The saying is true – good things can come in small packages. In today’s marketplace, devices are simultaneously getting smaller and more powerful. However, compact products pose a wide range of design challenges and complexities. The good news is that in many cases, the solution is surprisingly simple: foam.
Now, we’re not talking about the foams of yesteryear. Through dedicated research and development, materials manufacturers have created innovative and specialized foams for a multitude of applications.
Types and Benefits of Foam
Foams can be categorized by two distinct constructions: open cell and closed cell. Open-cell foam has a cellular structure that is interconnected and filled with air. On the other hand, closed-cell foam is sealed, which makes it less permeable to air and liquids.
Foams can be used on their own or combined with adhesives to create single- or double-sided tapes. Depending on your application and design, the inclusion of foam offers several benefits:
- Simplifying and speeding up assembly
- Providing immediate handling strength
- Lightweighting of components and product
- Improving durability and moisture resistance
- Adding energy absorption or insulation
- Bonding dissimilar and low surface energy (LSE) materials
- Providing design flexibility
- Improving the aesthetics of the final product
Markets and Applications
Due to the compact and sensitive nature of many products, advanced foams are effective solutions for markets such as electronics, medical devices, and aerospace. That being said, foam can be incorporated in nearly any product to achieve a specific objective.
A few common applications of foams include:
- Spacers – Foam is used to create a gap between a device’s antenna and metal surface to prevent signal loss.
- Bonding tape – Custom tapes with foam can simplify the mounting and bonding of panels, displays, trims, controls, and other components.
- Seals and gaskets – Adhesive-backed foams are effective at sealing off moisture, dust, light, electrostatic discharge (ESD), electromagnetic interference (EMI), and other elements that can damage or disrupt the device.
- Wearables – Foam combined with stick-to-skin adhesives can improve the performance and reliability of wearable medical and patient monitoring devices.
- Noise and vibration dampening– Foam tapes can be easily customized to fit products that need to minimize noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH).
- Acoustic insulation – Certain foams are designed to insulate or dampen noises coming from the product or environment.
Custom Converting of Foam
For product designers and OEMs, the selection and benefits of foam have never been greater. Products are available in a variety of compositions, thicknesses, and densities. The raw material is typically provided in rolls or sheets and can then be converted to custom shapes and sizes to meet your application’s requirements.
At Tapecon, we have long-standing relationships with the top foam manufacturers in the industry. Using our materials expertise, we can recommend the ideal product for your needs, combine foam with other materials such as adhesive, and then convert the materials using a range of techniques such as cutting and laminating. Our goal is to not only improve the quality and performance of the final product but also help you save time and money through increased manufacturing efficiencies.
Get Started with Foam Products
At Tapecon, we have over 100 years of experience helping customers solve their complex product challenges. Learn more about our custom materials converting services.