Report by Liz White, UTI editor
Fascinating constructions for foam mattresses were in abundance at the lnterzum furniture trade show in Cologne in May. The more convoluted, many-layered, and interspersed with foam balls your offering the better, it seemed.
In addition to this diversification from a simple foam block, producers showed mattresses using high-tech gel layers, ones made of special 'cool' foams, and many products containing some sort of natural plant-based material, ranging from Aloe vera to mallow and eucalyptus.
Despite this emphasis on natural materials, mattress purchasers - often the
bedding companies - are not very interested in foams made using natural oil polyols.
Italian foam group Guiseppe Olmo, for example, has investigated the possibility of using NOPs in its foam, it is a feasible project, but the pull from the market is not there, Luigi Olmo told UTI, at the recent Europur meeting, 10 June, in Paris.
Currently, most foamers agree. NOPs are more expensive than their petrochemical equivalent and customers are not willing to pay a premium for products containing them.
VPF extends its reach
Spanish foam group lnterplasp doubled its capacity last year by installing a VPF (variable pressure foaming) line from UK company Beamech at its plant in Yecia, in Murcia.
The foamer attended lnterzum for the first time this year, with the motto, "We Speak Foam," and was pleased with the level of interest shown in its products at the show.
The company has a looper from Baumer to make thin foam sheet for automotive headliners, and aims to start making polyester foams for the technical market, which it feels will produce new business, according to lnterplasp marketing expert Patricia Palao Castillo.
Italian foam maker Pelma claims to have the first foamer in Europe to foam constructions on use the VPF technology, display at the show according to commercial director Marco Pelucchi.
Pelma's VPF line is part of its new factory at Bassano Bresciano, built at the end of the 1990s. Pelucchi told UTI at the Europur meeting 10 June that Pelma "is a very new company," and one of the bigger foamers in Italy: "We are focused on quality and not on quantity," the Pelma executive added.
Pelucchi is active in the Italian foamers' association AIPE F (the Italian Association for Flexible Expanded Polyurethanes), and at the Europur event gave a presentation on Al PEF's Poliuretano-e programme, which aims to raise the profile of PU foam by a major programme of education, training promotional activities.
All these aspects, and many more, will be covered fully in the next issue of UT!.
LOUNGERS FOR POWER NAPPING
At the lnterzum event. Austrian foam producer Eurofoam had its Inemuri lounger on display. These are designed so that businesses can offer employees a brief 'power nap' during the working day, to refresh them and improve performance.
Eurofoam not only offers the lounger - a curved mattress/cushion with supporting base - it will come into corporate premises and set up a power napping space, with appropriate lighting and so on, said Jerzy Jazwierski, area manager with the Austrian foam group, speaking 25 May at the lnterzum furniture show in Cologne, Germany.
Eurofoam developed the Inemuri in cooperation with physiotherapists and doctors, and says it offers the best support for this type of sleep.
"The Eurofoam power napping lounger allows you to sleep quickly and thus increases attention, raises stress tolerance and clearly reduces the danger of burnout," said Prof Manfred Walzl, head of Sleep Medicine,at the Landesnervenklinik Sigmund Freud in Graz, Austria, in a statement on the Eurofoam website.
According to Eurofoam, the shape of the lounger is such it offer the ideal "heart-balance position." In the reclining posture, there is less load on the heart, supporting optimum blood circulation, and hence rapid relaxation.
The Inemuri features a viscoelastic cover for optimum pressure distribution, and the lounger's inclination "can be adjusted with one hand to suit your individual needs," says the company.
GEL INSERTS FOR KAYMED
"A revolutionary patented process, " for manufacturing sheets of plastic gel by injection moulding, in 16x13 cm sections has been devised by Irish bedding manufacturer Kaymed.
Declan Reilly, international sales manager for the company, said Kay med has "been using gel in mattresses for quite a few years."
But "we found it was uneconomic, the manufacturing and process quality was inconsistent, and also it came in full sheets," so it was not useful for all size beds, he said.
Being able to injection mould the gel in-house in small sections has proved a boon for the company, Kelly indicated.
COOL CLEAR WATERGEL
At the lnterzum stand of Italian latex and foam mattress maker GommaGomma, owner Massimo Baserga described the company's "water gel" foam as "a polyurethane with high respirability, " made using a proprietary moulding process .
"I f you look at the cell structure, you see that it i s a very, very open structure, " Baserga said in a 25 May interview at the show.
"We do an airflow test," with good results and users feel that "it i s a fresh product," Baserga said. So Caronna Pertusella, Verona-based GommaGomma thinks that for mattresses it is a good development, Baserga added.