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Foam is foam, right? It would be easy to believe that one of type foam is all you need to build custom packaging solutions for industrial applications. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Packnet uses a large variety of foams, foam density and foam colors in its arsenal of cushioning solutions. Each type of foam has its own unique properties and applications. Using the wrong type of foam for an application can make a good packaging concept a total disaster.
In some applications, one needs a light weight but structurally rigid foam to act as a stand-alone holder. One example would be an end cap for a printer. Wire cut or molded Polystyrene is one possible solution.
Sometimes you need durable foam that can be used repeatedly as part of a reusable packaging container. There are a variety of foams in various densities that are rugged enough for repeated use. Cross linked foam or neoprene foam is usually a good choice. Likewise this foam is ideal for cleanroom solutions because it doesn’t shed or emit particulate.
Sometimes foams need to adhere well to wood, plastic or other types of materials. There is another class of foams of varying densities and “sponginess” that have good bonding characteristics.
Frequently we see applications for shipping ESD sensitive products where anti static or conductive coated foam is used.
We also use expandable liquid foam for one time packaging. This is commonly called foam in place as the liquid foam flows around the part and hardens to a form fitted cushion.
There are a several methods to cut or shape foam including molding, die cutting, waterjet cutting, cnc routing and hot wire cutting. The exact method depends on the characteristics of the foam and the shape and size required.
There is also a significant cost difference between the foam types, normally the higher physical and environmental requirements, the more expensive material needed. For more information please see our webpage for custom foam packaging solutions.