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Is Your Design Great in Theory but Impossible in Practice? Think Again

  • October 16, 2017
  • | by Steve Cartier

Every designer knows that guiding an idea from being a burst of inspiration to being a product on the shelves is a grueling process. It requires countless trips to the drawing board, endless iterations, lots of setbacks, and at least a few crises of confidence.

The fact that product design is hard work is no revelation. But too often, designers arrive at a point of friction and mistake it as proof of a flawed concept. The design seems great in theory, but bringing it into the real world seems impossible in practice.

This is more likely an example of flawed perception rather than flawed design. With the right materials, the right support, and the right motivation, it’s possible to overcome the most complex design challenges. We know this is true because we’ve done it many times.

The Overlooked Asset

Hard plastics are often the go-to material for complex parts. But foam has many of the same capabilities without the same limitations. And with the right type of foam, designers are able to bridge the gap between their imagination and their engineers.

Our custom injection molded EVA foam meets more of designers’ demands. Issues related to form, aesthetics, environment, and user interface are irrelevant when our product is incorporated. And that is exactly because we offer such a broad and deep range of benefits, including:

Closed-Cell Foam Rubber Structure:

  • Self-skinned
  • Good chemical resistance
  • Water resistance and buoyancy
  • High tear and tensile strengths
  • Crack and peel resistance
  • Enhanced surface texture
  • Enhanced text and logo options
  • Excellent design capabilities, from complex geometry to undercuts
  • Aesthetically pleasing designs
  • Excellent cold weather applications
  • Custom color matching
  • Comfort and shock absorption
  • High resilience
  • Soundproofing
  • Good insulating properties

When design issues put a product in jeopardy, PopFoam is the accessible solution. It’s able to do what the alternatives can’t, often while adding advantages that are otherwise unavailable. When your next design hits a wall, we can find a way over, under, around, or through.

Putting Theory Into Practice

The One World Futbol was an ambitious project to create a durable, multipurpose soccer ball for refugee children. The inventor, Tim Jahnigen, had an admirable goal, a lot of ambition, and a number of solid design ideas. But when he approached the team at PopFoam, the idea was nowhere near functional.

First and foremost, it was not perfectly spherical, causing it to roll awkwardly. Air also struggled to vent out of the ball, giving it a lifeless feel during play. But the biggest design challenge involved the bond between the two halves of the finished ball. It was inadequate for the rough refugee camp terrain and led to the ball splitting in two with little effort. Until these design issues could be resolved, the One World Futbol would never be more than a failed prototype.

Tim approached PopFoam about the potential of injection molded foam and the expertise of our in-house designers. Each issue required a customized solution, but innovative design solutions are one of our strengths. We systematically found ways to incorporate PopFoam into the One World Futbol. Then, we devised a manufacturing process capable of ensuring the consistent quality of the finished product

The One World Futbol was not a bad idea. In fact, it was a great idea with a built-in social cause. But it was not a perfect design straight out of the gate. When the ball ran into issues related to practicality, utility, and functionality, PopFoam was ready with a suite of solutions. The quality of our product and the tenacity of our team carried the design across the finish line.

PopFoam: The Alternative to Injection Molded Plastics

Injection molded plastics are durable, versatile, and relatively inexpensive. But they also limit what designers can do and restrict the potential of finished products. In practice, the more ambitious designers get when working with plastics, the more expensive and unattainable their designs become.

PopFoam is just the opposite. It permits complex geometry without requiring complex tooling. It’s possible to create an extreme undercut or a floating core without relying on an involved assembly process. Sophisticated designs enter the world as finished products.

The solution to design issues is not to abandon the idea or make deep compromises. The solution is to work with materials that have fewer limitations and to work with a team that knows how to maximize the design potential of those materials. PopFoam is here to help you overcome the obstacles at every step in the process.

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