Not all custom foam solutions are scalable

centurycollege2Creating a custom foam packaging solution requires more than just understanding the dynamics of the product and transport, one must also consider the volume requirements.   Packnet often develops solutions for a onetime use application.   In this case liquid foam in place can be a very practical and robust solution.  Liquid foam in place is a great solution for the “one time” use, but it is not reusable and it does require special equipment and skill to use.  In most cases Packnet does the injection either at Packnet’s facility or at the client’s facility.

For packaging solutions that are not just a “onetime” use, then other foam solutions need to be considered.  In order to select the correct solution one needs to understand whether the solution is going to be reusable and volume usage.

There are a number of good foam solutions that would not be viable for reusable solutions.   Styrofoam inserts are good for a one way shipment, but not good for reuse.   Higher density neoprene and cross linked foams have excellent durability and do not shed; these may be a viable material choice for reusable packaging where particles are an issue.

Volume can affect the material choice and the fabrication method.   For low to medium volume applications, waterjet cutting is a great solution.  The cutting is accurate and clean and is fast enough to meet many of the typical volume requirements.

If volumes become high enough then other cutting methods may be more economical.  Die cutting is a viable solution for many types of foam and the tooling investment is relatively small. Although there may be applications that die cutting won’t work.  Another higher volume solution is custom molding, especially for material and configurations that can’t use waterjet or die cutting.   Custom molding requires a tooling investment.   The tooling cost depends on the material set and design.

In addition to volume and reuse requirements there are many other factors to consider when choosing material and fabrication method including color requirements, bonding requirements, ESD considerations, corrosion issues and others.   A Packnet technical representative can review your complete requirements and determine the best custom foam solution for your needs.  You can call us at 952-944-9214.  For more information on custom foam packaging please click here.