Upholstery Foam: Commercial Uses, Types & Importance
Upholstery foam has been used commercially since the 20th century. Polyurethane, a material commonly made into flexible foam, was first seen in Germany somewhere around the 1930s. In a commercial sense, this kind of foam began making the rounds in Europe from the 1950s onwards. It was NASA that brought about memory foam, and they did so back in 1966. Although this contouring type of foam has been around for over 50 years, it's only been in the last 10-15 years or so, foam has become more popular on a commercial level.
Why is foam used?
Foam is lightweight and cost-effective to produce. It can be manufactured into several different densities, which makes it a durable and versatile product. Over time, the development of foam has allowed a vast range of commercial furnishings and other products to be designed and created. In a way, it offers a somewhat endless opportunity for manufacturers and producers. Foam can be applied in so many ways that it is readily available to any buyer.
Types of Upholstery Foam Used in Commercial Industries
For upholstery, commercial industries stick to higher densities. You won’t find a restaurant using memory foam because it’s quite soft, but high-density foams are often used in these settings as they will have a lot of traffic. Many types of upholstery foams are suitable; it just depends on what each business needs the foam for. For example, High-density foam is more suited for seat cushions, soft foam for seat backing, and a medium foam for things like chair arms. There’s even a specific type of foam that is more popular for bar seats. This is an extra high-density foam which is preferred to make bar seats longer wearing, known as heavy duty reconstituted foam. As another example, a sofa may use several types of foam in its design. Seat backs and cushions are almost always lined with foam.
Which Commercial Industries use Upholstery Foam?
A better question might be which industries don’t use foam! But here’s some common examples of foam being used in our modern-day: The furniture industry uses foam exclusively alongside their other materials (like wood for the frame and various springs). Looking more at commercial furniture, you can expect the seats of any restaurant, cinema, theatre, spa, and shop to utilise foam in one way or another.
Car and other automobile industries also use upholstery foam. Seats, headrests, armrests, and even parts of the car’s body will contain upholstery foam cut to size and shape.
Foam is also used in the medical industry, which may not feel very commercial but consider this – pillows, leg and armrests, foam-wrapped crutches, wheelchair seats and much more. Once you start thinking about every cushioned surface that you come into contact with or see in these industries, you will quickly realise how commercial upholstery foam is as a product.
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