Foam Fabrication

Any stock case can be converted into a custom application with a foam interior. Foam is available in a variety of colors, densities, textures, and chemical formulations. Materials include Polyether and Polyester Urethane, Polyethylene, Cross Link foams, and Expanded Styrenes. The correct choice is made by considering the weight and fragility of the product as well as the positioning and cushioning requirements of the product. When fabricating a foam interior for a consumer product, flocked foam with rich color saturation is available. Source will work from your drawings or product to construct a custom foam insert. Our design team will determine the best type of foam to most effectively protect your product. A cutting die is created and inventoried at our plant so that you can repeat your case order in the future exactly as it was provided before.

Foam inserts can be easily prototyped and when it comes to production, inexpensive cutting dies produce the most complex shapes. Layers of foam are laminated and trimmed to properly fit any case for protection and presentation. The three fabricating processes are:

Fabricated: Multiple pieces of foam are laminated together to create square or rectangular shaped cavities. Source recommends at least 2” of foam around the perimeter of the case and 1”-3” between items depending upon their weight and size.

Die Cut Foam: This custom interior is cut from a steel rule die formed to your exact specifications and is cost effective for purchases of multiple cases that require identical foam interiors.

Water Jet: This process of cutting foam uses a high pressure water stream. The smallest details are easily cut with great accuracy. The cavity walls are straight at full depth unlike the die cut method which leaves the walls slightly bowed. There is no tooling charge, but there may be a computer programming charge.

Types of Foam Commonly Used

Polyurethane: The most common polymer used to make foam. Polyurethane foam has an elastic cell structure which provides a wide range of performance possibilities. This soft, open-cell foam is best for delicate and light weight items.

Poly-Ester/Polyurethane: This is an open cell flexible polyurethane foam ranging in density from 1.5# to 6#. It is also available in anti-static formulations.

Poly-Ether/Polyurethane: This is a low cost, highly resilient open cell foam that is available in densities ranging from 1# to1.8#. It is also available in anti-static formulations.

Polyethylene: This closed cell foam will not absorb water or moisture. This firm dense foam meets MIL P 26514, Type 1, Class 2 specs. It is generally used with heavier products. It is great foam for positioning and cushioning. Polyethylene is impervious to most chemicals.

Crosslink/Polyethylene: A rigid polyethylene with little give and is impervious to most chemicals. It is available in anti-static formulations. Crosslink is generally more expensive, but when aesthetics and durability are necessary, they should be considered. It is available in a variety of colors.

EVA/Polyethylene: A polyethylene foam that is firm, but with a softer feel compared to Crosslink. It is impervious to most chemicals and available in anti-static formulations. EVA is generally more expensive, but when aesthetics and durability are necessary, they should be considered. It is available in a variety of colors.

Case Study

A tool company approached Source looking to design a durable tool tray to organize and protect tools stored in their 50 service vans. Previous trays quickly deteriorated from constant use of foam not suited to handle this level of use. Our customer wanted a more permanent solution; their current trays had to be replaced every other year. We were sent a set of the tools/ instruments and together we designed a new layout that was optimal for the technicians. We designed a work station tool tray that would provide the proper protection and support the weight of these expensive tools. Each tray was constructed with a PE (Polyethylene) and XLPE (Crosslink Polyethylene) combination. The XLPE was laminated to the PE to give the tray additional durability while the PE controlled the overall cost of the tool tray. Source provided technical drawings for customer approval. Following signoff, first articles were produced to assure the fit. Slight design modifications were made and Source produced the balance of the tool trays to fully outfit their fleet.