Like the plate, like the furniture
Wieland press plates set standards in the furniture industry
For decades Wieland produced press plates that were used to produce surfaces on various wood and plastic boards. The highest demands were made on the quality of the brass plates, which Wieland met by developing special processes.
A brochure from 1970 reminds us of a long forgotten but very successful branch of Wieland's business: the production of so-called press plates. They were used in the furniture industry, for example, to give laminates, hard fibre or plastic boards an aesthetically pleasing and resistant surface in a thermal pressing process. For decades, press plates from Wieland were also used in the production of kitchen worktops.
The brochure states that "the modern facilities of Wieland-Werke and the many years of experience in the fields of metallurgy and process engineering enable the production of press plates of unsurpassed quality". And the demands on the plates were high. They were made of absolutely homogeneous, hard-rolled brass and had a nickel and chrome-plated, highly polished surface for the pressing of high-gloss surfaces. A further quality, the matt surface, on the other hand, was realized with press plates that had a completely uniform grain size. The process for this was developed by Wieland in-house. The same applied to textured press plates which were mainly used to produce scratch and abrasion-resistant work surfaces.
All press plates had in common that they had to be rolled very carefully. The brochure states: "In addition to high hardness achieved by strong cold forming, attention must be paid to a uniform microstructure, close thickness tolerances and a flawless bright rolled surface".
The plates were polished on special machines developed in-house. The "experience of two generations … was necessary to achieve the generally recognised high gloss polishing, even for the largest plate formats".
At least 4,000 pressings were possible with the Wieland plates. A hard chromium coating significantly increased the service life – but somewhat at the expense of the high gloss quality.
That sustainability was already an issue 50 years ago is addresses in the brochure as follows: "Worn-out plates can be reconditioned. … After such processing the plates are as good as new again." In 1970, however, this had primarily economic aspects, as reconditioning cost only about half as much as buying a new press plate.
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Wieland strips and sheets
As a rule, a nickel layer was applied to the press plates in a galvanic process as a corrosion barrier and a chromium layer to increase the wear resistance.