How Memory Foam is Created
Foam starts out as a liquid. When we first visited our foam manufacturer, North Carolina Foam Industries, Inc. in Mount Airy, North Carolina, to see how our memory foam was made, we observed a large number of feed lines, each delivering a special chemical ingredient from individual smaller containers into a large central tank which held the “mix”. The mix is used to create the foam. Nozzles which deliver the mix are positioned at the top of an incline where they uniformly pour the mixture onto a plastic lined conveyor belt that is approximately 7 feet wide with raised sides. The sides of the conveyor can be adjusted to roughly 48” high.
As the foam travels along the conveyor, it undergoes a chemical reaction which raises the temperature of the liquid to over 140 degrees and causes it to expand and grow taller. It resembles bread that rises in an oven; it expands and grows up the sides of the conveyor. As the conveyor travels out into the plant, we walked along side of it and watched the foam bubble from the heat and grow taller. The conveyor at this particular plant was approximately 250 feet long.
The foam cools and becomes what are appropriately called, buns. The sides of the conveyor are removed, the plastic is peeled away and the buns are sliced into 50 foot long sections. Giant overhead "grabbers" slide along guide bars about 40 feet over head and snatch the buns and carry them to a section of the warehouse where they are stored and where 'they can "cure" (the foam we use cures within 48 hours). Once they have cured, they can be sliced into smaller blocks which can then be cut into memory foam toppers, mattress tops, pillows, cushions, etc. Clean 'scrap' foam is created by cutting the outer 'skin' off the foam buns which is then 'upcycled' into our Earth Pillows, or it can be used in other applications such as carpet padding. Nothing is wasted that can be used. The actual name for the gadgets, machines and conveyors that create the memory foam used to make our mattresses is called a "Pour Line".
Who is North Carolina Foam Industries?
North Carolina Foam Industries (NCFI) was established in 1964 by Dr. H. W. Bradley, a research chemist, and Barnhardt Mfg. Co., a leading manufacturer of fiber cushioning materials, whose founding dates back to 1900. The newly-formed NCFI quickly earned an enviable reputation for its product quality, its technical competence, and its excellence of service.
The years since 1964 have seen continuous and healthy growth for NCFI. After two years in rented facilities, the company moved into its own 46,000 square foot plant in Mount Airy Industrial Park. The next 31 years saw eight major plant expansions to the present 300,000 square foot facility.
NCFI offers a complete line of flexible foams for furniture, bedding, carpet underlay, and packaging. They also make polyurethane foam chemical systems for foam-in-place insulation, marine floatation, and packaging.
NCFI, in the years ahead, expects to extend its healthy historical growth pattern based on product quality, manufacturing efficiency, technical competence, financial responsibility and outstanding customer service.
We are proud that NCFI's blended Foam-In-Place chemical system has been on every Space Shuttle Flight since 1983. This is a prime example of NCFI's quality and consistent performance.Back to Information Center