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Merryweather Foam Blog

Since 1948, we have been industry leaders in fabricating unique, foam components for customers in the medical, sound absorption, automotive, and unique packaging industries. At Merryweather Foam, we pride ourselves on our ability to combine experience, innovation, and excellent customer service. We have the knowledge, manpower & equipment to help you get the job done. Visit our website to see our fabrication portfolio as well as our capabilities.

Advanced Cushioning & Gasketing with PORON® Urethanes

PORON® Urethane foams from Rogers Corporation offer high performance solutions that help solve a variety of industry problems. Serving a range of markets, from mobile communications to automotive to more general industrial needs, PORON® Urethane foams exceed performance expectations from one use to the next. Whether sealing against dust, managing vibrations, or providing impact protection, PORON® Urethanes can help.


With an impressive catalog of options, Rogers' PORON® Urethane foams are available in a wide range of thickness options. In addition to performance within an application, PORON® Urethane materials are also easy to fabricate. And while features such as excellent compression set resistance, low outgassing, and good chemical resistance are important, Rogers' materials provide peace of mind. With proprietary technology and a thorough understanding of the markets they serve, Rogers engineers its materials with the end use in mind. But with materials of this quality, "end" is not a word they use very often. Visit our materials page for more information on PORON® or please contact us and we would be happy to help you.

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Cutting Up and Down: The Digital Knife Machine

Digital Knife Cutting is CAD driven which allows for precise cuts of thin foam material.

Imagine wanting to cut shapes from thin sheets of foam. You'd probably reach for an X-Acto knife. A very sharp thin blade means it cuts readily while being easy to maneuver. That's why it's often the first choice for cutting materials like card, plastics, and even leather.

The digital knife is the industrial version of the trusty X-Acto. Computer control brings accuracy and repeatability, so every piece comes off the machine exactly as designed.

Operating principles
Sheet material goes on a large flat bed. A gantry or bridge spans the sheet and carries the knife holder. One motor moves the holder back and forth along the gantry while a second moves the gantry over the sheet. A third motor inside the knife holder provides rotation, turning the knife so the blade is always facing in the direction of movement.

All three motors are under computer control, with their movements synchronized to drive the knife through the sheet material and cut out the shape needed. The path taken by the knife comes directly from a CAD file of the part. With no special tooling needed, it's possible to design and cut out a shape in just minutes.

Reciprocating motion
Anyone who's ever used an X-Acto knife knows it takes some effort to actually make a cut. The material needs holding still while the knife is pulled through, which isn't the case with the digital knife machine. Instead, the knife oscillates up and down. The movement is only over a fraction of an inch and happens too fast to see. It's really not much more than a vibration but it has the effect of pushing the material down as the knife cuts. That's why foam or other material being cut doesn't need clamping in place.

Why digital knife cutting?
Many people know flat bed die cutting as the way to produce complex shapes from sheet material. It's a very fast and repeatable method, but needs a crucial piece of tooling; the steel rule die. Making these dies adds a step between designing the part or shape and having it come off the machine. It also means a little set up time on the machine.

The digital knife cuts slower than the flat bed die cutter, but there's no waiting while the die is made, tested, modified and tested again, and no set up on the machine. For the customer in a hurry the digital knife gets them their pieces quicker, although for larger quantities die cutting usually works out cheaper per piece.

Benefits of digital knife cutting

  • Cut complex shapes from sheet material.
  • Tight radii, smooth radii, and even sharp corners are possible.
  • Smooth edges with no steps or jagged edges in curved surfaces.
  • Good accuracy and repeatability (little piece-to-piece variation.)
  • No tooling, so no up-front costs or extended lead times.

Merryweather capabilities

A bed of 60" by 120" handles large foam sheets, and "daylight," (the space between the bed and the gantry,) is enough that several sheets can be stacked and cut together, saving time and money. "Nesting" software works out how to get the most pieces out of a sheet, or alternatively the machine can produce one very large shape. Pockets are easily cut by lifting the knife over the material to where it's needed before resuming cutting. Programming direct from CAD means the machine is as suitable for producing one-offs as high volume orders.

Tooling-free

When there's no time or money to make a steel rule die, digital knife cutting is the way to go. Programmed directly from the CAD file, it's a fast, accurate and repeatable way of cutting complex shapes from thin sheets of material.

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Memory Foam: An Interesting Past-A Bright Future

As our space program becomes privatized, it may be a good time to consider all of the products that we have today because of space research. They include freeze dried meals, home blood pressure kits, non-stick cooking surfaces, hand-held vacuum cleaners, marathon runner blankets and memory foam.

Memory foam, also known in the industry as visco foam, visco elastic foam, temper foam, slow-recovery foam, and low-resilience polyurethane (LRP) was first created in 1966 by a NASA research center. The foam was initially designed to make safer aircraft cushions. It was first called "slow spring back foam" but because it was temperature sensitive, one of its original creators first referred to it as temper-foam. The foam is made by feeding gas into a polymer matrix in a very specific way. Visco foam, visco elastic foam, temper foam, slow-recovery foam, and low-resilience polyurethane (LRP) was first created in 1966 by a NASA research center. The foam was initially designed to make safer aircraft cushions. It was first called "slow spring back foam" but because it was temperature sensitive, one of its original creators first referred to it as temper-foam. The foam is made by feeding gas into a polymer matrix in a very specific way.

Visco elastic foam was not only initially used for aircraft cushions, but for x-ray table mats and inside football helmets. In the 1980's when NASA released temper-foam into the public domain, the process of properly making it was still a challenge, especially compared to other types of foams. This made it very expensive and few companies took on the task of processing it and using it.

Today, the processes for creating the open cell foam formulations have improved to the point of stabilization across the industry  been improved to the point where more companies are confident in using it and fabricating it. Our processes create, what we feel, is a superior product at affordable prices.

Along with better processes and lower prices, memory foam is now being used in more products than ever. You can find visco elastic foam being used in mattresses, pillows, and furniture. It is an excellent material for shock and sound absorption. It is used in a range of business sectors including aircraft, marine, medical, furniture and hospitality. Visco elastic foam being used in mattresses, pillows, and furniture. It is an excellent material for shock and sound absorption. It is used in a range of business sectors including aircraft, marine, medical, furniture and hospitality.

As improvements continue to be made in the production of visco elastic foam, the future for the material looks bright. It has an amazing amount of applications due to its versatility. It is light weight and cushioning. It is flexible and mildew resistant. Visco elastic foam has a low thermal conductivity, low water vapor transmission and is resilient. While many are used to seeing this product manufactured in a traditional yellow color, it can be produced in a wide selection of hues. You can order memory foam in blues, greens, oranges, pinks, yellows and, if you prefer, white visco elastic foam, the future for the material looks bright. It has an amazing amount of applications due to its versatility. It is light weight and cushioning. It is flexible and mildew resistant. Visco elastic foam has a low thermal conductivity, low water vapor transmission and is resilient. While many are used to seeing this product manufactured in a traditional yellow color, it can be produced in a wide selection of hues. You can order memory foam in blues, greens, oranges, pinks, yellows and, if you prefer, white.

From its high-tech beginnings in the space program to uses as bedding, sound proofing and even packing material, visco elastic foam is becoming increasing widely used. When you need memory foam fabricated for your specific application, we invite you to contact us at Merryweather Foam. We offer a variety of visco elastic foam in stock in bun and sheet form. Visco elastic foam is becoming increasing widely used. When you need memory foam fabricated for your specific application, we invite you to contact us at Merryweather Foam. We offer a variety of visco elastic foam in stock in bun and sheet form.

The next time you come across this remarkably versatile foam, remember its roots and its applications. We also hope you will remember Merryweather Foam as your supplier of visco elastic or memory foam. We look forward to working with you! 

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Team, Family and Customization: Three Core Values

2015 is nearly finished. Before we say goodbye to the current year, we want to pause to say "Thank You" to our clients, suppliers, and employees! From the beginning of our company history in 1948, relationships have been the common thread that knit the fabric of our company values. For over 67 years, we have been fueled by three core values that have propelled the company for generations:

  • We are Team Driven – Staying competitive in world markets means maximizing resources. At Merryweather Foam, that includes working diligently as a team. This team focus keeps us moving ahead more efficiently. A large number of our team members, from the factory floor to sales offices have been members of our team for several decades--allowing us to provide consistent results and solutions to our customers. We not only work together as a team, but we partner with our clients to better deliver the products they need.

  • We are Family Owned  Merryweather Foam began as a family owned business and remains family owned to this day. In 1948, Merryweather Foam Latex Company was founded in a humble Akron, Ohio suburb by Lloyd, Raymond and Gerald Merryweather. At the time, the trio lived next to an engineer from Goodyear who was working on an air foam product. Gradually, the Merryweather's were able to grow their business, creating foam mattresses and foam hair curlers that were so popular from the 50's through the 70's. In the 1960s, steady growth led Merryweather Foam to expand to a 90,000 square foot facility in Barberton, Ohio. By the mid 70's, with relationships with he support of Whirlpool and other manufacturing companies, Merryweather had expanded its facilities to include the main Akron plant, three Cincinnati facilities and were now building a plant in Sylacauga, Alabama. By the mid 1980's, under competitive pressure, Merryweather Foam was purchased by Carl R. McCune, an accountant who was familiar with the company. By the 1990's, the company was again on the grow, and the company built a manufacturing plant near El Paso, Texas. Today, the family values, so prominent in the founding of the company, still play a major part of our philosophy as Mr. McCune's son, and grandchildren actively operate the company.

  • We are Customer Service Fanatics – We have what it takes to partner with you on your next flexible foam fabrication project--no matter how large or small. Through the years, we've had the pleasure of working with small businesses and large corporations to offer flexible foam solutions as well as pressure sensitive adhesive lamination. We've created custom products for Dr. Scholl's and Sears. We've partnered with Whirlpool and GE Medical. In our early days, we were even the supplier of custom designed foam rubber pads on which two monkeys rode in one of the first space capsules in the U.S. If you need a custom flexible foam fabrication, we invite you to contact Merryweather Foam. Put our experience in custom flexible foam fabrication to work for you and bring us your next challenge! 

By maintaining the values of being team driven, family owned, and by focusing on customer solutions, we continue to serve our worldwide clients with integrity and value. In this season of gratefulness, it is an excellent opportunity for us to take a look back as well as to look forward. For those who we have had the pleasure of serving through the years we are profoundly grateful. For those will be working with soon, we welcome you. Thank you, and have a prosperous new year.

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An Overview of Die Cutting and Its Benefits

Die cutting is a dynamic process involving the creation of just about any shape from the material of your choice. We've been fabricating unique components made of foam for a range of industries since 1948, and we love what we do.

Die cutting offers a range of benefits and possibilities for your business. We use a highly effective form of die cutting called flatbed die cutting, which has advantages over other methods like rotary die cutting.

How Die Cutting Works
Die cutting uses steel rule dies to cut the desired shaped with a high degree of precision and accuracy. Mechanical or hydraulic pressure is then used almost like a cookie cutter to press into the material and create the desired shape. One type of die cutting called rotary die cutting (also referred to as gasket style cutting) involves unwinding material and putting it into a hydraulic press. An engraved steel cylinder die is then used to cut the desired shapes.

Both rotary and flatbed style die cutting allow for cutting either completely through the material or just to the release liner; this is referred to as a butt-cut or kiss-cut. Both methods also allow for consistent component creation to very accurate tolerances as well as the creative freedom to make just about any shape and size.

Flatbed Die Cutting
Flatbed die cutting, the process we use, can stamp out specific shapes of foam using steel rule dies and hydraulic pressure. It has a range of features and benefits that make it perfect for cutting foam materials to just about any shape and size you need:

The Process
The cutting die is a strip of thin steel almost like a tape measure and is referred to as a steel rule die. This flexible strip is bent to the precise shape that will be cut and then fixed in place within a slot. Once assembled, the die is then mounted into the press face down. The foam is positioned beneath the die assembly and pressed down. The pressure of the press forces the steel edge through the material and produces the desired shape with a high degree of accuracy. Cut depth is completely controllable so that the pieces can either stay within the sheet or be cut completely free.

The Benefits of Flatbed Die Cutting:

Flexibility and Creativity
Our high quality foam materials lend themselves to being cut using the flatbed process with flexible design possibilities. For us, it is a superior process over rotary die cutting or any other die cutting process (including laser or waterjet). A range of materials including any type of foam can be effectively cut using the flatbed method.

Lower Cost
Flatbed cutting is also affordable. Even if the needed component volumes are relatively low, flatbed cutting can keep expenses low because the dies in this process are less expensive than those used in rotary die cutting.

No Curving or Bowing of Thick Materials
Flatbed processes use a direct vertical cut, allowing for a tighter tolerance thicker materials like higher volumes of foam. By contrast, rotary tooling can cause curving of the material edge in thicker cuts.

Complex Shapes are Possible
In addition to design flexibility and affordability, a range of complex shapes are possible with flatbed die cutting. Complicated two-dimensional shapes are much easier to create with flatbed cutting than other methods like rotary die cutting.

Accurate and Repeatable
The steel rule die helps to ensure that the identical shape can be cut over and over again as needed.

Fast and Efficient
Nesting allows for the combining of multiple dies on one base to cut numerous parts simultaneously. Parts generation using a press is extremely fast and efficient. Ready to learn more? Give us a call and we'll discuss all the ways custom foam die cutting can work for your business.

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