PVC Foam, An Economical Solution for Die Cut HVAC and Appliance Applications
Today’s design engineers and production teams are constantly challenged to produce long-lasting, high performing products while managing costs. Identifying cost-effective materials that can perform in even the most demanding environments is one way to achieve these goals. In the home appliance and HVAC markets, PVC foams are an economical, high performing alternative to EPDMs, neoprenes and other more expensive materials. PVC foams can outperform these more expensive alternatives, giving design engineers the performance they need while simultaneously managing costs.
In this installment of our material Q & A series, we again feature John Berchulc, Regional Sales Manager for FoamSeal, Inc. He discusses the features and benefits of FoamSeal’s custom engineered PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) foams as an economical solution for appliance and HVAC applications.
What are some examples of where and how PVC gaskets are used in the appliance and HVAC industries?
Compressible PVC foam gaskets provide a long-lasting seal against moisture, drafts, dust, and light while cushioning vibrations and deadening sounds. Their soft, pliable nature helps them conform well to irregular surfaces. Gaskets fabricated from PVC are used in an array of home appliances, including washers, dryers, refrigerators and more.
PVC gaskets provide ideal sound and vibration absorption in HVAC applications as well, helping to address buzz, squeak, and rattle (BSR) issues in AC and heat units. PVC provides excellent UV resistance and withstands exposure to elements like salt, rain water, dirt, sunlight, and more without breaking down, cracking, or changing color. It is moisture resistant, preventing condensation or moisture buildup on surfaces to which it is applied. PVC is also an effective thermal insulator.
Which of your products work best for these applications?
FoamSeal offers a variety of materials for many different applications and usages. From low to medium and high density products, our materials are cost-effective solutions that can stand up to an array of environments.
For example, we offer:
- 70 P UL, a low density industrial PVC foam for applications requiring UL 94 HF-1/HBF conformance.
- HT 70 is high temp UL 94HF1 rated material that is also flame retardant. It is a high performing for electrical close out panels and other internal HVAC parts.
- Aluma-Seal is an effective thermal insulator that prevents condensation or moisture build-up on the surfaces to which it is applied. It is available in low and medium density PVC foam.
- Aluma-Seal UL 723 adds heat resistance and conformability. It is used as an insulator for HVAC plenums, pipes and pans to prevent condensation build-up on surfaces to which it is applied.
What else can you tell us about your PVC foam products?
Our PVC foams are a cost effective solution that achieve performance levels typically found in more expensive materials. In general, our closed-cell PVC foams are ideal for an array of home appliance and HVAC applications because they:
- Feature closed cell structures that seal out light, air, dust and moisture
- Provide cushioning against shock and vibration
- Resist most solvents and chemicals
- Achieve service temperatures of -20ºF to +180ºF
- Promote fire resistance (Meeting MVSS 302)
- Offer inherent ultraviolet resistance
- Flex at low temperatures, preventing cracking so that the material remains intact and keeps its integrity
Are there other materials that are used for these same applications? If so, what are the benefits of your PVC products compared to those alternatives?
EPDM blended materials, PVNs or neoprene blended materials are often used in similar applications but are typically more expensive and don’t stand up as well as PVC foams do to condensation or UV light.
Our PVC foams are sulfur free—which makes them low VOC products that don’t offgas or create fogging or moisture runoff. All of our PVC materials are also California Prop 65 compliant.
Our line of PVC foams are resistant to most solvents and chemicals. If they come in contact with anything, they won’t lose their integrity.
What are the temperature ranges for your products? How do these compare to similar products on the market?
Temperature ranges for our industrial grade PVC products are -20C-78C
Temperature ranges for our HT70 foams are -30-230F
Aluma Seal and Aluma-Seal UL 723 products can take temperature ranges of -4-172F
Other products may perform under higher temperatures, but when you look at true comparisons among product offerings, there is a variance. Overall, our products can manage temperature ranges similar to EPDMs, neoprenes, etc. but are a more cost-effective alternative to those materials.
Tell me a bit more about Aluma-Seal?
Aluma-Seal is an industrial medium density PVC foam product cast on an aluminum liner. The foam adheres to the aluminum to achieve a material that will conform to irregular surfaces with a protective aluminum barrier. It is used as an insulator and prevents condensation build-up on surfaces to which it is applied. It reduces vibration and deadens sound in HVAC applications.
Aluma-Seal 723 is UL 723 classified product cast 52” wide on a 54” aluminum liner. The foam adheres to the aluminum to achieve a material that will conform to irregular surfaces with a protective aluminum barrier. It reduces vibration, deadens sound, and seals duct work, holes and seams in HVAC applications. Aluma-Seal 723 is available in gauges 1/8″ to 1/4″.
How does a converter like JBC Technologies add value to your products?
JBC is a valuable partner that provides us with industry-leading die cutting services. They expertly convert our products into small, medium and large seals and gaskets for any engineered application. With JBC we get the best capabilities and strengths when it comes to material converting.
As a premier flexible materials converter and die cutter, JBC offers a variety of die cut parts that go into thousands of different products, addressing critical requirements for sealing, gasketing, noise reduction, vibration elimination, heat shielding, electrical, thermal and acoustical insulation, and much more. When you partner with JBC, you don’t just get an average die cutter – you get a vertically integrated flexible materials converter that can help you take your project from concept to completion and beyond. Contact us today to learn how our team of experts can help you manage the flexible materials converting process from beginning to end.