Why Structural Foam?

Jan 6, 2022 | Consultations, Industry, Packaging, Shipping, Storage

Structural foam is a popular manufacturing technique used today in a variety of products that we offer at AIM Reusable Packaging. Everything from Plastic Knockdown Containers (bulk bins, bulk containers, collapsible plastic bulk bins, plastic bulk containers, collapsible plastic containers, plastic bulk boxes), plastic pallets, totes, etc.

History of Structural foam:
Developed in the late 60’s by chemical company Union Carbide to market its Polystyrene. This was mostly dormant until it was pushed by Russ LaBelle in 1972 to manufacture furniture legs and spindles. This quickly fizzled out by the Oil Embargo of 1973. When computers started to gain notoriety (early 80’s) there was a new market for structural foam in the housings made for the computers. By 1983, structural foam fell out of favoritism due to Japan starting to be a powerhouse in electronics and siding with straight injection due to its ‘wet’ plastic look vs the dull ‘swirl’ of structural foam. Material handling exploded in the early 90’s (AIM was founded in 1990) coming from popular items such as Plastic Knockdown Containers (bulk bins, bulk containers, collapsible plastic bulk bins, plastic bulk containers, collapsible plastic containers, plastic bulk boxes), plastic pallets, totes, etc.

The structural foam molding in AIM’s industry involves adding a blowing agent which is commonly nitrogen gas as a foaming agent. This allows the plastic to form a sandwich or cellular structure which consists of solid skin on the outer layers and a foam core in the center. Parts produced through the structural foam process are structurally sound, nearly stress-free and have minimal bending or twisting out of the shape of the plastic part.

Why AIM recommends utilizing structural foam products:

  • Lower weight 10-20% while retaining the high weight capacity that is demanded.
  • Utilizes Low-Pressure to mold the parts, resulting in low stress and less warpage to the plastic.
  • Lower cost of tooling due to using an aluminum mold versus steel. This allows for quicker building of the mold, quicker cooling time, all resulting in lower costs to end users.

Talk to one of our experienced and knowledgeable Representatives at AIM for an in-depth review of what products will work best for your business.

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