Flotation and Buoyancy Foams

Foam is commonly used in many marine applications from engine insulation and sound dampening to deck seating but foam can also be used for flotation applications that have many specific properties that make them the ideal material for the job. When searching for the ideal flotation foam for manufacturing products, it’s best to ensure that it is approved by the U.S. Coast Guard regulation Number 33 CFR 183.114. 

Look for the Ideal Floatation Foam Properties

Flotation foam is mostly known for its high buoyancy butnot all buoyant foams are created equal. There are many other foam properties to consider.

Water Resistant: foams used in marine flotation applications should have a heavy resistance to hydrolysis, which means the material will not easily degrade or break down when submerged in water. 

Durabilityhigher quality foams will make for longer-lasting products. 

Mold and Mildew Resistance: when water is involved, it’s wise to invest in foams that are resistant to bacteria and mold growth. These foams tend to be dense and non-absorbent. 

Is There an Ideal Type of Foam for Marine Flotation Applications?

Many different materials can be effectively used for flotation applications.   Most of these will be closed cell materials.  The beaded EPE and EPP materials meet the US Coast Guard regulation mentioned above. 

Closed-cell foam has a higher compressive strength and dimensional stability than open-cell foam, which means it acts as a better insulator while also being more resistant to water and air leakages. Because of this, it is far more suited for marine applications, particularly flotation. 

Flotation foams can be fabricated through die-cutting, vertical and horizontal contour cutting, hot wire cutting, plank lamination, or water jet cutting.  This allows you to achieve any size and shape. The foam also comes in a variety of color options. 


Foam Options for Seating Applications

There are many types of foams with each having it own unique properties that make them ideal for one or more applications. Manufacturers must choose the right foam for their products. This selection affects the cost, ease and speed of manufacturing, and overall quality of products. 

When it comes to manufacturing seat cushions and other types of commercial and residential seating including mattresses, furniture, restaurant benches, or seating there are several considerations that must be made by manufacturers to maximize the efficacy of their products. 

Durability and Resiliency

Seating foam’s most valuable properties are its resiliency and durability. Cushions must be able to suffer years of use. The foam you choose must be able to withstand this pressure without losing its shape, ripping, or otherwise transforming over time. At the same time, manufacturers also need to consider the firmness and density of the foam, which can greatly impact the level of comfort for the user over time. It’s a delicate balance to make, and when manufacturers get it right, they are rewarded with longer-lasting, better quality products. 


Whether the seating is being used in a commercial or residential setting, the foam must be highly resilient to bacteria, mold, and other undesirable impacts. This increases the quality and longevity of the products they are used in. Many types of polyurethane and polyethylene foams are antimicrobial and help meet this criteria.

Flame Retardant

Flame retardant foams can help hinder the spread of fires and also stop potential fires from even beginning. For commercial businesses, it may be required by state law to use certain types of flame retardant foam in seating. For residential use, this type of foam can increase a home’s protection against fires. Fire retardant chemicals can be applied to different types of foams as well to give them this unique property. 

Choosing Between Closed and Open-Cell Foam

Seat foams and cushioning can be made from polyurethane, which is an open-cell foam, or polyethylene, which is a closed-cell foam. 

Polyurethane open-cell foams (like memory foam) are lighter and softer and can easily return to their original shape. They are commonly used in mattresses, pillows and seat cushions.

Poluethylene closed-cell foams are firmer and more rigidwhich can make them more durable, tearresistant, and better at absorbing shocks. However, these benefits tend to come at the cost of less comfort. When used in seating, closed-cell foams like polyethylene tend to be reserved for outdoor furniture (due to their water resistance) and medical applications. 

Foams for Firearms Storage and Shipping

Proper firearm storage and shipping depends on two factors: the type of foam you choose, and the outer case used for storage. They are both important in terms of protection and can be customized to maximize safety and protection in storage and while in transit 

Choosing the best type of foam for gun cases depends on whether the case will be used for storage, shipping, or both. When considerign a foam it is important to consider not only short-term protection for your firearm, but its long-term safety, as well. 

Types of Foams Used in Firearm Cases

The two types of foams that are commonly used in firearm cases for shipping and storage are polyurethane and polyethylene.  

Polyurethane is a soft, open-cell foam that offers good cushioning and shock absorption. It is easy to custom shape and fabricate so that it perfectly fits a custom firearm case. Ester-based polyurethanes are typically used because of their high tensile strength and non-abrasive surfaces. 

The largest challenge in using a polyurethane foam, particularly an ester-based foam, is that it deteriorates over time. They can also be susceptible to moisture and degradation due to chemical cleaners, oils, and lubricants—all common in firearm maintenance. This makes polyurethane foam ideal for shipping, but not long-term storage of firearms. 

Polyethylene is a closed-cell foam that is more rigid, but it does not have the same weakness to moisture and liquids. This makes these types of foams more ideal for long-term storage and custom cases. They do not break down or degrade when they come in contact with liquids and offer much more stain resistance than polyurethane foam. This type of foam is also more ideal for heavier firearms.

Convoluted Foam

Convoluted polyfoam sheets, also known as egg-crate foam, is a soft, open-cell foam that is commonly used to line the lids of firearm cases. Convoluted foam can be good to use for shipping and storage when the case houses different types of firearms. While many custom cases have foam cutouts for specific firearms and parts this strategy means that the case is specific to only one firearm. Convoluted foam allows you to use the case for transporting and storing different types of firearms, as the foam is not generally custom cut to fit this piece.

The Ideal Foam Packaging for Shipping Electronic Devices

Electronic devices require safe and secure shipping solutions. Depending on the fragility of the item, they can be susceptible to static, vibration, extreme temperatures, and other environmental factors that are common in air, rail, road, and marine transport. To appropriately protect these devices while in transit, foam igenerally the packaging material of choice. This is because many types of foam possess the properties necessary to shield electronic devices, parts, and equipment while in transit. 

What Makes a Foam Ideal for Shipping Electronic Devices?

The best types of foam for shipping electronic devices have three major qualities.  

#1: Anti-Static or Conductive Foam

The foam used should be anti-static (known as ESD foam). Anti-static foam acts as a static shield for static sensitive items. ESD foam helps dissipate electrostatic charges that are easily generated by friction (which is a common occurance as items gently shift while in transit). These static charges can damage sensitive electronic devices and components. ESD foams are chemically treated with anti-static agents that give them a high surface resistance (usuall104 – 109) that reduce electrostatic charges. These types of foams are usually colored pink, but they can be dyed in a variety of colors for presentation purposes (usually for foam electronic device case inserts)

A second option is conductive foam, a polyethylene foam that is filled with carbon, giving it conductive properties. Any item surrounded by conductive foam is protected by the foam that is acting as a Faraday cage, meaning it blocks any electromagnetic fields from coming into contact with the item. 

#2: Non-Abrasive Foam

Many electronic devices have sensitive parts that can be affected by abrasion during shipping. Other high-value electronic devices have delicate layers of paint on the outside of them can easily be scratched off due to small movements and vibrations that occur while in transit. To prevent damage to these sensitive devices, it’s necessary to use a non-abrasive foam. Non-abrasive foam will not scratch delicate surfaces should they brush against them. 

#3: Packaging Material Standards

A good starting point when looking for anti-static foam for electronic devices is to ensure that it meets your necessary packaging standards. The best standard to look for is the EIA-541 Packaging Material Standards for ESD Sensitive Items, which applies to categories of electrostatic protective packaging materials that possess certain electrostatic properties, including: 

  • Preventing triboelectric charging (antistatic) 
  • Dissipating charge either by surface or volume conduction 
  • Acting as a shield against electrostatic fields 

Consider the Size and Weight of the Item

When considering the shipping application it is important to choose  open-cell or closed-cell foam.

Polyurethane, an open-cell foam, is lighter and softer, which makes it more ideal for smaller, more sensitive products like circuit boards, CPUs, microprocessors, etc. This type of foam is available in sheets or as layered convoluted foam, also known as egg crate foam. 

Cross-linked polyethylene, a closed-cell foam, is much more structurally rigid. This type of foam makes it more durable and tearresistant. It also does not compress as easily as polyurethane, which makes it more ideal for larger, more bulky electronic items like computers, sound equipment, etc. 


What foam works in furniture design?

Comfortable and Beautiful Furniture Design

Furniture design falls into two basic categories: visual and functional. Foam can affect both.

Since the visual aesthetic of furniture design is virtually unlimited, and foams can be fabricated or molded to meet any of a variety of requirements, it is important to include functional considerations when developing the furniture.

Functional design should take into account a number of factors, all of which may work with each other, assisting in providing the correct degree of seating comfort. Fabric type, spring type/design/construction, seat/back geometry, basic frame design, physical events during actual sitting/leaning, seating foam type, construction of the back, and firmness ratio between seat and back are major design factors to be considered in seating and comfort design.

Specifying Foam for Upholstery Applications

A number of foam properties will affect design considerations and is important in developing upholstery that provides proper comfort.

DENSITY: Affects the foam’s ability to provide support, comfort and durability. Generally speaking, as foam density increases, durability also increases. Some of the factors related to durability are loss of firmness (flex fatigue), breakdown in the sitting area of the cushion (dishing), and fabric bagging caused by loss of foam dimensions (compression set). Choosing the proper foam density will reduce the impact of these over time.

IFD: A measure of foam firmness that is independent of density. Even high density foams can be soft. For upholstery, 25 percent IFD can range from five pounds to 50 pounds. Softer foams may be laminated to firmer foams to provide surface softness. Firmness can affect the “ride” of a cushion. The ride is the distance that a weight will travel while still being comfortable. Firm foams are often used to create certain “feels” as in thin- profile applications such as in arms or backs. Firm foams are often used to create or hold certain shapes.

COMPRESSION MODULUS (SUPPORT FACTOR): Compression modulus is generally a function of the type of foam. Conventional foams have compression modulus in the range of 1.9 to 2.1; filled foams 2.1 to 2.4; and high resilience grades 2.2 to 3.0. Within a foam grade, the modulus is a function of the foam density. The higher the density the greater the compression modulus. Laminating hard and soft foams together can also increase compression modulus for the composite cushion structure. However, the firmness of the laminated foams cannot be too far apart or the cushion may seem to “bottom out” on the firmer portion.

Compression modulus affects cradling. For greatest comfort, the compression modulus should be selected to maximize cradling. When cushions are thick, lower compression modulus foams may be used to improve cradling and to achieve more even distribution of body weight. If cushions are thin, not too much TVM can be expected. Interfacial pressures of these designs will definitely decrease the comfort of thin cushion seating systems. Higher compression modulus foams may be used in thin cushion applications to prevent system “bottoming” and/or “hammocking” of the seating area.

FLEX FATIGUE: This important measurement of durability is an indicator of a cushion’s long term ability to provide the proper cradling and TVM. Foams that have good flex fatigue values will tend to retain their original firmness and support levels, which means that the cushion can retain more of its original characteristics.

RESILIENCE: The surface resilience of a foam also affects comfort and design. Foams with high resilience
feel springy and provide a good “hand” for cushioning. Conversely, low resilience, or a “dead” feel, typical of many viscoelastic (memory) foams, may be desirable in some pillow and padding applications.

Like design aesthetics, functional designs can vary tremendously, and designers can create comfortable seating by varying design considerations. Ultimately, the intended use for the furniture must dictate much of the design.

Neoprene foam used in gaskets

A common choice for industrial gaskets is neoprene foam. Neoprene foamwhich has the chemical name polychloroprene, offers many advantages when used in foam gasket applications. 

What is Neoprene Foam?

Neoprene is commonly used in foam gaskets and mechanical seals that fill the space between two or more surfaces and prevent leaks in gas or many types of liquids. 

Neoprene foam is a material that is similar to rubber in that it is considered to be an elastomer (a natural or synthetic polymer that has elastic properties). It is a flexible, durable, and soft sponge rubber that is commonly used in many products across the medical, aerospace, and industrial industries. The material is available in both closed-cell and open-cell variants with each having its strengths. Closed-cell neoprene foam is waterproof, which makes it ideal for gaskets, while open-cell neoprene foam allows some air and liquids to passwhen it is not fully compressed. This can makes the material  ideal for industrial filtration foam. 

Why is Neoprene Foam a Good Material for Gaskets?

Neoprene foam is an ideal choice for industrial gaskets. It’s properties include:

  • Is lightweight 
  • Will not degrade due to exposure to sunlight, ozone, and other weather conditions 
  • Has vibration dampening capabilities
  • Has a high chemical resistance 
  • Will not break down when it comes in contact with water or oils 
  • Is a good insulator 
  • Is naturally formfitting, increasing its ability to properly form an airtight seal 
  • Is physically tough, durable, and tearresistant 
  • Is resistant to heat and flames 
  • Has good compression set resistance, stress relaxation, and compression recovery 
  • Can be used with a variety of adhesives 
  • Meets many industrial quality and safety standards 

Easy Fabrication

Neoprene is also very easy to fabricate, allowing it to be custom cut and shaped based on the needs of the application. Depending on the size of the application, it can also be made into a variety of thicknesses. The material generally comes in a roll or a sheet but can be fabricated with die and kiss-cutting machines. 

Options for Custom Foam Fabrication and Shaping

Often applications require pieces of foam that are cut, shaped, and/or molded into a specific size or shape. These applications require custom foam fabrication as the most efficient solution. Designing and manufacturing the right piece of foam yields a better quality product and much better performance in an application. Manufacturers look to custom foam fabricators like Rogers for their fabrication expertise and the state-of-the-art technology they use to create custom foam solutions.

It is important to understand the terms used in foam fabrication.  Please use this short “glossary” to help you decipher the meaning and uses behind these common foam fabrication terms.

Precision Water Jet Cutting

Water jet cutting uses a high-precision, pressurized water stream to cut and carve foam into specific shapes. This non-abrasive means of cutting is a cost effective solution for material stacking.

High Speed Die Cutting

High speed die cutting is used to accurately cut and mass produce pieces of foam in various shapes. Die cutting can also be used to cut shaped holes into sheets of foam.

Vertical and Horizontal Contour Cutting

Contour cutting is a method to quickly and automatically cut patterns and complex shapes of foam. This is an ideal technique for intricate cuts and detailed shaping in foam.

Abrasive Wire Cutting

Abrasive wire cutting is used for cutting contours in various closed cell foam types. Planks or slabs of foam can be accurately cut into a variety of different configurations for a range of specific applications.


Convoluting is a method of altering the surface of a piece of foam. Easily recognized egg crate foam that is used in packaging, storage, and cushioning applications is a good example of this technique.

CNC Routing

Computer numerically controlled (CNC) routing uses guided drill bits and machine tools to cut and carve foam into different shapes. This technologically advanced technique allows for foam to be cut into complex shapes at multiple depths.

Vacuum and Roll Skiving

Skiving allows for very dense closed cell foams to be cut with precision and ease without wearing down the materials. Often, foam sheets can be fed into machines and cut to various thicknesses using this technique.

Foam Lamination

Laminating foams attaches two foams together for the creation of composite materials that are made from two or more types of foam. This gives pieces of foam unique characteristics like increased heat and corrosion resistance or ESD properties. Foam can also be laminated into buildups (case inserts, end caps, and the like) utilizing different lamination methods  such as hot glue, spray glue, hot air, chemical bond and robotic gluing.


How to Cut Costs on Your Protective Packaging

Protective packaging is an important consideration for any online retailer, shipper or business that moves freight. If you move hundreds or thousands of items regularly the impact of even the smallest decrease in protective packaging can result in huge savings over the course of the year.

Careful inspection into how you manage your protective packaging is not only important, it is necessary.

Right-Sizing Your Protective Packaging

Proper sizing of your foam and dunnage as well as the size of the box in use is of the utmost importance.  Packaging that is too small will risk damaging the products and larger packaging than is necessary can hurt costs or even cause less effective protection as products move within the package.

It’s essential to use the appropriate size for your packaging needs based on the size, shape, and weight of each item.  Choosing the right box and protective packaging that allows the items to be appropriately cushioned while also not allowing it to shift too much while in transit is always the goal. 

Selecting the Right Materials

Be sure to select the proper foam materials to cushion your particular product. Certain types of foam are more effective at protecting items from different environmental hazards, and a careful analysis of your items and the protection they need will reduce damage claims. It is important to consider what types of protection your products need, including items that are sensitive to: 

  • Electrostatic discharges 
  • Abrasive surface 
  • Hot or cold temperatures 
  • Moisture or humidity 

Review the various pros and cons for every foam type available to be sure to use the most effective solutions for your needs.

Work with the Right Foam Provider

You know your products better than anyone else. The right foam provider will work with you to choose protective packaging that is not only effective, but cost efficient. Working with a reliable partner will inevitably lower your costs as product loss from damage in transit and the use of efficient and cost effective solutions will lead to a higher margin for your products. The right foam provider will have access to a variety of foam types, custom fabrication for protective packaging, and large production runs of custom foam pieces that allow you to purchase in bulk what you need for the long run. 

At Rogers Foam, we specialize in custom protective packaging solutions provided with competitive pricing. We can help you properly protect the products you ship while lowering your costs and damage claims ratios. Reach out to use today to see how we can help you.

What is Beaded Foam?

Beaded foam is important for storing or shipping delicate items as it effectively protects items from impact and other environmental conditions during shipment. When used in conjunction with a protective packaging foam that is non abrasive items can be completely protected from surface scratches as well. Expanded polystyrene can often be used as well but beaded foams are an excellent solution in many cases.

What are beaded foams?

Expanded polystyrene (EP) , expanded polyethylene (EPE), expanded polypropylene (EPP), and beaded polyethylene (BPE) are special beaded foams types that are constructed of small beads that are interconnected. To create beaded foams, foam beads are heated causing them to expand to many times their size. After expansion, the beads can be molded into varying shapes that can be further resized and fabricated into nearly any custom shape.

Beaded foams are cost-effective because they take less energy to manufacture and fabricate than many other solutions while maintaining a high strength to weight ratio. This ratio means you can protect more with less foam.

Why use beaded foams

Beaded foams are known for having a few beneficial properties. They are:

  • Lightweight
  • Cost-effective
  • Have high structural integrity and compression strength (high strength-to-weight ratio)
  • Do not easily absorb moisture
  • Have a high chemical resistance
  • Are not abrasive (ideal for Class A surfaces)
  • No off-gassing
  • Can be recyclable

In addition to the above, many beaded foams are aesthetically pleasing making  them ideal for case inserts for fragile devices, particularly if they are being used for sales and demo purposes.

Beaded foams offer reliable low cost solution to protect a variety of items that are sensitive to abrasive materials, vibration, and other environmental conditions.

The best foams for filtration applications

It is important to understand the best foam to meet your needs. Filter foams have a multitude of industrial applications and are important to maximize performance, longevity and cost. Filtration foams are specifically designed to perform this task well due to their density and strength.

Industrial filtration foams

Filtration foams have the appropriate durability and permeability to allow liquids or solids (depending on their application) to pass through them while blocking out the unwanted objects or particles. The durability of foams is one of the things that makes foam an excellent solution for filtration applications.

Generally, less dense open cell foam is used for filtration because it has a less rigid structure that holds up more over time but closed-cell foams can be used for specific applications. The best air filter foams will meet the High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) performance standards. 

Other good qualities of filter foams include: 

  • Low odor 
  • Lightweight 
  • Anti-microbial 
  • High chemical resistance 
  • High tensile strength 
  • Elongation and tear-resistant

Additives can be added to the foam to make it flame retardant, anti-static or static dissipative which further extends the usefulness of the filtration foam.

What are the best types of filter foam?

Reticulated foam is the most common and most effective type of foam used for filtration because the reticulation process removes a portion of the foam’s cell membranes and imprutities.  The lattice-like appearance of reticulated polyurethane foam is particularly useful as a filter foam. This allows the foam to be used in applications like fluid management, cleaning products, combustible engines, air compressors, electronic devices, and in many other industries. Reticulated foam comes in two different types: reticulated polyester and reticulated polyether. Other open-cell foams like ether polyurethane foam and ester polyurethane foam are also good for filtration because of their natural toughness.