In a bid to stay competitive, industries must find better processes and materials to perform their diverse functions, and this particularly applies to the manufacturing and construction sectors. One material that is revolutionizing the way we make things in these sectors is Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) foam boards.
You may be wondering what is PVC foam board? Well, it is a versatile high-strength thermoplastic material that has numerous applications across various industries in furniture making, interior decor, advertisement and signage making, and a lot more. Today, we would be taking a deeper look at the fundamentals and just about everything you need to know about PVC foam boards.
Types of PVC Foam Boards
Before going to other aspects of PVC foam boards, let us be clear on its various types to distinguish one from another. Industry experts often classify PVC foam boards according to their production process:
- Free foam board: They make these boards using the free-foam production method. Here, molten PVC forms freely after leaving the die head before it proceeds to the calibrator, where separation from the die occurs. Free foam boards usually have a solid feel and are common in the advertising industry.
- Skin foam board: Skin foam board adopts the normal extrusion method in its production. Like the previous, they have a hard composition but are extremely smooth in their feel, making them ideal for the construction of furniture and other interior decor components like cabinets.
- Co-extrusion foam board: These boards take the normal extrusion method a little further to make a multi-layered PVC board. With the outer layers containing pure PVC and an inner layer of foam, the end-product of co-extrusion foam boards are usually smooth with a mirror-like finish and are extremely hard. These properties make them popular in the interior decor and architecture niche.
- WPC foam board: Wood plastic composite (WPC) foam boards are made by blending amounts of wood fibers and a thermoplastic (in this case, PVC) and feeding them through the production line. WPC foam boards are gaining traction as a viable alternative for wood and are being used in making furniture and other wood-related products.
Other types of PVC foam boards include Coloured, laminated, and Celuka PVC foam boards.
How Do You Make PVC Foam Boards?
Making PVC foam boards involves a lot of processes that are usually carried out in a production line, but a preliminary requirement involves having the right blend of raw materials. Good knowledge of what constitutes a PVC board places you on the right path to producing high-quality PVC foam boards.
The answer to the question of “what is PVC board made of?” is quite straightforward. For starters, PVC foam boards contain Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) in bulk, just like the name entails. Also present in substantial amounts are Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3). In trace amounts, you have additives like wax, stearic acid, foaming agents, heat stabilizers, etc.
While the intricacies of making each type of PVC foam board differs, the general process remains the same. You can make PVC foam boards in the following simple steps.
- The various ingredients go into a PVC foam board machine – the mixer.
- Next, the mixed PVC foam board material now passes through an extruder to create the desired material cross-sectional profile.
- After extrusion, the material passes through the PVC sheet extrusion line to create the desired foam.
- After which, the product goes through a shaping machine and a cooling bracket to cool and take shape.
- After cooling, the material is hauled off. Post-processing like cutting and stacking can occur at this stage.
Advantages of using PVC foam boards
Although information about the properties and types of PVC foam boards are important for end-users, most consumers are more interested in how using PVC foam boards would be of benefit to them. We will talk about PVC foam board advantages and disadvantages below.
- Durability: PVC is characterized by its excellent mechanical properties, making plastic foam boards exhibit hardness and strength. Thus, making it ideal for construction and manufacturing end-use.
- Anti-rust: Since PVC foam boards are completely free from metal, it does not corrode, and can withstand the elements.
- Fire and water resistance: PVC foam boards repel water, making it moisture-proof. Which is part of the reasons that it exhibits extreme longevity. Subsequently, it also does not burn easily due to its chlorine content.
- Electrical insulator: PVC is not a conductor of electricity, making the foam boards ideal for interior decor and furniture making.
- Free from toxins: Unlike plywood, PVC foam boards are not affected by insects like termites. Therefore, eliminating the need to use toxic chemicals for its preservation.
- Easy to process: Right from when it goes to the hauler during its manufacture to its numerous end-use applications, PVC foam boards are easy to process and handle.
Common problems encountered during PVC foam board manufacturing
Most of the issues associated with PVC foam board manufacturing do not stem from the raw material (PVC). They come from poor quality control. It is necessary to equip the reader with knowledge on how to spot some of these issues associated with poor quality control and their implications.
- Yellow PVC foam board: It is common to find some yellow colorations in sections, particularly the middle of the foam board. Yellowing occurs because of large amounts of heat that come off during the decomposition process. This is usually remedied by using an NC blowing agent to remove the gas and make the foaming process easier to manage.
- Uneven surface thickness: Inconsistencies on foam boards in terms of thickness is due to several reasons. Adjusting the flow rate of the die to ensure that extrusion is uniform fixes this issue.
- Bending of the plate surface: Bending is usually caused by uneven flow and lack of cooling. One can fix it by adjusting the formula mix appropriately to improve external lubrication.
- Warped panels: These occur because of uneven temperature control in the rollers. A solution involves proper temperature control, especially within its specified range.
- Uneven density: It is not out of place to find PVC foam boards with different densities across the sides.
When it comes to the production of High-Quality PVC foam boards for all your manufacturing and construction needs, it is best to use a production line with all the equipment optimized to give the best end-products.
Boyu array of products and solutions is the top choice for many PVC foam board manufacturers. They lead the industry with cutting-edge R&D and excellent technical support to ensure the highest standard of end-products.
They believe the PVC industry can only advance through cutting-edge research and development, which is why they focus heavily on product quality and environmentally friendly production processes. Boyu has several awards to its name and its presence in many countries across the globe is a statement of its excellent service delivery.