How We Create High Quality Foam Padding Inserts For Cases

dual colour grey and red foam insert for protective case

“First we build the tools, then they build us.” Following the words of Marshall McLuhan, how are we meant to build the world of tomorrow without protecting our tools? Keeping our equipment safe is of the utmost importance to all of us within the medical, pharmaceutical, sales and marketing, industrial or mechanical industries – which is where high quality foam padding comes in…

The Benefits Of High Quality Foam Padding

Let’s presume we’ve got the exterior case sorted. If we’ve invested in the right case, then our tools or sample kits are not getting damaged from the outside – that’s a fact. The inside isn’t that important, right? Think again – the interior solution is just as pivotal to ensuring that your products or tools do not get damaged en route to their destination during transportation – nor do they damage or scratch each other inside the case itself.

Regardless of whether you are after a protective enclosure for your tools, a sample presentation case to keep your products looking presentable or even a promotional packaging solution – the foam convertors and engineering specialists here at PottertonPacs have got exactly what you need. What are the benefits of high quality foam padding inserts?

Space optimisation: There are a wide range of options for customers to customise all of these cases, bags and folders as well – allowing you to optimise the space as you please! No empty voids for products to rattle around or having to cram two tools into one hole – instead, we will work with you to ensure that the foam inserts and padding to your case specifically suit your needs on a day-to-day basis.

Safety first: Due to their high shock absorption and also flexible means of keeping equipment in places at all times, foam interior solutions are a sure bet for guaranteeing the safekeeping and protection of your tools and equipment.

Customised materials: There are a wide-array of options for customising the interiors of your cases, bags or folders. Foam interiors are not the only solution on offer either, as you can also get stitched, moulded and fabricated interior solutions as well.

Some of the customising available options include vacuum formed trays or liners, product mounting plates, CNC routed inserts, custom die cut or, water jet cut foam (or plastazote), product display boards and printed interior display panels. There is a wide choice of different coloured foam or plastazote options to guarantee a consistent, stylish, presentable look to fit with your corporate image.

Equipment Identity: The foam inserts and pads on offer do not merely fulfil a practical means, but also can continue your company’s product identity by allowing for a product list or visual presentation to be exhibited within the case’s interior. This is especially useful for allowing the likes of product lists to give customers, sales  representatives or employees the chance to locate the right component both easily and efficiently during presentation or demonstration.

Company Identity: “A good advertisement is one which sells the product without drawing attention to itself.” 

Through inserting your company name, logo or sales message you can be sure to promote your brand identity at every opportunity whilst also providing a practical means. Regardless of whether the case is being transported between meeting or being used in a prospective customer demonstration, the expertly cut foam inner with the addition of branding provides an implicit means of asserting your company identity whilst on the job.

Who, Or What, Makes The Foam?

CNC (Computer Numerical Control) routing and waterjet cutting is responsible for the majority of custom foam products we manufacture. Using our CAD/ CAM software (Computer Aided Design/ Manufacture), we generate programmes to control the machines. The programmes essentially tell the machines what operations to make, such as the depth and location of cutting using a particular tool on the router, or releasing the valve on the waterjet cutter in the appropriate location and sequence the tasks need to be carried out in to produce the custom cut outs or recesses.

Waterjet cutting technology implements a high precision cutting method suitable for a wide variety of materials using a high-pressure jet of water. This highly technical process is often used when the materials being cut are particularly sensitive to the temperatures which other methods can generate. However, the major benefit of this method is that the high-pressure technology allows for extremely intricate shapes and precise cuts to be made.

Another key difference is that routing always produces radius corners to shapes, whereas waterjet cutting can produce right angles, highly intricate shapes, narrow slots and slits with the positions being capable of being closer together.

Another more specialist means of cutting foam is the die cut process. This die cutting method is used to press cut component shapes into foam using a particular cutting knife.  This knife is made using specially fabricated blades which are inserted into a plywood block to create the perimeter outline of the products or components to be held in the foam.  This method of creating customised foam interiors is particularly valuable for those who require a repeatedly accurate, high quality finish for their foam.

Whilst there are expenses involved in the setting up of this process, it is not necessarily the most expensive choice for custom cutting. For example, the tool can be created with the layout of cuts multiple times on the same knife. By having a multiple layout knife a higher quantity of specific foam layouts can be produced in fewer cuts, utilising a more cost-effective production process for bulk volume custom cut foam orders.

In the case of our foam casing solutions, this fully computerised process occurs by a machine routing the plastazote using the CAD onto one of multiple different foam materials. This method effectively allows for complex shapes to be precision cut at high speed to ensure a consistent and precise fit to each product. This type of foam cutting is most commonly used for the interiors of heavy product transport cases, delicate pharmaceutical or medical equipment cases, industrial testing instrument cases, bespoke tool cases and electronic equipment  storage and transit packaging. The CNC routed inserts available at Potterton Pacs provide a high quality, precise finish every time, meaning we never compromise on quality.

The Magic Ingredients

Plastazote – the tough guy: this high-density closed cell is expertly designed from from polyethylene, which offers your equipment the perfect middle ground between lightweight transportation and ultimate protection. This makes plastazote the common choice for high value and fragile equipment. This is made by either die cutting, water jet cutting or  CNC routing.

Polyether foam – keeping things pretty: This type of foam padding is an open cell, medium load bearing open cell foam – meaning it is especially effective as a form of presentation packaging foam for your custom demonstration case interiors and any items that need to be kept well organised and in pristine condition. There are four options for this type of foam, all of which are fully customisable to suit the size and type of equipment being transported: plain grey polyether foam, pre cubed (pick and pluck), polyether and profile (eggbox) polyether foam and brushed nylon topped (choice of colours available).

Removed components can also be easily recognised through being produced with a wide variety of coloured finishes. Shadow foam (dual colour plastazote) is commonly used for environments where FOD (foreign object debris) or other missing items have to be easily identified and prevented. This method is used commonly in aerospace, aviation, manufacturing and even for emergency services – e.g. for the fireservice’s cutting equipment or for police firearms or tasers.

How Potterton Pacs Can Help You

Today we pride ourselves on being experts designers, manufacturers and suppliers of expertly made protective presentation cases, padded soft bags and covers. We also specialise in CNC routing, water jet and die cutting of bespoke foam pad inserts, shadow tool control and polystyrene for protective packaging or POS display.

Have a browse at our products, get in contact at 0116 276 7562 or get in touch and email us today with any queries or questions you may have – one of our friendly team will be happy to help you.

To learn more about custom cut foam inserts read ‘A Guide To Custom Cut Foam – PottertonPacs