Manufacturing Automation – Polyurethane Metering
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Thermal Form Headliner

Custom Thermal Form Headliner Systems


The thermal forming headliner systems cover a variety of substrates. We have used different types of ovens and also hot plates, we have always led the industry in new and innovated processes. Hot plates are limited in the type of substrates that can be heated. They work with a low temperature substrate, (‘dry’ urethane and low heat resin types), but cannot reach the heats needed for many of the natural fiber, polypropylene, poly ster, PET, LFRT, etc. Industry names of substrates like “Azdel”, “Quadrant”, “Li&S”, and TRU

Cycle times of thermal forming lines will vary depending on the substrates and oven types. Konal has lines currently in the 42 seconds to 90 second ranges.


2 Different Thermal Forming Configurations


Konal has two main configurations of thermal forming lines. The one has the cover material and board coming in from the same end. The tool is then changed from the end (optional side change, but makes the line longer) and the other has the board coming in from the opposite side of the cover material with side tool change.

Both systems have an automatic substrate loader from one or two stacks. The stacks do not have to be precision set in place as there is a +/- 6” alignment on the load station. This keeps from having the boards restacked into a location fixture.

The boards are then moved into the oven using a pin chain and heated to temperature. The parts surfaces are monitored at all times which then tells the oven when it is at the proper temperature. Depending on the type of substrate and the cycle time required will determine if one or two ovens are required. The ovens can be of various types (medium wave, short wave, hot air, hot plate, etc.) this will all depend on the type of substrates are to be run and the versatility you will require. We also monitor the surface temperatures at all times to make sure that the substrate is heated properly for optimal forming.

The cover material can come on rolls (most economical) or pre cut on stacks. The rolled cover material can be on single roll or multiple rolls. We recommend two rolls which will allow you to either change colors on the fly or shift from an empty roll to the next one and replace the empty roll without stopping the machine. As the material is pulled, we also have an optional edge sensor to keep the material in the proper position on to the center line of the machine. On the rolled good the supplier marks the flaws with a black or reflective tape. A sensor reads the tape to say a flaw has come through. The material is pulled past the flaw, cut and dropped into a bin. The puller then starts pulling again. This can be accomplished with out interrupting the cycle time of the machine. Using the proper oven(s) the machine can be put into a stand by automatically while another flaw (if two are close together) of if there is some other problem without over heating the substrate(s) in the oven(s).

After the substrate is to the proper temperature and the press is open the parts are indexed. The formed part is moved out of the press and dropped onto an exit conveyor. The heated substrate and the cover material are both moved into the press at the same time. The press rapid closes with the last 1” in a controlled slow down. It is very important to get the heated substrate into the press and closed since there is a rapid heat loss when it comes out of the oven.

The formed part that is on the exit conveyor is then moved to the water jet station where it is partially loaded into the nest with a second conveyor. The operator does the final location and swipes a start button. The water jet robots then trim the part. When the robots are finished the operator unloads the offal and trimmed part. The water jet is now ready to accept the next part.

The part is then put into a rack or to a post assembly area and shipped to the assemble or sequencing plant.


Thermal form systems will require the following equipment:

100 ton press (or what the substrate may require)

Optional tool change system

Optional water conditioning units for the form tool (the tool is cooled to set the substrate)

0ne or two ovens or hot plates (depending on the substrate and future substrates to be run)

One or two substrate stack load stations

Substrate loader with suction cups and pin grippers (depending on the substrate one or both may be used)

Substrate centering station

Pin chain transfer (the transfer rails can be adjusted automatically for the board to be run and saved as a recipe)

Exit conveyor system

All control cabinets with PLC and needed hardware and software for operating the system

Guarding and operator protection as required by the plant and OSHA

Depending on the volume of you product this system can also have manual operations and upgraded at a later date.


Please contact us with any of your questions, we will arrange to have a salesman meet with you to discuss any of your questions or concerns and help to customize a system to the requirements needed for your product.