PRECISION FOAM SKIVING
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 its 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 its 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.
- 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 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.