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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.

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.

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All About Precision Foam Skiving

​Skiving is a manufacturing technique you don't see very often. Google it and you'll learn about thinning leather or shaping metal gears. What you won't see much of is how it's used for precision foam sheeting.

Skiving foam entails using a sharp knife to cut thin layers from a large block. That's the skiving process. It's different than sawing because that removes material whereas skiving splits it into two parts. It's an excellent way of cutting sheets of foam, which is why we use it here at Merryweather. To learn more about our precision foam skiving capabilities, keep reading.

Skiving basics

Skiving entails pushing a solid block of polyurethane foam through the blade of a knife. The blade is actually a steel belt around 1mm (0.040") thick with a very sharp edge, and is positioned horizontally above the machine table. To help the blade cut it's looped over two drums that pull it perpendicular to the direction the block is moving. These two motions help the blade slice through the material, shaving off the thickness required.

The skiving machine, sometimes called a continuous bandknife or a foam splitter, looks rather like a bandsaw laid down on it's side. Keeping the blade under tension ensures it doesn't sag, so we can cut a block of foam into thin sheets quickly and efficiently.

Advantages

As skiving splits the foam rather than cutting pieces out it, there's no material removal. That gives it five big advantages over traditional sawing-type processes:

  • No waste - Sawing, and for that matter, processes like water jet cutting, have a 'kerf' or thickness of material that's lost. Skiving has no kerf so there's no waste. That helps keep costs down.
  • Dust free - Sawing is messy because the teeth carve away little chips of material. They stick to everything and can never be completely brushed off.
  • Smooth edges - Sawed edges are rough, which looks untidy and creates problems when sheets are put to use. Skiving polyurethane foam blocks avoids this problem, which means no secondary clean-up operations.
  • Close tolerances - A precision foam splitting machine, as we use at here Merryweather, keeps the blade tight and parallel to the machine bed. That ensures tight tolerances are maintained, which means customers receive sheets of consistent thickness.
  • Continuous resharpening - In material removal processes the cutting edge dulls with use, so the last piece cut has a different finish to the first piece. Skiving machines continuously resharpen the blade, so every sheet looks the same.

Merryweather for polyurethane & polyethylene foam skiving

The best way of producing thin foam sheets is by skiving. It's an efficient process that produces smooth, clean sheets of uniform thickness. If you need closed tolerance foam sheets, discuss it with us and we'll explain what skiving has to offer.

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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.

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