Unique Advantages of Closed Cell Foam Substrates for Thermoforming

ATLANTA, GA (September 10, 2013) — The unique benefits of cross-linked cellular foam materials for thermoforming applications in a variety of industries is the theme of the Sekisui Voltek’s exhibit at the 22nd annual SPE Thermoforming Conference®, September 9-12, 2013, at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel, Atlanta, GA. (Booth # 208)

“Cellular foams are particularly suitable for manufacturing thermoformed products for which weight reduction and the provision of a luxurious feel are important considerations. Other performance characteristics that make thermoformed foam components attractive to OEMs are inherent cushioning, moisture resistance, along with noise and vibration dampening properties. Because of these attributes, thermoformed cellular foams have been used increasingly in such automotive applications as dash panels, arm rests, and, more recently air conditioning duct components,” said Mitch Brock, Director of Transportation and General Industrial Markets for Sekisui Voltek.

“Today, the tremendous versatility of foam for meeting the automotive manufacturers’ most important design criteria are being recognized in many other industries for such applications as packaging for high-end goods such as electronics and medical devices; boat & sporting goods components as well as building and construction materials. Thermoformers who make foams part of their portfolio of materials will have an advantage in pursuing these emerging business opportunities,” he concluded.

Brock also detailed a number of advantages that foam materials present to the processor. Foams can be thermoformed on the same equipment they are currently using and can reduce material costs by as much as 80 percent vs. conventional films of similar thickness. They also process at much lower temperatures to reduce energy consumption and improve manufacturing throughputs. They are available in a wide range of formulations and composite constructions to provide the best possible fit for the end users’ requirements.

Sekisui Voltek manufactures two lines of polyolefin foam materials of particular interest to thermoformers:

Volara® is a closed-celled, irradiation cross-linked polyolefin foam offering aesthetic appeal as well as an outstanding range of performance characteristics. Its smooth surface, consistent density and uniform gauge offers superior physical properties. Volara foams are resistant to most chemicals and their low water absorption and vapor transmission rate make them a versatile, dependable solution for a wide range of applications.

Volextra® foams are composite materials manufactured via an extremely flexible extrusion coating process. Unique thermoformable foam materials with polyolefin-based coatings can be engineered to match specific design requirements in a range from 0.0015” to 0.055” thickness.