Engineered Wood Composites

Release Agents for Engineered Wood Composites

Industry Overview

Formaldehyde-based adhesives and continuous press systems revolutionized the engineered wood industry, but the basic principles of wood composites manufacturing have changed very little since 3,500 BC. Engineered wood products have been a staple building material since Ancient Mesopotamians glued cross-oriented wood veneers together to create what we now know as plywood. While the basic concept of adding adhesive to segments of wood is simple, regional variations in natural wood and proprietary additives have created a diverse range of engineered wood products with varying strengths and attributes. Recent governmental regulations and a shift toward tenacious polymeric adhesives (pMDIs) continue to create new challenges for engineered wood manufacturers.


McGee Industries has manufactured cost-effective release agents for the tenacious resins used in polyurethane molding for over fifty years. Leaning on our experience with thermosets and polyurethane, our team has created multiple release agents and platen sealers for wood applications using the same tacky adhesives that buildup on tooling. McLube offers release agents for engineered wood manufacturers that reduce rejection rates and buildup to ensure materials are not wasted and customers spend less time cleaning. Explore below for more information or contact McLube for specific product details and free samples.

Benefits of McLube Release Agents and Platen Sealers for Engineered Wood

Superior release from press plates and belts

Smooth surface finish

No transfer for a lighter board color

Extended tooling life with rust and corrosion protection

Release agents for pMDIs available with enhanced slip

No buildup on platen surfaces or tooling

Non-foaming, non-dusting, non-oily

Low coefficient of friction

Fully dilutable, heat-cure or air-cure options available in 1-G, 5-gallon pails, 55-gallon drums, 275-gallon totes


pMDI, PF, UF, MF, & poly vinyl acetate


All hard and soft woods, bamboo, vegetable fibers, coconut coir, other cellulosic products

Continuous press systems, daylight / multi-opening presses, compression molding

Formaldehyde Regulations and pMDIs

While formaldehyde is an essential ingredient of cellular metabolism in mammals, studies have linked prolonged inhalation of formaldehyde gases to cancer. Engineered wood composites have been found to emit potentially harmful amounts of formaldehyde gas in two ways: unreacted free formaldehyde and chemical decomposition of resin adhesives. When exorbitant amounts of formaldehyde are added to a process, the excess will not have any additive to bond with and may seep from the wood product over time. Cheap urea-formaldehyde (UF) adhesives are largely responsible for degraded resin emissions. Moisture degrades the weak UF molecules, resulting in potentially harmful formaldehyde emissions. McLube offers release agents and platen sealers designed for those manufacturers who use reduced-formaldehyde UF and melamine-formaldehyde adhesives.


Many oriented strand board (SB) and plywood manufacturers use phenol-formaldehyde (PF) because phenol is a much more effective additive. Phenol forms a water-resistant bond with formaldehyde that will not degrade in moist environments. PF resins have not been found to pose significant health risks due to formaldehyde emissions.


While PF is an excellent adhesive, the engineered wood industry has started to shift toward polyurethane binders like pMDI to achieve even greater water-resistance, strength, and process efficiency. pMDIs are also used extensively in the production of rigid polyurethane foams and insulators for refrigeration.


pMDIs outperform other resin adhesives, but they are notoriously difficult to release and cause buildup on tooling surfaces. McLube has manufactured several pMDI release agents and platen sealers with varying attributes to suit different wood processes.

Contact McLube for specific product information, pricing, and safety data sheets.

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