Particle foam adopts a thick skin

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Skinning is a way of finishing particle foam surfaces. This procedure expands the potential applications of particle foam considerably. RUCH NOVAPLAST has 20 years of innovative experience with this method.

At the end of the 1990s, skinning was created by means of heat and high-pressure water jets; today the surface of the moulded parts is melted on by means of variotherm tempering at temperatures in excess of 250°C. The granules liquefy. Once the heat has dropped to the demoulding temperature, they form a plasticized coat with a thickness between 150 and 500µm.

This method creates a durable surface that stands out thanks to its puncture resistance and good wear properties, and is similar to injection moulding. In contrast to more complex injection moulding procedures, RUCH NOVAPLAST uses this method to produce large volumes of stable, tooled series parts in one process step. The positive qualities of the EPP, for instance its insulation properties and resilience, are not compromised. RUCH NOVAPLAST has used this process successfully for many years to manufacture chin parts for motorcycle helmets. Skins are even applied to air distribution components in chassis.

EPP is permanently temperature resistant at around 100°C. Above this temperature, it has its limitations. This is where particle foams made of high-performance thermoplastics, such as polyamide, are used. However, these are difficult to process with conventional water jet methods. An alternative tempering method of the foam tool, which can also be used for skinning, is much better suited for processing polyamide thanks to the high temperatures. For instance, these polyamide moulded parts can be used to insulate pipes that become hotter than 200°C.