How Is EPE Foam Made?
As with most types of foam such as expanded polypropylene foam (EPP foam), expanded polyethylene (EPE foam), is manufactured by the application of high pressure, heat, as well as a blowing agent in a pressurized chamber called an autoclave.
The molten foaming polyethylene material is then made into small plastic beads in a EPE Foam Sheet Extrusion Machine that uses water to cool and form the beads.
The resultant plastic beads are used as feed material and injected into specialized moulds under high heat and pressure to force the beads to melt and take the shape of the mould.
The manufacturing process of EPE foam is pretty straightforward, and mostly involves the use of high temperatures and pressures in a sealed and pressurized container.
The leftover EPE material that is in the form of beads or defective pieces, or even material that has seeped through the material, can be collected and fed back into the machine to produce whole new pieces.
This is how to make polyethylene foam and is the principle behind the recycling of EPE foam material as well.
How is EPE Processed?
EPE is usually processed by the following methods:
Cutting, trimming, hot forming, and laminating.
It can also be processed by other unique methods depending upon the application.
Usually, customers require the EPE foam to be customized to a certain size and shape. This could be when they need to tightly pack some objects and the EPE must be cut in the form of the object.
This is done by hot forming. Hot forming s usually done only in special cases where the quality of the finished product needs to be very high. Sometimes, EPE foam is laminated along with some other material and then cut and hot formed.
Is Polyethylene Environmentally Friendly?
Polyolefin materials (Polypropylene and Polyethylene) have the lowest environmental impact compared to other material, traditional or synthetic products.
Polyolefin is formed from natural polyolefin resins. It has good electrical properties, acids, alkalis, good chemical resistance to solvents, resistance to environmental stress and good durability.
Whenever you hear of plastic and environment, what comes in your mind is a picture of PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride) binder lying in a landfill, toxic and unscathed, for a hundred years.
However, all plastics are not equal in this perspective. Fifty years ago, two new members of the polyolefin family were born; Polypropylene (PP) and Polyethylene (PE). The two plastics can do all the functions of the traditional glass, metal, paper or PVC.
They can be die-cut for presentations and packaging, printed on; foil embossed as well as perform all the functions of binders and other traditional types of information packaging.
PP and PE have a significant wear resistance and increased durability compared to traditional products such as paper. A distinct factor remains that EPE products are environmentally-friendly.
These are the environmental benefits of plastics Polypropylene (PP) and Polyethylene (PE):
They are widely recycled
They are biodegradable (they break down to hydrogen and carbon).
They generate fewer waste products in disposal and production.
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