logo blue black 2

Merryweather Foam Blog

Since 1948, we have been industry leaders in fabricating unique, foam components for customers in the medical, sound absorption, automotive, and unique packaging industries. At Merryweather Foam, we pride ourselves on our ability to combine experience, innovation, and excellent customer service. We have the knowledge, manpower & equipment to help you get the job done. Visit our website to see our fabrication portfolio as well as our capabilities.

What Can Pressure Sensitive Adhesive Lamination Do For You?

When you need cushioning, you choose foam. The compressible yet resilient bubbles trapped in elastic material absorb shocks and vibration, giving it thousands of uses from packaging to upholstery. Foam comes in a wide range of materials and ranges from firm and heavy to soft and light. There's a foam to suit every application, but it does have limitations: it can be difficult to fit or install, and it may not have the desired final appearance or surface properties.

The way around these problems is to specify a pressure sensitive adhesive (PSA) lamination for your foam fabrication. 

Overview of PSA foam lamination:
"Lamination" refers to adding one or more layers to a sheet or roll of foam. There are two reasons you might do this:

  1. To create a composite of two or more materials, combining the properties of foam with a second material.
  2. To make it easier to attach foam to a surface or to other foam pieces.
Continue reading
1037 Hits
0 Comments

3M Select Converter Status - Why It Matters

Since 1948, the hardworking and passionate team at Merryweather Foam, Inc. has committed itself to becoming an industry leader in the world of manufacturing unique foam components for customers all over the world. We're incredibly appreciative of our dedicated customers, many of whom have been with us since the beginning. We're not a business that is willing to just rest on its laurels, however, which is why we're always taking steps to continually improve and eliminate waste in our manufacturing processes.

This is a large part of the reason why we're always working hard to achieve new quality certifications that allow us to prove that Merryweather Foam has earned its place as one of the most trusted manufacturers working today. One of those is 3M Select Converter Status, which means a number of important things for both our company and for our customers.

What is 3M Select Converter Status?
3M Select Converter status is a quality certification awarded by 3M Converter Solutions. 3M Converter Solutions is a global engagement platform targeting markets like electronics assembly, appliance assembly and beyond. They're a company that has pledged to act with uncompromising honesty and integrity in all of their interactions with customers, to always satisfy the needs of their users with innovative and superior solutions and to respect the social and physical environments around the world. Given that pedigree, it's easy to see why Select Converter status is both such a sought-after qualification and one that the company is very selective when it comes to awarding with their partners.

In order to achieve 3M Select Converter status, we completed a range of product-specific training sessions. That, coupled with the large volume of 3M produced materials that the company is responsible for handling each year, allowed us to become a trusted name in terms of our manufacturing processes, our engineering quality and the knowledge of our sales personnel.

What 3M Select Converter Status Means for Our Customers
For our valued customers, working with a 3M Select Converter like Merryweather Foam brings with it a host of different benefits that can't be ignored. These include but are not limited to things like:

  • Access to 3M-certified Specialists and Support Services
  • Competitive Pricing
  • Access to the Latest Solutions that 3M has to Offer and More

The Dependable Solution You Can Trust
At Merryweather Foam, we understand that every application represents a unique circumstance that requires a unique material solution. As a 3M Select Converter, this puts our sales team in the perfect position to connect you with the right specialists and technical support operators, both in-house and directly at 3M. This level of support in turn is able to give you all of the specific answers that you need and who can recommend the perfect product and materials options out of the thousands that are released by 3M each year.

3M Pressure Sensitive Adhesive & Industrial Adhesive
As 3M Select Converters, our unique relationship with 3M puts us in a better position to provide our customers with the specific items they need for any application when they need them the most. Case in point: 3M currently makes some of the highest quality UL Certified Adhesive and pressure sensitive available on the market today.

Adhesives in general are routinely taking the place of traditional bonding techniques, due in large part to the significant advancements that companies like 3M are making. Pressure sensitive and industrial adhesives are so customizable to the application that not only can they be die cut, but they're also strong enough to remove the need for a weld of any type.

As 3M Select Converters, we're specialists in these types of pressure sensitive and industrial adhesives. You get the benefit of not only purchasing the highest quality solution from 3M, but also having it converted to fit your needs by Merryweather Foam. This is the type of versatility that you just won't find anywhere else.

Unbeatable Prices
This in turn allows us to pass the savings onto you, as a way to give back for all the support you've given us throughout our history. You get all of the materials and other items that you need when you need them the most and Merryweather gets the comfort that comes only with knowing that we were able to help you carry your project through to completion and to excel beyond your wildest dreams.

Let us Help
Please get in touch with us! We would love to help you on your next project--big or small. 


2654 Hits
0 Comments

All About Pressure Sensitive Adhesive

Foam is a fantastic cushioning material, used in industries from automotive to medical for providing comfort and protection. It's not the easiest material to work with though. Cutting accurate, high-quality shapes takes specialized equipment and more than a little skill, while securing it in place can be even more of a challenge. Conventional fasteners can pull through, especially with low density foams, and adhesives applied as a bead tend to run into the open cells, reducing flexibility rather than bonding to adjacent material--many times, the psa is used as a temporary fastener until a mechanical fastener can be put in place.

In many cases the solution is to laminate an adhesive onto the foam. Merryweather offers an adhesive lamination service which makes foam fabrications easier to handle and put in-place. Adhesives come in many forms; the type that works best with foam is known as "Pressure Sensitive Adhesive" (PSA). These come in many forms with the most popular being two sided (also known in the industry as double coated adhesive) with a carrier membrane (typically a paper, film, foil or cloth) or a transfer adhesive which peels directly off the release liner when it is removed to adhere the foam to the substrate. Double coated adhesives add stability to the foam so that it cannot be stretched out of shape. They can also be used to prevent plasticizer migration. Since transfer tapes do not have a carrier, the adhesive is extensible and more conformable, and sometimes at a cost savings.

Specifying a PSA lamination is a good first step towards simplifying foam assembly, but it's not enough. Adhesives have many different properties and the relative importance of each depends on the application. A deeper understanding of PSA's helps with selecting the best adhesive for any given application.

What is a PSA?
Some adhesives need a chemical reaction to create a bond, others use heat or exposure to UV light. In the case of a PSA the activation method is pressure. Bringing adhesive-coated surfaces together with just light pressure is enough to create a bond. (In chemical terms, the adhesive "wets" the surface, allowing a bond to form.) Increasing the pressure doesn't automatically increase the strength of the bond, although it may do so if it increases the area "wetted" by the adhesive.

Tack, Peel and Shear: The Key Adhesive Properties
Tack indicates the initial bond strength. In the lab it's usually measured by the "loop" test. A loop of adhesive-coated tape is briefly brought into contact with a surface. The force needed to separate tape and surface is the tack strength.

A high tack number shows a bond forms quickly. This can be a problem if it might be necessary to separate and reposition two surfaces, which is why "Post-It" notes have low tack. Conversely, shipping labels are secured with a high tack adhesive, which is why repositioning them is never a good idea!

As a measure of the force needed to separate two adhesive-bonded surfaces, peel indicates bond strength. It's determined by pulling the two surfaces in opposing directions, but only after the bond has had time to build strength.

Shear is measured by applying a force parallel to the bonded surfaces. It's really an indicator of bond durability.

Specification sheets for adhesives typically list all three of these parameters, usually with a note about the test procedures followed. Most often, these are ASTM standards, although Pressure Sensitive Tape Council (PSTC) testing methods are sometimes used. However, since both temperature and humidity are factors in the bond, both organizations standardize temperature and humidity during testing.

PSA Types
PSA's consist of an adhesive, mixed with an elastomeric base material and a tackifier. The tackifier, as the word suggests, increases the initial tack, while the adhesive creates the actual bond, (which may take time to build.) Forming the foundation of the PSA, the elastomer provides properties like flexibility and temperature range.

Three elastomer chemistries are used in PSA's: rubber, acrylate and silicone. Rubber is the least expensive and provides good peel and shear strength plus a high level of flexibility. Rubber-based adhesives tend to yellow over time and lack strength at elevated temperatures.

Acrylates Acrylics stand up well to UV and solvent attack and will work over a temperature range of -45 to 121 degrees Celsius (C). Their downsides are poor creep resistance and a higher price.They also require a 72 hour dwell time to build up to their full bond strength.

More expensive still, silicone-based PSA's have a broader temperature range, (-73 to 260 degrees C,) and good resistance to chemical and solvent attack.

PSA Selection
While relative importance depends on what the application needs, these points should always be considered:

  • Need for repositioning or removal – this would indicate use of a low-tack PSA.
  • Lowest temperature expected – PSA's can lose flexibility at low temperatures.
  • Highest temperature expected – elevated temperatures reduce shear strength.
  • Humidity – moisture-laden atmospheres will significantly reduce the bond strength achieved.
  • Vibration – especially if combined with high temperatures, as this can lead to premature shear failure.
  • Presence of chemicals and/or solvents – these will attack many PSA's, especially those using rubber elastomers.
  • Substrates being bonded together are very important in determining the type of PSA needed

Typical Applications and Benefits

Applying PSA to cut foam shapes simplifies assembly operations and results in higher quality products. An appropriate level of tack lets workers position foam pieces before securing them in place. Fasteners are eliminated, saving money as well as space in stores and at assembly. Perhaps most importantly, with the right PSA for the application, foam pieces will stay in place for the life of the product, avoiding warranty problems and improving quality. Whether the application is automotive interior trim, under-hood sound deadening or cushioning, acoustic control, packaging, transit cases, medical or something else, pre-laminating a PSA onto foam results in a better product.

Pick up the Phone

PSA's come in many different forms and matching properties to the application is essential. Start that discussion today by calling or emailing a product specialist at Merryweather Foam.

2327 Hits
0 Comments

Rotary Die Cutting - Foam Fabrication Capability

Rotary die cutting can be used to create shapes, creases, folds and guides in foam and plastic materials.

What Fabrication Processes Are Available to Business Owners?

Anytime a business needs to produce large numbers of identical and highly accurate shapes through cutting, forming and shaping sheet or rolled metal, or some other material, such as paper or plastic, business owners frequently use a versatile fabrication process called die cutting.

Different manufacturers use varying die cutting processes, which include:

  • Flatbed
  • Press
  • Laser
  • Rotary

What Is the Rotary Die Cutting Fabrication Process and Why Is It Chosen So Often?

Since the rotary die cutting procedure takes place on a heavy-duty cylindrical anvil, or rotary press, it provides a stable and efficient method that works well for clients' high-volume projects. This type of fabrication process produces little waste, mostly due to the sheer simplicity of the machine's design and specific capabilities.

Similar to the idea of a mold in other processes, a die serves as the customized tool that makes the cuts and shapes in the materials chosen. the The most common dies used in the process include engraved dies that offer stability and a solid base due to its mass, adjustable dies for varied blade options and magnetic plate tooling that also offers a stabilizing force due to the power of the magnets.

The rotary die cutting process begins when an operator feeds a long web or sheet of material into the die cutting machine's "station," which is the spot that contains the rotary cutting tool that creates the designed shapes by various methods, including cutting programmed shapes, creating perforations and creases or whittling the sheet or web down to smaller pieces. A set of well-calibrated gears ensure that a rotary die cutting machine will work at the same speed as the rest of the process for high accuracy and quality. As for the flexible foam material, it goes through the machine, the small amount of waste material filters into a catcher for easy clean-up and disposal.

Since the rotary die cutting cylinders feature a limited size, they are only suitable for smaller projects — a few feet wide or less — but that still leaves plenty of options for manufacturers, which include:

  • Polyester foam packaging
  • Gasket foam seals
  • Polyester foam rollers
  • Waterjet cut foam gasketing
  • Waterjet cut polyester foam spiral
  • Polyester foam case insert
  • Reticulated polyurethane foam filter
  • Flexible gasketing material
  • Fabricated foam gasket

Ultimately, this process offers many benefits to a company that regularly needs precision cutting on various materials, quick turnaround times and the potential for taking on multiple projects at once since users can combine die cutting with coating, embossing and lathing processes.

2579 Hits
0 Comments

Adhesive Lamination Helps Make Your Product a Success

Multiple materials can be combined through lamination, creating a composite material with unique performance attributes to suit nearly any application. Whether you need tensile strength, cushioning, adhesion, fire resistance, shock absorption or insulation from heat or cold, there is a laminated composite material that can provide an optimum solution for your product. Merryweather Foam specializes in helping our customers achieve the results they want quickly and cost effectively.

The Adhesive Lamination Process

Our specialized adhesive lamination equipment works using pressure and heat to create permanent bonds between dissimilar products. The process works by feeding rolls of two or more different materials through large rollers under precise pressure and temperature conditions. In some cases, one material may have a carefully selected adhesive pre-applied so it comes in contact with the other material during the rolling process. In other cases, an adhesive may be evenly sprayed or rolled on the materials as they unspool so they are thoroughly coated before they enter the rolling area. The new composite material is spooled at the end of the lamination process so that it can be slit to your specified lengths and widths or shipped as for use in your manufacturing facility. Regardless of the number of materials bonded and the adhesive application methodology, the material that results is permanently bonded and will have a combination of the characteristics of each material used.

Adhesive laminated materials are used in many products across multiple industries, including:

  • Medical
  • Industrial
  • Automotive
  • Appliances
  • Electronics
  • Packaging

Materials

Any number of materials may be used to create composites with adhesive lamination. The most frequently used materials include polyurethanes, polyurethane foams, polyethylene foams, silicones, low permeability foams for use in wet or harsh environments, closed cell PVC or rubber sponge or foam, Poron™ urethane foams, and Cellasto™ microcellular polyurethane elastomer foams. Each of these materials offers different characteristics, including

  • Density
  • Insulating properties
  • Flexibility
  • Sound absorption
  • Durability
  • Compressibility
  • Abrasion resistance
  • Permeability
  • Solvent and chemical resistance
  • Appearance and aesthetics
  • Buoyancy and weight
  • Flammability and fire retardant specs
  • Regulatory approvals such as FDA, UL, ULC
  • Breathability
Why You Need a Partner with Adhesive Laminating and Composite Expertise

Your application is unique, so you need a unique composite material to give you the exact performance characteristics needed to solve your customers' problems. It requires experience and expertise to combine materials to create a composite with the right characteristics for a unique application.

At Merryweather Foam, we have more than 65 years of experience in helping customers specify exactly the right process and materials to create a composite to help your product succeed in your market. If you are interested in learning more about how our industry-leading adhesive lamination capabilities can benefit your product, contact us today.

5134 Hits
0 Comments