What is Instant Foam?
Instant foam packaging is a chemical comprising two materials: polyol resin and isocyanate. This packaging solution can expand up to 60 times their initial liquid volume when they come into contact. They come in various shapes and sizes but are commonly found in canisters with spray nozzles. Applying the instant foam spray with a nozzle as small as a coffee stirrer or straw is simple and easy.
What is Instant Foam Packaging?
Instant foam packaging provides a strong customised cushioning protection border for goods during shipment. It is versatile and flexible as it can mould itself around packaged goods.
The expansion of the foam is ideal for protecting fragile, high-value, and sensitive products during shipment. It provides shock and surface protection and excellent thermal insulation. It also prevents air infiltration and maintains product fidelity. With these characteristics, instant foam is an ideal transportation solution for products such as lamp bases, avionics components, large fossils, computers, chandeliers, and other high-value or uniquely shaped objects.
Packaging Foam vs Instant Foam
There is a wide selection of foam packaging available. Some examples include polystyrene sheets, packing peanuts, foam-in-place and foam-in-bag, and polyethene sheets. These are all types of foam packaging that are suitable for various types of shipment. When it comes to foam packaging, it is generally one of the best options due to its low cost and environmental friendliness. Since each foam packaging item is made differently, the results and reviews may vary. For example, Polystyrene is used to make expanded polystyrene and packing peanuts. Polyurethane is used to make foam-in-place packaging. As a result, each of these packing foams is best suited to protect a specific type of product during transportation.
Benefits of using instant foam packaging
Water penetrates packaging quickly, exposing items to bacteria and deterioration. In contrast, the instant foam retains its properties no matter how wet it becomes. The instant foam also gets into the smallest nooks and crannies, lowering the likelihood of water getting into the packaging in the first place.
Heat energy is lost when heat flows from a warmer to a colder medium by conduction, convection, or radiation. Instant foam packaging is filled with air pockets that trap air, making it a poor heat conductor. These characteristics make foam an excellent insulator for blocking the transfer of heat energy away from products.
Surface and Shock Protection
The foam fills the surrounding spaces, creating a tight-fitting cushion that moulds itself around the item. Hence, it protects shipment contents from shock and surface damage by creating a pocket of protection.
Instant foam is an excellent filler in terms of efficiency and footprint reduction. It is a more efficient method of packaging your goods and increases productivity. Because shipping companies now charge extra for the dimensional weight (DIM), using instant foam results in significant cost savings.
As polyurethane foam expands to fill a space, it provides numerous advantages to those looking for a flexible insulating material. It is perfect for filling irregularly shaped spaces.
Reduces and Eliminates Damage Expenses
Instant foam minimises or eliminates the possibility of businesses having to write off damage expenses as the package contents are tightly protected.
Types of Instant Foam Packaging
Instant Foam Spray
Canned foam usually comes in two types; expanding and non-expanding. Non-expanding foam is ideal for packing because expanding foam may crush items or take up too much space. The foam is sprayed into a bag and placed with products before shipping.
This foam-in-place system provides a customised cushioning mould for products. It is ideal for high volume, medium to large applications that require cushioning or blocking and bracing to protect goods. Designed with the operator in mind, it has endless customisation options and robust features that deliver greater packaging process control and efficiencies. Hence, it ensures consistent package protection, eliminates waste and maximises labour productivity.
How to use Instant Foam Packaging
Place a plastic bag into the container. The bag should be large enough to fit in the container and drape over the sides several inches.
Spray the inside of the plastic bag with instant foam, completely covering the bottom and filling it with about one-fourth. Pick the box up a few inches off the ground and let it drop two or three times. This will set the foam evenly. Fold the remainder of the plastic bag over the instant foam.
Place the items in the box on top of the plastic bag and press down slightly for a snug fit. The foam will “mould” itself around the contents’ shape.
Lay another large plastic bag over the items and spray the foam into the box about an inch from the top of the container. Once the foam is dry, seal the package for shipping.
Alternatively, using foam-in-place packaging systems can automate these steps and increase efficiency.
Contact of skin
If wet foam contacts the skin, do not use water. Use a thick layer of petroleum jelly or Vaseline over the affected areas, then wrap your hands in plastic. This could include plastic kitchen wrap, dishwashing gloves, or even a shopping bag. Wait for 1 hour. During that time, the skin will release natural oils from under the foam, the Vaseline will be on top of the foam, and the plastic bag will hold body heat close. Altogether, this will soften the foam enough to remove it carefully from the skin. If necessary, repeat the process. Once most of the foam is removed, use a pumice stone to remove the remaining residue from the skin gently. Anything remaining will wear off within a few days. No solvent will remove cured (dry) foam. Cured foam is not harmful to health.
Storage or Reuse
To store unused portions, bend the straw back and attach it to the knob atop the dispensing trigger. Store the used product upright below 90°F (33°C). Instant foam can be reused within three weeks if stored properly. To reuse, cut the end off the straw (removing any cured foam), shake well and apply as directed.
Do’s and Don’ts of Instant Foam Packaging
- Stabilise products in packaging with just enough instant foam to fill any gaps to prevent them from moving
- Wait until the instant foam dries before cutting the excess off with a utility knife or using a solvent.
- Don’t use instant foam near a spark or open flame as it is highly flammable.
- Don’t use instant foam around the wiring as it can harm the wires. The foam expands, and when it does, it can pull the wires apart.
- Please don’t overlook the expansion of instant foam because it expands, but not all of them expand equally.
In conclusion, instant foam packaging can reduce the need for void fill by precisely filling around and entirely cushioning an item, making it a cost-effective and versatile solution.