mean it can withstand the weather and provides a more cost-effective, longer-lasting solution than wooden furniture.

Hospitals

Due to its antibacterial properties and being easy to clean, solid grade laminate is used within hospital settings where high standards of hygiene must be maintained.

Facings/finishes/colours

All solid grade laminate is available in a wide range of colours and finishes which all depend on the supplier/manufacturer and their stock availability.

Each range of solid grade laminate is designed in line with compliance to rigorous codes and standards that are required by current laboratory and functional environments. They can offer:

  • 24 hours chemical resistance
  • Antibacterial
  • Scratch and wear resistance
  • Easy to clean
  • Quick installation
  • Excellent machinability
  • Suitability for contact with food
  • Impact resistance

Need More Help?

The Panel Systems staff have a wide range of knowledge and experience of a range of materials and industries, so we can deliver your material on time and to the correct specifications every time.

Further Resources