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Understanding flexible polyurethane foam
Vitafoam is the leading manufacturer of flexible polyurethane foam slab stock within Southern Africa and manufactures a variety of different types of foam within this category. This blog post looks at this particular type of foam, its applications, and some of the innovative technology involved in developing specialised foam products for our customers.
Types of foam
Broadly speaking, the foam used in bedding and furniture can be divided into open cell or closed cell. Polyurethane foam falls into the open cell category because its small cells are not completely sealed (this allows air to fill the space and also means that polyurethane foam would take on water if you wet it).
It’s also known as PU foam for short and is used in everything from mattresses to furniture and even vehicle seat cushioning. It’s available in a wide range of foam density and hardness specifications. In other words, PU foam can be extremely light, soft and easy to squash, or much heavier, firmer and harder to compress.
At Vitafoam, we manufacture three main types of PU foam: prime foam, speciality foam and re-bond foam. These are our Polyflex, Technoflex and Enviroflex ranges respectively.
Our Polyflex range of prime foams comprises traditional foam offerings designed to cater for every level of comfort, support and durability. We pride ourselves on providing our customers with a tailored solution to meet their specific requirements.
Our Polyflex range includes foams from low to firm density in a wide range of hardness and foam grades.
They are widely used across the bedding, furniture and upholstery industries.
Our Technoflex range of speciality foams is where we really have the opportunity to demonstrate our technological innovation. Using different additives, we can create foams that are normally designed as a comfort layer in mattresses and furniture with specific properties.
For example, we can create memory foams (for comfort), gel foams (for temperature regulation) and even copper-flake foams (for antimicrobial and moisture-wicking properties) in a wide range of different densities, foam grades and hardness.
We can custom-develop speciality foams to meet our clients’ particular requirements.
Our Enviroflex range of re-bonded foams (also known in the industry as chip foam) is manufactured using the offcuts from our foam manufacturing operations that would otherwise go to waste. These are collected, processed into small foam chips, and recycled into foam blocks through a process called re-bonding (hence the name).
Re-bond is generally used in bedding (and sometimes furniture) as a hard-wearing, firm core layer.
Our products are rigorously tested in-house to ensure they meet relevant quality standards, including SABS 640, SAN 883 and ISO 5999. We are one of the only foam managers in South Africa whose products are all SABS approved.
We test porosity, density and hardness, as well as other properties in more technical speciality foams, including things like elongation, tear strength and compounding.
Vitafoam was the first producer of PU foam in South Africa and we’re very proud to still be leading the industry in terms of technology, innovation and quality consistency, particularly in the speciality foam market.
Get in touch to find out how we can assist with your polyurethane foam requirements.