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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.

4 Reasons Why Our Membership with the GFA Benefits You

As proud members of the GFA, or Gasket Fabricators Association, Merryweather foam is committed to delivering the best cutting-edge solutions to their customers. Through our engagement in GFA resources and events, our company connects with the best suppliers and innovators in our industry to ensure we remain competitive, agile and powerful for our end customer - you. We aren't content to rest on our laurels, despite having some of the industry's most cutting-edge choices in cutting edges - Water Jet Cutting, Die Cutting, Contour Cutting and more - as well as customer-focused production techniques and a commitment to overall product quality. Partnering with the GFA as a member has allowed us to expand our expertise:

Annual Meetings
As with many fabrication-based industries, a single piece of technology or technique breakthrough can provide better products, pricing and efficiency virtually overnight. GFA membership gives Merryweather Foam access to twice a year membership meetings. These gatherings allow us to peruse new suppliers and lock in component and equipment deals that empower us to deliver a more valuable product to you, our customers. 

A Strong Network of Peers
The seminars, presentations and networking opportunities enjoyed by GFA members allow us to meet and stay in contact with peers that can offer guidance for unique challenges. We pride ourselves in staying up-to-date on the latest problem-solving techniques in the foam fabrication field, and GFA seminars give our team the knowledge and network contacts they need to serve you.

Technical Webinars
Important industry news travels fast, and if it happens between annual meetings, GFA webinars help us stay informed. By virtually connecting with and learning from the brightest minds in our field, we're always well ahead of changes and ready to take advantage of any potential opportunities on your behalf. 

The TechTeam™
The TechTeam™ is a valuable panel of experts assembled and serving in conjunction with the International Association of Die cutting and Die making. The team is a unique GFA membership benefit that extends the reach of our problem-solving skills by giving us access to sharp industry minds outside of our factory walls. If you have an unusual product or unusual fabrication needs, we are able to confer with the TechTeam™ for new ideas and a fresh outlook, giving you the benefit of efficiency.

At Merryweather Foam Inc, our membership in the GFA is only part of our commitment to our customers. We know that the needs and demands of the marketplace - whether they're for retail goods, equipment operation and protection, filtering or other applications - deserve to be met as affordably and quickly as possible, and with the highest degree of skill and quality available. We're proud to meet those demands every day, and invite you to contact us for all of your foam fabrication needs.

To learn more about the Gasket Fabricators Association, visit their website. Also, we would love to help you with your next project--please get in touch with us if you are in need of help. 

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Understanding What the Vertical Contour Cutting Machine Can Do

Contour Cutting is an Excellent Capability for Custom Foam Fabrication

It's difficult to cut curved profiles in foam and get smooth edges. Reciprocating tools tend to tear and leave unsightly steps while methods like water jet and die cutting have limitations with thick materials. In these situations it makes sense to use a vertical contour cutting machine.

Operating principle

Like the band saw used in many industries, vertical contour cutting machines use a continuous steel blade held vertically under tension. The work material, (usually foam,) is placed on a flat table that moves it into the blade to make the cut. Looped over pulleys, the blade moves continuously in one direction, ensuring that it's always cutting, (unlike with a reciprocating saw where half the motion is wasted.) Computer control over both the blade and the table motion allows production of complex shapes.

The cutting blade

As with any sawing process, the teeth shape and pitch must suit the material being cut. For foam 12 to 14 teeth per inch usually gives the optimal combination of cutting speed and edge finish. Some materials cut better with a wave form rather than teeth while others need only a flat knife blade.

The blade itself is made from high quality steel and measures 3.6 mm (0.144") deep and just 0.6 mm (0.024") in thickness. This geometry has two benefits. First, being very thin, there's minimal cut waste, which also minimizes the amount of dust produced. Second, it makes the blade maneuverable.

Blade maneuverability is one area where the vertical contour cutting machine differs from a regular band saw. The contour machine can rotate the blade through 360 degrees. Combined with the shallow blade depth, this lets it turn to cut complex shapes without compressing the foam.

Motion control

The vertical contour cutting machine has three motion axes under computer control. The table moves in one direction, pushing the foam through the blade. Carried on a bridge over the table, the blade can move left and right. If the blade and table moved at the same speed a foam block on the table would be cut at a 45 degree direction.

Axis three is blade rotation. It's this which lets the machine cut circles, corners with tight radii and complex contoured shapes. Internal holes in foam shapes are possible with just a single entrance/exit slot, (which is usually needed for fitting around bars, pipes, extrusions, cable conduit and so on.)

Machine capabilities

Merryweather's vertical contour cutting machine handles blocks of material up to 55" by 94" by 25". Cutting speed is as high as 230' per minute, depending on material density and whether bonded or laminated. Materials appropriate for vertical contour cutting include:

  • Polyurethane
  • Convoluted foam
  • Polyethylene
  • Cross-Linked polyethylene (XLPE)
  • Expanded polyethylene (EPE)

Material with densities up to 9 pounds can be cut, as can bonded layers of foam and foam laminated with either foil or textile material.

Process characteristics

  • Straight, smooth sides produced on thick foam blocks.
  • Cuts complex 2D shapes.
  • Programmed directly from CAD files.
  • "Nesting" function in software maximizes material utilization.
  • No tooling, so no tooling costs or delays for tool manufacture.
  • Ideal for small quantity orders
  • Small "kerf" (cut width) means minimal waste and dust.

Quality results

A vertical contour cutting machine is the best way of producing smooth, straight-sided shapes in soft materials like foam. Merryweather's machine handles large blocks of material quickly and efficiently with minimal waste. As no tooling is needed this process is ideal for both small and large quantity orders.​ Not sure if vertical contour cutting is the right capability for your project? Get in touch with us and we will be happy to answer any questions you have about custom foam fabrication cutting capabilities. 

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