Foam fabrication services manufacture foam products from foam cores, foam plastic, cushioning foam, acoustic foam, polyester foam and polyurethane foam. They also fabricate products from polyethylene (PE) foam, cross-linked polyethylene foam, polystyrene foam, and expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam. Polyethylene is a closed-cell, expanded, extruded, flexible plastic foam that is used mainly as a protective packaging material because of its predictable shock absorbing qualities. The compression or firmness of PE foam is directly related to its density. Most polyethylene foams are available in densities ranging from 1.2 lbs. per cu. ft. to 6.0 lbs. per cu. ft. Cross-linked polyethylene foam is made by adding ingredients to standard polyethylene foam to produce a finer (smaller) celled product. Open-porosity foams are suitable for filtration applications. Closed-cell foams are useful for buoyancy and flotation applications. Rigid, reticular, syntactic, and flexible or soft foams are also available. Reticular foams have a very open structure and a matrix of thin material strands. Syntactic foams consist of rigid microspheres or glass micro-balloons that are held together by a plastic or resin matrix.
Foam fabrication services differ in terms of capabilities and perform many different processes. Contour cutting is a machining process that creates contours or pattern on the cutting surface. Die cutters and die cutting machines convert web or sheet materials into shapes. Foam felting is a cutting process in which thick, soft foam materials are compressed and cured in order to fabricate denser foam materials. Hot wire cutting uses a heated wire to produce smooth, straight cuts. It is used mainly with polystyrene foam. Routing machines have a revolving, high-speed vertical spindle and cutter for milling the surface or edges of foam materials. Cutting wheels and slitting equipment are used to fabricate fixed-width foam rolls or sheets. Thermal-forming, a popular method for producing foam sheets, heats bulk foam materials to produce machinable shapes. Abrasive jet machining directs a jet of water and abrasive material at the foam to be machined. Some foam fabrication services use heat and pressure to form permanent impressions or seams. Others perform molding, gluing, or foam welding processes. Companies that specialize in finished product assembly are also available.
Foam fabrication services are located across the United States and around the world. They provide many specialized products. Architectural foam is designed for structural applications such as constructing composite foam-cored laminates, column bearing blocks, sandwich panels and other structures. Acoustic foam is used to form a barrier between components and sources of noise or vibration. Baffling foam or safety foam is used to reduce the surge and slosh of fuel or other volatile liquids. Sealing foam or gasketing foam conforms to surface contours and prevents the leakage of fluids or the ingress of contaminants. Some foam fabrication services offer products that are suitable for marine, medical, military, aerospace, packing, or packaging applications. Others fabricate foam products for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Foams that are designed for tooling, modeling, foundry or mold pattern fabrication have a fine structure, good strength, hydrostatic pressure resistance, and high machinability. Foams that provide foams with a sponge-like action are used to sick up or absorb water ink, or other liquids. Foams for other, specialized applications are also available from foam fabrication services.