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Foam: The Problem Solver

Amy Fairbrother cushioning custom design foam packaging

Burnett Process can custom design and manufacture foam for all of your needs

Have you ever just sat around and thought about foam and the impact it has on your life?  Probably not, but there’s a good chance you’re sitting on some right now and you’re probably glad the padding is there, correct? There’s also a good chance that the last item you purchased was packaged in foam or the item itself probably has a foam component in it.  Foam can be a buffer, separator, protector, supporter, insulator, silencer and the list goes on, especially if you were to analyze how foam is used in commercial, industrial and residential applications. 


So what is foam made of?  Foam is a substance that is formed by trapping many gaseous bubbles in a liquid or solid consisting of polydisperse gas bubbles separated by draining films.  But lets not get too technical; today lets just talk about characteristics and applications because it’s the applications that make working with foam a little different.  


Closed cell, or non-reticulated foam

There are basically two types of foam. There is polyethylene foam -- also called closed cell foam or non-reticulated foam.  In closed cell foam, the gas that is used to create the foam forms individual pockets. These pockets are separate and surrounded by material.  It has a rubbery feel to it and you might be familiar with rubbery neoprene commonly used in exercise mats and washers for your garden hose. 


Then there is polyurethane or open-cell foam or reticulated foam; the gas pockets are all connected with each other. It is easiest to think of open-cell foam as a sponge. It is able to absorb things in the air pockets that it is sharing. It is designed to deliver maximum protection from the least amount of foam. It is lightweight, shatter-proof, flexible, and is not affected by mold, mildew, or bacteria. The foam can be specified at different sizes, densities, or even in sheets. You might be familiar with open cell foam in packaging applications providing cushion / protection while the particular product is in transit. 



The most common foam for packaging products is polystyrene foam but there are different treatments to cater to your individual needs.  
Open Cell or reticulated foam corner blocks
Certain foams are designed to be static dissipative. Another type is convoluted where the ridges in the foam allow for sound to be absorbed and what’s even better about foam is that it is easily recyclable.


Burnett Process provides the following types of foam products and will custom design foam to meet your respective needs:


Corner Blocks: custom made to your specifications

Egg Crate: mattress padding as well as a specialty packing material for fragile and sensitive equipment.

Padding: for shipping valuable items

Protective Packaging: Higher level of product protection

Cushioning: Adds that extra cushion needed for packaging or other uses.

Industrial Packaging: Larger scale packaging.

Polyurethane Foam: high resiliency flexible foam seating, rigid foam insulation panels, microcellular foam seals and gaskets.


Burnett Process, Inc. has been a foam fabricator for 55 years. Our experience speaks for itself. Let us guide you in your choice for your next foam application. Our engineers will specify the right type and amount of foam for your application. Please request a quote today!


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  • Justin on

    Hello – I currently have a small furniture business and I would like to start produce large foam blocks for kids. Ideally, the foam would be at least 2 inches thick, soft to the touch, in colors, but with enough density to have structural integrity – and so that I can cut the pieces using my CNC machine. Justin

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