Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Olympics, Foam Molding, and You

The Olympics, Foam Molding, and YouYou might already be thinking, "I don't know what the Olympics have to do with me, let alone foam." If that's the case, hopefully you can consider yourself somewhat enlightened (or at least entertained) by the time you finish reading this article.

We'll start with the Olympics. Before the summer's over, the Olympics in London will have come and gone. Around the world, viewers will have the opportunity to see more athleticism than they have all year, some of it will even be more athleticism than they can handle (racewalking anyone?).

However, the most highly anticipated events always seem to be the gymnastics events. To prepare for these events, the Olympians almost always have taken advantage of foam protective gear. For example, you may have seen, heard of, or even had the opportunity to use a "foam pit." Foam pits are a common sight in gymnastics, and are exactly what they sound like - large pits of soft, compressible, and very-forgiving foam. Without these pits of soft foam, gymnasts would not be able to practice the highflying and often very dangerous maneuvers they frequently dazzle audiences with. In the winter Olympics the same can be said for the highly anticipated ski and snowboard events, where contestants throw themselves off jumps and execute seemingly impossible tricks and stunts. At some point, all of them perfected their technique in the foam-pit. But what does that have to do with foam?

Foam molding is the process foam fabricators use to take a raw material and create foam shapes for virtually any need or application. Beyond creating the foam for foam pits, foam fabricators also manufacture sporting pads of all varieties, orthopedic pads, medical packaging, shipping foam, and an almost limitless variety of foam products in between. That's where you come into the equation. Without the quality foam that's given Olympic athletes the opportunity to train in a safe environment, your life would also be different as well.

Whether you participated in sports as a child or recently had a procedure done at the hospital, you've benefited from foam fabrication and molding. Did you use shoulder pads as a child when you played football or hockey? Then you've benefitted from foam molding. Or maybe you use a foam roller to "roll out" tension in your muscles after a workout. Again, you're taking advantage of foam fabrication. You will often see foam moldings in other roles as case inserts, packaging, pallet cushioning, automotive components, medical products, yoga mats, and much more. Chances are, if it's soft and it's foam - it's a foam molding.

Without foam molding the stunts pulled by gymnasts and snowboarders at the Olympics would be a little less exciting, packaging used to safely ship products would be less effective, and with the amount of foam the medical industry uses for everything from device packaging to rehabilitation, doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals would have to find new solutions for many of their existing needs. Take a moment and ask yourself, how would your life be different without foam molding?

Whether you look at your house, your car, or the Olympics on T.V., chances are you don't go a day without taking advantage of foam molding or mold fabrication. In addition to the frequency you probably use foam molded products, you also benefit from frequent innovation brought to the foam industry as well.

For example, many years ago the foam products you took advantage of would have been standard foam, which benefits us in a number of ways. However, modern foam has been engineered to withstand all of the environments and applications we subject it to, meaning we can always have the reliability, cushioning, and coating we require, everywhere we need it.