28 January 2022 | Article
Expanded polypropylene (EPP) is popular for prototyping and is able to produce a sample closely replicating the final EPP tool-moulded part. Its unique DNA offers a family of constituent properties hard to find in another material.
Prototyping is an essential part of new product development helping to bridge the gap between the initial design stage to the finished product. Expanded Polypropylene prototypes can be prepared for both early and final stage testing, allowing for the exploration and validation of design ideas in a real-world setting.
Testing may be required of a whole product part or just a specific area during the new product development phase, so material choice and tolerances are an important prototyping consideration to ensure the sample is similar in fit and function to the final proposed design idea allowing for effective testing prior to tooling investment.
Expanded polypropylene, otherwise known as EPP foam, is popular for prototyping and is able to produce a sample closely replicating the final EPP tool-moulded part. Its unique DNA offers a family of constituent properties hard to find in another material.
Available in a variety of densities, the technical properties of EPP foam can be tailored with the prototypes end use in mind. In the automotive industry where impact absorption is important, density selection is vital to ensure the accurate testing of bumper cores and other safety critical components.
What are the material properties of Expand Polypropylene?
- Durability – Recoverable material that has a high strength to weight ratio
- Energy Absorption – Highly sought after in the automotive industry, EPP foam has excellent resilience and cushioning qualities reforming to its original shape after an impact
- Lightweight – Strong yet lightweight, EPP is ideal for weight-saving applications for example in the automotive industry to improve fuel efficiency and offset electric vehicle battery weight.
Role of EPP Foam in New Product Development
During prototyping, the proposed design will typically be produced using a CNC (computer numerical control) machine to cut and shape the EPP foam. This CNC method allows for easy shaping and milling and can be done from CAD data to create a tangible product allowing for fast, accurate prototyping. Repeated analysis of incremental modifications can be carried out over time to achieve the desired final product.
What to Expect
Working closely with you, our experienced design centre team will analyse your design, make appropriate recommendations and adjustments, use prototyping to bring ideas to life and deliver a high-quality final product.
Engineered Foam Products are the only ARPRO (EPP foam) Approved Partner in the UK, a tried and tested material in new product development. Our 4 manufacturing sites are accredited to a number of quality accreditations including ISO9001, IATF 16949, ISO14001 and ISO 50001.
Engineered Foam Products offer a complete service from design and prototyping to testing and final production. With our diverse materials and expertise you can expect your project to be managed efficiently, sustainably and to the highest quality. If you’d like to kickstart your project with us, get in touch.
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