How to open a foam rubber production
Foam rubber (polyurethane foam) is a soft and elastic material that is used in furniture and clothing production, as well as in the manufacture of soft toys and for packaging fragile goods. The production of foam rubber in Russia at the moment is not able to fully meet the demand for products, so the niche is considered relatively free, which opens up opportunities for start-up entrepreneurs.
Foam rubber production and application
Despite the fact that every year the volume of foam rubber production in Russia is increasing by an average of 7%, in order to meet the demand of all consumer companies of this material, it has to be imported from abroad. Considering the bulk of the foam rubber with a relatively low weight, logistics costs often exceed the cost of the material itself. Considering these factors, each new mini-plant immediately acquires regular wholesale customers who want to save money on components for their products.
Polyurethane foam is widely used in the production of the following goods:
- upholstered furniture;
- children's toys;
- scouring pads and scouring pads;
- car seats;
- sports equipment;
- packing materials.
In addition, during construction and repairs, special noise-insulating foam rubber is used, which has slightly different properties. back to contents ↑
Foam rubber production technology
The production of PU foam is considered harmful, so it is better to select a production facility on the outskirts or outside the city - this will help avoid problems with supervisory authorities and save on rent. In addition, workers must strictly adhere to safety rules by using personal protective equipment such as respirators, goggles and gloves.
Components for making foam rubber
The main components used for the production of polyurethane foam are polyester, isocyant and water. Polyester and isocyant are complex chemical compounds, the production of which on our own will entail additional costs for equipment and qualified personnel, for a mini-plant, therefore, it is most advisable to order raw materials from specialized laboratories.
Methods for the production of polyurethane foam
Equipment for the production of foam rubber
- Continuous production technology.
- Batch production technology.
The batch method of foam rubber production is simpler, which is why it is ideal for small businesses and newcomers to the industry. At the same time, the equipment for the batch production method is somewhat cheaper, and this method does not require special training. The equipment can also be installed by a company that sells and installs working equipment. The services of such a company usually do not exceed 10% of the cost of the machines themselves. Minimum set of equipment:
- Foaming machine.
- Thermal camera.
- Foam rubber cutting machine.
- Dosing device.
- Block forms.
Additionally, you can purchase a crushing apparatus (it will allow production to be waste-free) as well as a packaging machine (for rolling foam sheets into rolls and packing them in plastic wrap). The minimum set of equipment can be purchased from $ 7000.
Batch technology in the production of flexible polyurethane foam
This production technology does not require large financial costs for equipment and personnel. This is why it is suitable for small businesses.
Business idea profitability
And that 2 $ x 100 - 140 $ = 60 $ profit. With a large production facility, a $ 7,000 line can produce 10 tons of elastic polyurethane per month.
Quality foam properties
The main parameters for assessing the quality of foam rubber:
- Strength of flexible polyurethane foam. At this stage, the level of side-to-side strength is checked, which is determined by the level of elongation at break.
- Elasticity. This indicator is directly dependent on the rigidity of elastic polyurethane foam, the more rigidity, the less elasticity. This quality point is checked by measuring the height of the "jump" of the ball that falls on the specimen.
- Stiffness. This indicator is checked by compressing a sample of the product by 40% of the total length of the sample. Stiffness depends on the size of the pores, the larger the size of the balloons, the higher the hardness.
- The density level of polyurethane foam is measured in kg / cubic meter. And this is the main indicator of quality.
- Percentage of permanent deformation. This parameter indicates the ability of flexible polyurethane foam to maintain its original performance throughout its entire service life. It is measured by squeezing a sample of polyurethane foam for a certain amount of time, and the percentage of the initial values is established.
- The comfort of elastic PU foam. This parameter distinguishes furniture foam rubber of HR marking.
Based on these main estimated parameters, it is divided into three main types:
Foam rubber is a long-lived material. Invented over 80 years ago, it is still in great demand today.
The production of foam rubber is a successful project, since the volume of its production does not cover the demand on the domestic market. And it is economically unprofitable to import material from abroad because of its cheapness.
Foam rubber is widely used:
- as a cushioning material to cushion vibrations during the transportation of fragile goods;
- in the production of upholstered furniture;
- in medicine ...
Prospects of foam rubber production
At the stage of business planning, it is necessary to assess its prospects. The demand for foam rubber in your region directly depends on the nearby enterprises.
Therefore, the key to success is to build connections with your potential clients early.
Foam rubber production technology
The manufacture of foam rubber is environmentally unsafe. For its release, chemicals are used that are harmful to health.
Foam rubber production begins with mixing chemical compositions in a special mixer until foam is formed.
Then the resulting substance is poured into a special mold, where it cools and solidifies for some time. After 24 - 72 hours, the finished material is cut into sheets of the required thickness.
Equipment for the production of foam rubber (price)
Every year the volume of furniture sales increases by 7-10%, which means that the need for consumables is also growing. As for plush toys, foam rubber chips are used in their manufacture.
Polyurethane foam production can be divided into two ways:
- continuous ;
The second method is less expensive and simpler; it also does not require special education from the working staff.
- foaming machine;
- cutting machine;
- thermal chamber;
- molding block;
- pumps, hoses.
Before putting the equipment into operation, it is recommended to use the services of an electrical laboratory.
Full production will require the purchase of a waste crusher, as well as a special packaging machine. The equipment can be purchased all at once as a turnkey production line, or separately.
Key business aspects
→ Registration of an individual entrepreneur, tax registration and the choice of the form of taxation.
→ Lease of a production workshop with an area of 150-350 m².
→ The main buyers will be enterprises and individual entrepreneurs producing upholstered furniture. You can agree to a deferred payment, but if you cooperate with trusted people.
When choosing a niche for activities in the production sphere, one should focus on the demand for labor results and the presence of competitors in the sales market. The product must be in high consumer demand, regardless of the season and the state of the economy in the country. One of these areas of activity is the manufacture of foam rubber. Starting a business will not be cheap for its organizer, however, with a competent approach to business, all investments will quickly pay off.
Foam rubber is a synthetic material made from polyurethane foam. Its name is due to the brand name of the Scandinavian manufacturer Porolon, which in Soviet times was the only supplier of such products. The material consists of 90 percent air cavities, which makes it breathable and elastic. It also has insulating and shock-absorbing properties, which makes it suitable for use as a filler for furniture and soft toys. It is often used for soundproofing, which is facilitated by soundproofing properties.
Of the shortcomings of the material, one can note the high indicators of its flammability, which provide instant ignition when a fire source hits it. However, modern technologies make it possible to reduce the flammability parameters due to specific additives in the raw mixture at the initial stage of the production process. Such a property as rapid wear and tear can be noted by product consumers as negative, and for manufacturers this factor is a bonus. The product quickly loses its functional qualities and therefore requires replacement. There are no alternative material options with similar characteristics, so users of the product have to update it frequently, which ensures the manufacturer's sales figures.
The existing Russian enterprises cannot fully meet the demand for the product, so it is often in short supply. Opening a small factory for the production of foam rubber can be beneficial for both experienced manufacturers and aspiring entrepreneurs. The presence of a large number of competitors will not interfere with receiving a rather large profit from their activities, especially since foreign manufacturers cannot clearly compete with domestic ones, due to the huge cost difference in supply caused by additional customs and transportation costs.
Foam rubber production technology is difficult to implement, due to the need to perform each production cycle on separate equipment designed only for a specific operation.
To obtain high-quality commercial products, it is necessary to ensure quality control and compliance with the standards of intermediate products at each stage of production. Its implementation is carried out in accordance with the algorithm:
- preparation of raw materials;
- weighing the components of raw materials and mixing them in the appropriate proportion;
- loading the composition with constant stirring into the hopper of the equipment for foaming;
- preparation of folding forms and filling them with the resulting solution to a level determined by the height of the finished material;
- waiting time to ensure the passage of the chemical reaction of all components of the mixture;
- ensuring the cooling of the material under certain temperature and humidity conditions for three days;
- cutting the material in accordance with the format of the finished product;
- storage of foam rubber.
The quality of the finished product is influenced by the parameters of the raw materials and their ratio. According to the technology, in order to ensure a full-fledged chemical reaction between the components in order to ensure the basis of the material and its porosity, it is necessary to observe the dosage. The technology does not allow errors at this stage of activity, since any discrepancy will cause changes in the standard characteristics of foam rubber, its rejection and financial losses. The weighing process must be implemented on an electronic balance that provides high measurement accuracy down to grams. All equipment should be checked and have a small error.
Each company approves its own production technology. Its difference may lie in the features of the process and in the recipe, which assumes a different ratio of raw materials. It should be noted that it is possible to adjust the content of only secondary components that give the finished product specific properties. Basic raw materials such as polyisocyanate and polyol are essential ingredients in the mixture, without which foam will not work. When preparing a composition in any technology, these two substances are taken in constant proportions, regulated by regulatory enactments.