Many manufacturers turn to foam injection molding as a viable production process to develop new products. Depending upon the type of foam being used, foam injection molding is a great option to ensure product durability for a variety of different applications.
XL EXTRALIGHT® foam is particularly conducive to designing highly durable and robust products. The reason? It is a closed-cell Polyolefin copolymer foam. Contrary to open-cell foams polyurethane foam injection molding, closed cell foam has cells that are sealed off so that air, water, humidity and basically any other substances can’t get inside the structure. Closed-cell foams like XL EXTRALIGHT® foam are generally stronger and remain durable over time. Because of its cross linked properies, it withstands wear and tear much more effectively than open-cell foams.
But do products really need to be that durable? In a nutshell: yes. Product durability has surprisingly wide-reaching implications on a manufacturer’s overall production process—and bottom line.
Let’s look at some of the key advantages of creating durable products, specifically with XL EXTRALIGHT® foam injection molding.
Reduced overall production costs
While a manufacturer may be tempted to choose a cheaper, less durable material for a new product, it is important to take into consideration the long-term impact this type of material has on overall costs. Durable products made with XL EXTRALIGHT® foam, for example, are less prone to breakage or damage—both on production lines prior to quality control checks and when in the hands of consumers. Therefore, products that are not very durable tend to ramp up inspections costs as well as repair and replacement expenses.
Simplified storage and shipping
Similarly to the aforementioned benefit, durable products are easy to store and ship to distributors or end users. Material handling becomes a breeze because manufacturers don’t have to worry about products becoming quickly damaged, whether or not they are in special packaging or containers. Again, less durable products can be negatively impacted by harsh warehousing environments or multiple transit handoffs. Customers receiving damaged or defective products is no one’s idea of a good scenario. Product durability helps to mitigate the costs (and headaches!) of coordinating reverse logistics, especially with high-volume products, not respecting your SLAs. and having to deal with warranty or other customer compensation issues.
Improved consumer perception
Some manufacturers cater to customers who don’t mind cheap products with short lifespans. But keep in mind that most customers are more discerning than you think when it comes to product durability. Many applications involving foam injection molding include: medical equipment, children’s furniture, sports and aquatics products, cushions and headrests, protective gear, footwear, and more molded foam products! These applications, due to their inherent use, require durable products! For example, many fans of shoes made with XL EXTRALIGHT® foam can wear them for over 10 years! Seats designed for kayaks using a foam injection molding process can last for two decades! In sum, product durability is synonymous with product quality in the eyes of consumers. This goes a long way to protecting your long-term brand image.
Some products need to meet certain safety requirements. The last thing a manufacturer wants is to use a less-than-reliable material for products that need to be safe. Take medical homecare equipment. If the equipment is produced with XL EXTRALIGHT® foam, you can have peace of mind knowing that the product will be waterproof, water-resistant and chemical-resistant. This is extremely important for applications that require a product to be sterile and protect end users from harmful bacteria, body fluids and chemicals over time.
Minimized ecological footprint
Durable products increase the life cycle of a product, which in turn, allows both manufacturers and customers to reduce their ecological footprint. For one, the longer a product lasts and is in use, the more time the environment has to recover the materials used to make it. Products with an excellent level of durability don’t wind up as fast in landfills quite so fast. Durable products are also eco-friendlier because many can be repurposed for other applications or reused by environmentally conscious customers that don’t mind “hand me downs,” so to speak.
As you can see, product durability is a critical factor for Foam manufacturers to take into account during their R&D processes for new products. Selecting the right material and manufacturer, such as foam injection molding using XL EXTRALIGHT® foam by Foam Creations, can address the design and durability imperatives for all types of EVA Foam product applications. If you require the services of a quality foam injection manufacturer in North America that can guarantee your product’s durability, contact one of our application specialists today
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