Why Product Developers Love EVA Foam

Oftentimes, finding the right material for your new innovative product can feel like half the battle. It’s difficult to know ahead of time how a specific material will perform in certain applications, especially if you’ve never worked with it before. To make things even more difficult, most designers focusing on product innovation are working within constraints created by a number of factors. 

Today, we’ll explore various aspects of product innovation and how EVA foam is a designer’s dream for creative product development.

What Is Product Innovation?

Product innovation involves developing new products or enhancing existing ones to address customer needs in a unique way. Companies cannot afford to remain stagnant in today’s fast-paced and competitive business environment. Product innovation is crucial for staying ahead of the curve and meeting ever-changing consumer demands.

Developing product ideas includes research, development, and creative thinking. Innovation is not only about creating something completely new; it’s also about refining existing products to make them better based on the needs and feedback of the target market.

Ultimately, product innovation drives growth, inspires consumers, and ensures a company’s longevity in an ever-evolving marketplace.

Questions Product Development Teams Ask

Product discovery is a crucial step in product development strategy. Teams should explore, define, and refine ideas to develop a solution focused on customer needs. Effective product discovery can help designers make informed decisions, prioritize features, and align the product with user needs and organizational goals. Here are some of the most common and important questions to explore to help narrow your product strategy.

  1. What problem are we trying to solve?
  2. How will the product solve that problem?
  3. What are the customer’s needs or pain points?
  4. How are we currently solving these needs or pain points?
  5. What existing solutions or competitors are in the market?
  6. How will we differentiate our product from competitors?

With marketing research and customer feedback in hand, the design team can now focus on concept development.  As a designer yourself, you’re probably all too familiar with these questions:

What’s the cost of the material for my application? This is often one of our biggest concerns when contemplating a new material for our custom design applications. After all, creating innovative products requires design and manufacturing be within a certain cost window in order to turn a profit. I’m not saying you should pick the cheapest material — not at all — but I am saying that you need to do a thorough cost analysis before making a final decision.

Can this material bring my vision to life? As designers, we begin a program with a vision of a problem we hope to solve. Choosing the right materials requires a lot of upfront research, especially if the design concept is highly unique. Reading specifications and consulting experts will help, but it’s hard to match the value of actually touching and experimenting with samples.

If my design is completely novel, how will my material choice perform? This might be the most difficult question to answer. In the end, a series of mockups followed by actual prototypes is the most accurate way to assess a potential material’s performance. Don’t underestimate the value of establishing a strategic alliance. Find a manufacturing partner that understands the importance of this process — your finished product will be better for it.

Popfoam works with designers to bring innovative product ideas to life. EVA-based injection molded foam has many valuable attributes for designers looking for fresh ideas and new materials to create innovative products.

New Innovative Products: The Future of Foam

The ability to mold a highly durable, flexible, and soft material into a variety of shapes and sizes gives designers the flexibility they need to bring their vision to life. From choosing colors and textures to selecting the right durometer for specific design challenges, PopFoam frees designers from the constraints they’re familiar with.

With PopFoam, wall thicknesses can generally reach up to .7 inches, and the walls can be varied for design flexibility. The material also allows for substantial undercuts without the need for slides or slide actions, which is quite liberating for those of us who are used to the requirements of injection-molded plastic parts.

I know all this from experience. When I first started designing the BackShield product, I ran into obstacles where materials were concerned.

Our goal was to create a durable, lightweight back support, but many pliable materials were too heavy, and wrapping them around our plastic substrate would have come with substantial tooling costs. Ultimately, we couldn’t have achieved the same level of performance and aesthetics — and at the same cost — with any material other than PopFoam’s EVA-based injection molded foam.

PopFoam’s guidance during the manufacturing of BackShield was also second to none. As designers, we know the combination of performance, appeal, and emotional connection we’re looking for between our users and products. It can be a long road to achieving this result, but working with a manufacturer that caters to this kind of design makes using its material much more appealing.

When designers are knowledgeable about the materials available to them and their particular strengths, it allows for the creation of new, innovative products that solve unique needs. In many cases, the durability and flexibility of foam, combined with its versatility, will allow it to excel in an enormous array of applications.

As you consider how to take your product to market, we encourage you to consider Popfoam EVA Molded foam. Since 1999, our company has worked with designers to bring successful products from concept to completion. Learn more about our process.