Cutting Foam with a CNC Milling Machine? Absolutely.


Cutting Tools for PU Foam

Recently a customer visited DATRON Dynamics to take a first-hand look at DATRON’s broad line of solid carbide micro tooling, watch a demonstration to better understand the benefits … and oh, by the way, maybe even purchase one of our high speed milling machines. I showed them the appropriate tooling for their applications for the medical implant industry, as well as the superior cutting tools that we offer for milling titanium and plastic. As almost an afterthought, I brought out some new tools that DATRON has developed for milling polyurethane (PU) foam. Being so close to the development of these tools, I guess I took them for granted and was taken aback by the customer’s reaction of complete surprise and excitement. They simply didn’t know that they could use their milling machine for cutting foam. They conveyed to me a particular annoyance of theirs in that they often take nicely machined parts and leave them in the hands of “the powers that be” during the process of shipping them to a customer or another production location. Up until now, their shipping method for these pristine parts has been to wrap them in bubble wrap, kiss them up to God, throw some salt over their shoulder and hope for the best. But the samples I displayed of perfectly cut, custom shapes in foam changed all of that for them in an instant.

So why is milling  PU foam a relatively new and emerging process? Well frankly, up until now, milling foam simply wasn’t an ideal solution and other processes like wire, waterjet and laser gave better results. But the combination of DATRON machine dynamics along tooling that is geometrically optimized and manufactured specifically for milling PU foam has been a game changer. What this means for DATRON milling machine users is that the same equipment they use to manufacture parts in other materials like aluminum, steel and composites can also be used to mill PU foam carriers and packaging that allows them to deliver their product to their customers not only in a safe manner, but in a highly professional presentation.

So, how easy is it? Well, all you have to do is program and cut a negative of the part or product that you just milled. Now you have an impeccable presentation for your customer that took virtually no time or effort, but that goes a long way in boosting your reputation as a quality manufacturer.

Finally, I’d like to mention that DATRON Foam Tools have an excellent wear resistance for cutting this soft material which translates to extremely long tool life and a huge return on investment.