When we discuss PopFoam with new clients, we like to sit down and get a feel for their expectations — starting with performance and durability requirements.
Oftentimes, we’re compared to other foam molding processes, including molded polyurethanes. Most molded PU designs are flexible polyurethane or reaction injection molded (RIM) polyurethane. Each has its benefits, to be sure, but both are open-cell foams that could ultimately absorb moisture. Flexible polyurethanes are designed for cheap foam objects such as Nerf footballs, while RIM polyurethanes offer increased durability but tend to be heavier.
PopFoam, on the other hand, is the material of choice for designers who need a lightweight, 100 percent closed-cell foam with great structural integrity and a tough outer skin.
A Superior Foam
The PopFoam production process is often referred to as EVA injection molded foam. Today, the vast majority of “EVA foam” is utilized in footwear; in fact, the EVA foam molding process took off, in part, due to the popularity of running shoes in the ’80s. While footwear companies primarily stick to using the material to craft the midsoles and outsoles of shoes, we create custom formulations and specialty compounds that allow us to produce a wide variety of products beyond footwear.
We partnered with the One World Play Project, for instance, to bring founder Tim Jahnigen’s design to life. He envisioned a ball that was not only indestructible, but also had a specific hardness, bounce, and reinflation. He hoped it would replace the makeshift balls kids in war zones and refugee camps made from trash and rags. When the ball withstood play from a lion at the Johannesburg Zoo, we knew it would be perfect for the kids.
PopFoam has also been utilized in the production of fitness rollers that require a specified hardness, rebound, and resistance to compression. Because they come in contact with skin, they must also be nontoxic. Luckily, our PopFoam NT product line certifies that the compound is free of lead, heavy metals, and phthalates. Other factories use primarily shoe compounds that lack the same certifications.
PopFoam serves a wide variety of functions, but it’s particularly suited for certain applications and environments:
Long-term solutions demand PopFoam because our manufacturing process, superior resins, and molding knowledge produce products that are flexible and soft but can last for decades.
Outdoor play can be particularly harsh on materials, but PopFoam is a UV-stable product. Unlike most molded foams, it won’t disintegrate or degrade when exposed to sunlight. We expect our product to last 10 times longer than molded polyurethane solutions.
Our material excels in wet environments because of the self-skinning nature of the closed-cell foam. Self-skinning means the surface is inherently sealed, so products won’t absorb moisture or bacteria.
Partnership Business Advantages: An Ideal Foam Solution
Partnering with PopFoam provides a few key business advantages:
1. Superior value:
When it comes to making a strategic alliance or choosing a manufacturing partner, it might be tempting to pick the cheapest option. However, doing so could seriously impact the quality of your end product — which will ultimately reflect on the overall quality of your brand. Our molding process offers a cost-effective solution that outperforms almost all other foam molding processes.
2. Production scalability:
The PopFoam molding process means product volume can be quickly ramped up from medium to high demand. Typically, molded polyurethane requires building entirely new production lines to achieve scale, but at PopFoam, we can add tooling and produce as many products as necessary.
3. Compatibility with undercuts:
It’s important to design with respect to the manufacturing process. Many designers spend countless hours trying to avoid undercuts, but because PopFoam parts literally “pop” out of the mold, cavities can be molded with relative ease. Difficult shapes that would give other manufacturers a headache can be produced easily, at a relatively low cost, with a high-quality finish and fit.
Many of the designs we produce at PopFoam simply couldn’t be produced by other factories with different molding processes. Besides the versatility of our material, partnership advantages are available to brands that work with us because we can cope with rapid increases in demand and produce solutions that last.