Types of Foam Packaging

Foam is widely used as an inner cushioning material in packaging. Foam is a very versatile packaging material, and can be shaped into custom sizes easily using various methods.   Packaging foam can be divided into three main categories.  EPS, Polyethylene, and Polyurethane. Each has its unique benefits.  I will spend some time here to briefly review these.

Expanded Polystyrene or “EPS”, is  a white rigid closed-cell foam material. It is made by expanding polystyrene beads with steam and bonding the beads together under pressure to form blocks, sheets, 0r the common packaging “peanuts” that are used as a cushioning void fill.  EPS foam exhibits good insulation properties and for this reason it is in used coolers, wine shippers and bio-tech packaging.  It can also be molded into shapes if the volume is large enough to offset the cost of tooling.  It can be cut into an unlimited variety of shapes using hot wire cutting. EPS sheets are not the best choice for shock absorption because it is rigid, and can break if it’s subjected to a concentrated force. If you need something to absorb shock consider polyethylene or polyurethane material.

Polyethlene foam or more commonly known as “P.E.” foam is a strong resilient closed cell foam. It is renowned for its ability to withstand great amounts of pressure without losing its original cushioning properties. It is used for shock absorption, vibration dampening, and void fill.  It is typically found as planks or rolls. Polyethylene foam is typically used to secure sensitive products  by forming it into end caps. These are typically made  by cutting down a large plank and then die cutting it. End caps slide around each end of the product and holds it securely in place. Sheets can also be cut to specific sizes and used as liners inside a box.  P.E also comes in large rolls of thin material – typically about 1/8″ thick. This form of P.E. is typically used as void fill or slip sheets to protect products.

There are different color families of P.E foam and each represent the density (pounds per cubic foot) of the foam. Some of the colors available are: , Green, Light Blue, Pink anti-static, White, and Black.

Polyurethane foam, also known as urethane foam is a flexible, open-cell type of foam that has a many applications due to its resilience and durability. Urethane has a softer feel, especially in the lower density and firmness ranges. They are most often the foam of choice for smaller, lighter, and shock-sensitive products. Urethane starts out  as large blocks, which can be sawed down and die cut.  Urethane can also be convoluted to form an egg crate look. There are different grades of urethane foam and they are color coded.

The sales team at St. Pete Paper will gladly help you choose the right type of foam for your application. Feel free to give us a call at 727-572-9868  any time to discuss your packaging needs.

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13620 49th St. North, Clearwater, FL. 33762
Phone: 727-572-9868
Fax: 727-572-9878
Website: http://stpetepaper.com
Email: sales@stpetepaper.com
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