What Is EPS Foam?

EPS Foam Fabrication

Expanded polystyrene foam, commonly referred to as EPS, is a closed-cell foam material that is both lightweight and rigid. EPS is composed of solid beads of polystyrene infused with pentane, a blowing agent that typically expands from 20-50 times its original size. As a result, it is a proven and excellent choice in the construction and foam packaging industry.

EPS is extremely versatile and cost-effective. It has exhibited excellent energy efficiency and shock absorbency and has become a staple for custom cut foam. While naturally having very good resistance to absorbing fluids due to its closed-cell structure, EPS can be enhanced with additional additives such as flame retardants and similar other substances to expand its applications to cryogenic foam forms.

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What Is EPS Foam Used For?

The demand for custom EPS foam products is steadily rising due to their numerous benefits. This versatile material has become indispensable in the packaging and construction industries, primarily because of its unique properties. Notably, EPS foam stands out as an exceptional manufactured material owing to its sustainability and recyclability.

EPS finds widespread application across various industries, some of which include:

  • Packaging: EPS foam is extensively used for packaging a wide range of goods, including food and other items.
  • Product Protection: It serves as an excellent protective casing for delicate items such as medical instruments and electronics.
  • Temperature Insulation: EPS foam excels at providing insulation against heat and cryogenic conditions, making it suitable for applications where temperature control is crucial.

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EPS Foam for Cryogenic Use

EPS foam cryogenic applications can be applied when low temperatures are required. Whether the foam is fabricated to store items (cryogenic casing), shipping/transportation (cryogenic packaging), or the creation of products such as cryogenic corks, rods or plugs.

While EPS foam is suitable for moderately low cryogenic temperatures, it may not be ideal for extremely low temperatures, such as those required for liquid helium or certain specialized cryogenic applications.

The professionals at PFI are well-equipped to comprehend your cryogenic product requirements and offer experienced recommendations tailored to your specific needs. We handle over 50% of all cryogenic plugs and corks in the US.

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EPS Foam for Packaging

PFI’s machining of EPS foam packaging products offer the industry an exceptional solution. This rigid foam is renowned for its unmatched protection and insulation capabilities, making it a cost-effective choice for your packaging needs. Its low-abrasive nature ensures gentle protection for delicate objects.

Its versatility allows easy foam customization through cutting or molding to tailor it to your business packaging, shipping and transportation requirements. With its lightweight design, it not only reduces transportation expenses but also excels in shock and vibration absorption, setting a new industry standard. Additionally, EPS foam boasts excellent thermal properties, ensuring your items remain safeguarded from temperature fluctuations, making it ideal for your cryogenic foam shipping needs.

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EPS Foam for Construction

EPS has been utilized in the construction industry for decades. Recently, the versatility of this substrate has dynamically increased and a number of new applications have been introduced on job sites around the globe.

PFI regularly manufactures custom cut EPS concrete forms for local Pennsylvania businesses. Referred to as foam formwork, these uniquely crafted EPS structures help construction teams create custom concrete structures. By acting as templates during the concrete pouring process, these foam forms enable builders to achieve intricate and complex designs that would otherwise be difficult or expensive to achieve.

Call PFI Advanced Equipment Manufacturers to discuss your construction industry needs.

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EPS Foam for Medical Applications

EPS foam is important in numerous medical applications because of its lightweight, thermal insulation, and shock-absorbing properties. One specific domain where EPS foam is useful is in prosthetics and orthotics. Its flexible properties make it an ideal choice for custom manufacturing of comfortable and well-fitting prosthetic limbs, braces, and supports, catering to individuals with mobility challenges.

EPS also serves another critical role in the healthcare sector, particularly in medical shipping foam applications. It is utilized to safeguard items during transportation, providing excellent protection from damage. Additionally, EPS foam is employed in crafting temperature-controlled devices like foam coolers, ensuring the safe transport of organs and vaccines.

EPS foam exhibits its versatility by assisting the medical industry in the following ways:

  • Patient Positioning Systems: Custom medical device machining can create positioning cushions and supports used during surgeries and medical procedures. These foam fabricated medical components offer comfort and support to patients while ensuring proper positioning for optimal medical outcomes.
  • Radiation Therapy Devices: EPS foam is used as a substrate material for constructing patient immobilization devices in radiation therapy. These devices help ensure accurate and consistent patient positioning during treatment, reducing the risk of radiation exposure to healthy tissues.
  • Wound Dressings: Sometimes used as a component in specialized wound dressings, EPS foam’s soft and porous structure allows for effective absorption and drainage of wound exudates, aiding in wound healing.
  • Disposable Medical Products: EPS foam is used in the production of various disposable medical products, such as specimen collection containers, pipette tip racks, and medical waste containers. Its low-cost production and ease of customization make it a suitable choice for single-use medical items.
  • Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy Equipment: EPS foam is utilized in PT equipment and rehabilitation devices such as exercise mats, balance pads, and therapy cushions.
  • Dental Models: EPS foam is used to create dental models used in dentistry for treatment planning, creating custom dental appliances, and practicing various dental procedures.

Contact PFI to discuss a foam fabrication quote to manufacture your medical components.

Is EPS Good For the Environment?

EPS is considered an environmentally friendly material; as it is composed of two byproducts resulting from the refinement of crude oil and natural gas. It is non-toxic and has exceptional insulative properties, which actively contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions.

Another advantage of EPS is that it is manufactured using all organic elements and does not include chlorofluorocarbons or hydrochlorofluorocarbons. Its anatomy solely consists of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen, making it an environmentally responsible option.

This composition makes EPS a sustainable choice as an environmentally friendly material. As a sustainable material, this foam becomes even more environmentally responsible when recycled, further reducing its impact on the planet and promoting a circular economy.

Recycling Of EPS

Due to EPS’s composition, expanded polystyrene is recyclable. EPS can be reprocessed and molded into new materials without incurring any residual waste products. Recently, many countries have developed EPS recycling systems and are being integrated as a standard component in their recycling programs.

Reach out to PFI to learn about our foam recycling initiatives, and help your business boast about using recycled materials to do your part as an environmentally-conscious company.

Features and Benefits of EPS Foams

PFI’s custom expanded polystyrene foams are an excellent product to incorporate into your next project. The benefits of EPS foams are endless, aside from their outstanding shock absorbency, being lightweight, durable, and easily customized, other key features include:

  • Low thermal conductivity
  • Dimensional stability and versatile mechanical strength
  • Chemical resistant
  • No water absorption and rot resistant
  • Recyclable and sustainable

The versatility of EPS foams and PFI’s cutting edge technology and expertise can create customized foam products to fit your needs. Request a foam manufacturing quote: (610) 856-7550

What Is the Difference Between EPS and XPS?

EPS and XPS are commonly mistaken for being the same product, but it’s important to note that they are actually two distinct materials. While both are terms for polystyrene foams that are rigid and closed-cell, there are marked differences in their foam fabrication.

EPS foam is an expanded polystyrene whereas the process is the application of heat and pressure to fuse the styrene beads together in a mold. In EPS manufacturing, the blowing agent exits the material very quickly leaving minute air pockets throughout the product. EPS is normally foam fabricated in large blocks that are then cut or shaped.

XPS foam is an extruded polystyrene in sheets of materials. The XPS fabrication process involves the extrusion of the polystyrene and subsequent additives through a dye where the materials are melted together. Extrude foams do not release their blowing agents as they stay embedded in the product.

PFI is both an EPS and XPS foam manufacturing company. Our comprehensive understanding of the variations and unique properties of foam materials allows us to recommend the most suitable option based on your specific product requirements. Contact us today to get started on your foam production project.

Trust PFI For Your Foam Manufacturing

At PFI we combine over 50 years of custom foam fabrication with the latest CNC machining tools to deliver the highest quality, customized EPS foam products to meet your needs. Contact PFI Advanced Equipment Manufacturing and put our knowledge and craftsmanship to work for you and expand your next custom EPS foam project.

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Brian Schubel

Brian Schubel is an accomplished Shop Manager and Machinist who began his career in 1985 with Albert Seisler Machine Corp. In January 2006, PFI acquired the Seisler business, and Brian became a PFI employee. In his 38+ years tenure in the shop he has be known as “the Mayor,” Brian has always been the go-to guy for all issues related to machining, fabrication and assembly. Other employees have relied on Brian’s knowledge and experience to guide them in their daily activities.