Defeat Design Dilemmas by Picking the Right Materials and the Best Partners

  • February 06, 2018
  • | by Steve Cartier

 

A great product represents a successful collaboration between a designer and a manufacturer. Both sides add something important, but it’s their joint efforts and shared investment that ultimately lead to a great product.

 

The manufacturer wears many hats, but one of the most important is educating designers about the performance and characteristics of key product materials, especially ones like injection molded EVA foam. The most common application for this material is footwear, but its practical applications are numerous. And when the material is PopFoam, they extend even further.

 

First and foremost, PopFoam is different from other common foams because it is based upon a reduced tooling size and literally “pops” out of the mold. As a result, we can mold complex geometry and offer products that are soft, tough, and waterproof. With this ability, we can possibly revise multipart assemblies to a single part. In practice, that leads to lower development costs, lower unit costs, better products, and shorter time to market.

 

We work closely with designers to help them understand what makes PopFoam both different and better. Then, we use our expertise to help designers integrate PopFoam in creative, confident ways. When you build a strong team and find a trusted supplier, collaboration with the right materials lead to the very best product possible.

 

What’s Wrong With Other Injection Molded Foam?

 

The accumulation of all those mechanical features and functions causes the tooling process to become complex and expensive very quickly, creating potential manufacturing and design dilemmas. The accumulation of all those mechanical features and functions causes the tooling process to become complex and expensive very quickly.

 

Our EVA-based injection molded foam is one of the few product materials on the market that can be produced using two-shot molding. Being able to combine two separate sections of foam into a single part makes every aspect of the design process simpler and allows for dual colors and densities. Products are easier to produce, and as a result, they perform better, last longer, and look more distinct.

 

A great example of this is our iPad covers. PopFoam relies on a standard open close tool integrated with a unique internal mandrel that creates a reverse draft and enables an extreme undercut. Due to this capability, our iPad covers have six sides of support to provide maximum protection. Achieving this same effect using plastic would mean molding two halves separately and mechanically reattaching them.

 

The PopFoam process also allows for solid surface objects to have a hollow cavity, like in a massage roller or ball, for example. As the mold opens, the part is supported from a mandrel and expands outward. It’s not possible to achieve this same effect with many other types of foam, and replicating it requires a lot of additional parts and assembly. PopFoam really tries to tackle these potential design dilemmas. As a product partner, we excel in ways that would be impossible otherwise.

 

An In-Depth Look at the PopFoam Process

 

There are a number of features of our foam that make it one of the only product foam materials on the market capable of tackling complex geometry, displaying vibrant colors, expressing superior physical properties, and highlighting surface detail.

 

Because PopFoam jumps out of the mold, it’s relatively easy to perform complex internal undercuts. The foam also expands out of the mold and then shrinks back down. By controlling the shrink, PopFoam can be molded to fit mating products or assemblies. The end result is more intricate shapes with less complexity.

 

PopFoam is created using a proprietary process. And it’s thanks to this process that we’ve expanded the applications of injection molded foams beyond the footwear industry and into markets such as automotive, consumer products, medical, and fitness.

 

Simply stated, PopFoam can do things that other foams can’t. As a result, designers who partner with us can do things that other designers can’t. When combined with our industry-leading, end-to-end support, that makes it easy to bring great products to life.

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