Alto Kitchens:
Use and Maintenance


This steel is resistant to corrosion and several chemical agents; it must contain at least 12% chrome; 18/10 stainless steel means it is 18% di chrome and 10% nickel. Its hygienic nature means it is often used in the food sector (pans, sinks, worktops).

ACRYLIC (front panels and doors)
These doors consist of a chipboard support externally coated (visible part) with 1.4 mm thick gloss finish (>80 gloss) methacrylate (ABS+Pmma) and internally coated with 1.2 mm thick embossed methacrylate (polystyrene). Profiles are usually finished with gloss lacquered ABS edging. This material looks very similar to the gloss lacquered finish; it is non-toxic and durable, retaining all its original shine, and does not yellow with age. It is also resistant to ultraviolet rays and moisture. It is not resistant to acetone, ink or ethyl butyl acetate.

consists of apolypropylene (PP) decorative sheet for indoor use and does not contain halogens, plasticizers or formaldehyde.
It is suitable for coating wood-based surfaces and is used in the production of cabinet components. A thermosetting lacquer gives the sheet the required properties for these applications.
When working with different gluing systems, the sheet is faced on the back with a primer and gluing takes place using dispersion, hot-melt or solvent adhesives.

Silvery-white metal, flexible and very light, mainly used in the aeronautical industry. Used in both die-cast and drawn forms, it is painted or protected using anodizing processes to make the uppermost layers scratch-resistant and corrosion-resistant.

An acronym that stands for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, a high-resistance synthetic resin-based polymer used to make packaging, television set casing, toys, etc.

Central panel of a door, generally made using veneered or coated chipboard.

Foil impregnated with melamine resins; it is available in various colors or wood grain effects. It is used to coat chipboard panels which are then known as "melamine faced panels".

Adhesives which are applied when melted, then harden as they cool, while the two glued elements are being pressed together. They also offer reversibility as, if reheated to temperatures between approximately 60° and 100°C, they soften and temporarily lose their adhesive properties.

Resins which exploit their adhesive properties as a result of chemical reactions, activated in part by the heat. The most important adhesives in the furnishing industry are made using a combination of formaldehyde and other basic resins. As they undergo an instant chemical reaction, they are irreversible and can therefore withstand high temperatures. The polyurethane adhesives used by LUBE to glue the casing edges are of this type.

Formaldehyde is a substance used in the production of many adhesives and resins, which are in turn used in the processing of wood panels. Panels produced in this way may release formaldehyde molecules into the surrounding environment, in gas form. This emission, considered as damaging to human health, is regulated by specific standards and legislation in many countries around the world.
In Europe (in Italy the Ministerial Decree 10/10/2008 is applied), for example, the current limit is set at 0.1 ppm and the corresponding panel is categorized as E1.
The definition of E1 comes from a decree published in Germany in 1986, to regulate formaldehyde emissions: "... It is strictly prohibited to release wood-based products onto the market if they originally had an air balance concentration exceeding the value set out by law, i.e. 0.1 ppm (0.124 mg/mc)". From that moment on, this became the standard for all panel manufacturers; however, it should be remembered that until the Ministerial Decree dated 10/10/2008 was passed, there were no legal constraints regulating wood panel formaldehyde emission in Italy.
In Japan there is a classification of emissions which depends on the intended application of the product and panels are therefore classified from F* to F**** in accordance with standard JIS; F**** is currently the most stringent standard in the world governing formaldehyde emission (< 0.3 mg/liter, which is 4 times less than the E1 panel and incorrectly called E0).
In California, the American state which has always been most demonstrative in terms of health and the environment, a law has established new emission limits for all wood-based products. In particular, emission levels will have to be under 0.18 ppm (parts per million) during an initial phase (2009) and under 0.09 ppm in the second phase (2011), when it will become one of the most stringent standards in the world. The reference method used to measure values is described in the American standard ASTM E 1333-96 (2002) (large chamber method). Unfortunately, there is currently no official correlation between the values obtained using the ASTM method and those obtained using the method applied in Europe (EN 717-1). The relevant products will have to possess third party certification, issued by organisations authorized by the California Air Resource Board (CARB certification).
All the above information concerns the standards used as legal references in various parts of the world; there is also a series of voluntary "commercial" marks and certifications (Note: these are not compulsory) distinguishing the panels which satisfy one or more of the above mentioned standards.
Of particular note is the internal protocol implemented by IKEA , which has established limits and regular checking processes - for all its products - that are very similar to those set out by the Californian standard.
In the same vein, accredited laboratories such as Catas and Cosmob have developed their own seals of approval (CQA for the former and Cosmob Qualitas Praemium Formaldeide for the latter), which also guarantee compliance with the most stringent Japanese and American standards.
Some panel producers have also developed their own brands around the issue of formaldehyde emission. For example, the Saviola Group has created the LEB panel for the worldwide market, which must therefore meet Japanese standards (F****) and gain American CARB ceritification; this means products and emission levels must undergo regular checks. The LEB panel also, therefore, holds CQA and Cosmob Qualitas Praemium Formaldeide certification.
LUBE has specified the use of class E1 materials only as a compulsory minimum requirement for some time; it also checks panel emissions through regular sample testing, in order to check emission limits. Moreover, it has decided to use only material with very low formaldehyde emission to make the components used to construct its kitchen structures: these comply with the F**** standard, as defined by the JIS regulation. This standard is certified by the Japanese government, which issues the most stringent regulations in terms of environmental protection. (< 0.3 mg/litre, which is 4 times less than the E1 panel).

This is the gloss value of a painted surface, recorded using the gloss meter instrument:
- matte: up to 10 gloss
- semi-matte: from 11 to 35 gloss
- semi-gloss: from 36 to 60 gloss
- gloss: from 61 to 80 gloss
- high-gloss: over 80 gloss.

In the furnishing industry, "unfinished" chipboard, MDF or plywood panels are said to be water-repellent if, for a specified period established in accordance with applicable standards, they resist swelling caused by water seeping into the wood fibers. This resistance is not absolute; there is a scale of values in which the maximum value corresponds to the definition of a water-repellent panel. Of course, other factors contribute to the water-resistant nature of the panel, such as the type of facing used and the adhesive/sealant applied to the edges.

Also known by its commercial name, "formica", it consists of phenolic resins (base) and melamine resins (decorative foil) glued together in order to form sheets which are approximately 0.6 mm thick. It is used to coat wooden panels (laminate panels).
Laminate with a base resin thickness over 1 mm is called stratified laminate; thanks to its mechanical features, this can be used as a self-supporting panel without requiring application to wooden panels.

Application of a laminate surface to an uneven substratum (in general this is curved or profiled), as in the case of machined panel edging.

HPL stands for High Pressure Laminates; laminates of this type comply with standard EN 438/1 and offer exceptional strength, as well as resistance to scratches, wear, knocks, chemical agents and fire. They are mainly used for worktops.

MDF means medium density fiberboard and is made using branches and wood processing off cuts. It is environmentally friendly as its production does not require trees to be felled. It consists of wood fibers obtained through the use of steam and special grinders, held together with thermosetting adhesive. The fibers (very similar to cotton fibers), once pressed, give the panels good mechanical features, excellent dimensional stability and solidity around the edges, making them essential in the production of lacquered and PVC faced panels and, for large surfaces, where wood may experience flatness issues. However, they are heavy and usually offer little resistance to water.

Chipboard panel faced with sheets of foil which have been impregnated with melamine resins.

Technically defined as wood particle board, it is made using wood processing off cuts and remaining tree branches; it is therefore an environmentally-friendly product as it does not require any further tree felling. It consists of wood chips and particles which are pressed and glued together using thermosetting adhesives. It is usually used after being veneered, faced with melamine foil or PVC/laminate-coated to give the panel the desired aesthetic properties.
From a mechanical point of view, the chipboard panel offers excellent dimensional stability, making it essential for application over large surface areas to overcome the flatness issues presented by solid wood; it is also much lighter than an MDF panel. However, it also offers little resistance to moisture, especially in its unprocessed state. The materials normally used to coat it guarantee water resistance, depending on the type of coating and method used.

Five or more layers of wood with interlacing fibers, glued together using water and moisture-resistant adhesives.

Also called a "slice", this is a thin sheet of wood (approximately 0.6 mm thick) created by shearing tree trunks. It is used to coat the various wooden panels (MDF, chipboard, solid wood, etc.) which are then called veneered panels.

Coating an unfinished panel with various materials such as laminate, PVC, veneers, etc.

Polyvinyl chloride is one of the most commonly used plastic materials in the furnishing industry. It is used to coat both structural elements and doors alike. It is considered toxic, but in reality it is only dangerous during the manufacturing and disposal processes (if it is not burnt in specific incinerators it releases dioxins). It can be colored and can be used to imitate a wood grain effect. As it is a thermoplastic material, it is not particularly heat-resistant, melting at a temperature between 75° and 95°C.

A special printing method in which ink is passed through a silk fabric mesh (serigraphic screen) which has been clogged in the areas that do not require printing. When working with glass, a further high-temperature procedure can be applied to temper the serigraphy so that it melts into the glass and becomes permanent.

The thickness of the film of dry lacquer on the element is measured according to the amount of lacquer applied:
- open pore: up to 5 microns thick
- semi-open pore: from 6 to 20 microns thick
- semi-closed pore: from 21 to 60 microns thick
- closed pore: over 60 microns thick.

Solid support structure, generally rectangular, created by joining four or more strips together in a suitable manner. If the frame is rectangular, the vertical elements are called uprights and the horizontal elements are called crosspieces.

Highly light-resistant lacquer which offers the best protection against yellowing. It is mainly applied to light colored woods, where any yellowing of the lacquer would cause a particularly unpleasant alteration in color. It gives the wood a very natural appearance, as it can be applied very thinly without creating the effect of a transparent film placed over the panel of wood.

This is the most commonly used product in the woodworking sector as it is cheap and easy to apply. As it offers little resistance to light, it tends to become yellow and is therefore not suitable for application to light colored woods.

This is normally used to create thick layers of lacquer with excellent mechanical resistance (lacquered panels). As it is harder than acrylic or polyurethane lacquers, it is normally used on tabletops and other elements which are subjected to heavy wear. It can be polished (gloss lacquered) using systems with increasingly fine grains, until a visually striking mirror effect has been achieved.
Polyester lacquers also do not offer great resistance to light and are therefore not suitable for application to very light colored products which become yellow easily.

This is used for the new environmentally-friendly lacquering systems in which the solvent applied is water. This has helped to resolve some pressing environmental issues (bear in mind that, in some cases, up to 70% of the applied product evaporates as it is drying, in the form of polluting solvents). Water-based lacquers are still in their trial phase.

Hardened glass offering extra resistance to knocks as a result of the tempering process. This procedure consists of heating the glass to high temperatures (650°C) and then cooling it quickly using powerful jets of air.

An alloy consisting of extra-pure zinc, aluminium and magnesium; in addition to its fair chemical inertia, it also responds well to die-casting processes. In the furnishing sector it is primarily used to make knobs and handles.