People often think all foam is a variation of all the same thing, just in different densities. But the truth is there is a huge variety of types of foam, what they excel at, and how they’re used. The foam of your coffee cup and the foam of your mattress are wildly different.
Likewise, the type of foam used in packaging comes in a variety of different materials. The “best” one depends on the item being shipped and the requirements. These are the most common types of foam you’ll find in packaging:
The Types of Foam Used in Packaging
1. Polyethylene (PE) Foam
This is one of the most common types of foam you’ll find in packaging. If you don’t know what it is (or what you need for your package) – there’s a good chance it’s PE foam. This is also the most versatile of the foams in color and density varieties, and can be fabricated in a huge number of ways.
Benefits of Polyethylene Foam in Packaging
Sustainable - made from recycled materials and all scrap is recycled (waste free)
Fast and Easy to fabricate and bond
Can be heat bonded
Wide variety of densities and color
2. Polyurethane (PU) Foam
PU foam is the go-to foam when you want your package to be hands-on. This flexible foam has a plush feel and can be further customized with adhesive fabrics and films. The end result is much more impressionable textile experience over other types of foams.
Benefits of Polyurethane Foam in Packaging
Soft and plush for hands-on touching
Sustainable - all post-industrial waste is recycled (waste free)
Easy to fabricate and cut
Accepts Pressure Sensitive Adhesives (PSA) to add more fabrics and films to the surface
3. Cross–Linked Polyethylene (XLPE) Foam
XLPE foam is a popular choice for influencer kits and marketing materials. It’s unique from other packaging materials in that it’s both rigid and durable, yet doesn’t scratch paint. It also can be customized in unique ways to create a splash.
Benefits of Cross–Linked Polyethylene Foam in Packaging
EPE and EPP are immediately recognizable by their distinct texture. These foams are made out of expandable beads that can be used to set rigidity – in low densities it’s very firm, but in high densities it’s yielding and flexible.
Benefits of Expanded Polyethylene/Expanded Polypropylene Foams in Packaging
EPE will not scratch painted surfaces
EPP is very firm in low densities (ideal for stacking strength)
Larger bun sizes offer a lot of yielding flexibility
Foam Industries is a custom protective packaging company specializing in foam – with additional wood and plastic fabrication services. Our custom foam fabrication services are ideal for any type of packaging, display, or support service needed – from design to finished product.
Get a Sample
Sometimes, you need to get a feel for something. Foam, plastic, and wood samples available on request.