Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Turning Styrofoam into a Water Filter, Courtesy of an 8th Grade Science Team

We’ve talked about a lot of ways to reuse and recycle foam, but a team of student scientists from Ohio may have figured out the best method yet: recycling styrofoam into water filters. It may sound like the stuff of science fiction, but this team of three eighth-graders developed a process to convert styrofoam into activated carbon, the key ingredient in most water filters. At the Google Science Fair they won the Scientific American Innovator Award--and they’ve already begun the process of patenting their idea.

When Luke Clay’s family went on a trip to Central America he was disheartened to see the styrofoam littering the beaches. After returning and sharing the experience with his teammates, Julia Bray and Ashton Cofer, they decided to do something about it.

They started by analyzing styrofoam and realized that it was composed of over 92% carbon. They hypothesized that they could convert it to activated carbon, which could then be used to filter water. With a looming global water crisis threatening millions worldwide, this invention can help solve two global problems by reducing waste while producing inexpensive water filters. According to the team, the US produces over two billion pounds of styrofoam each year which winds up filling an incredible 25% of landfill space.

As Cofer describes in a TED Talk, the team met with a lot of failure: “We knew that if we were successful, we would be helping the environment and making the world a better place. So we kept trying and failing and trying and failing. We were so ready to give up. But then it happened.”

They continued to fine-tune their process, comparing the results of their water filters with commercially available ones and testing it in real world situations. Since these teens have already shown their willingness to persevere against all obstacles, it seems like it’s just a matter of time before this type of recycling becomes mainstream. We will be following their progress and hope to play a role in the future solutions that emerge.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Using Foam Corner Pads To Protect Shipped Goods

When it comes to shipping goods from one corner of the world to another, proper packing is a vital measure for peace of mind. Everyone wants the package to arrive at its destination undamaged but the truth is, most of us don't really take the time to pack our items properly prior to shipping. That’s why there are so many cases of goods getting damaged during transit.

The Corners Are The Most Vulnerable

Not long ago, we had a customer that had a very unpleasant experience with sending a very expensive framed painting to one of his customers who lived in Canada. He is an art collector and he told us that before he found us, he tried to get away with a “homemade” packing solution for the paintings he was shipping. That all changed after this particular experience. A week after sending the painting to Canada, he received an email from the customer stating they were very disappointed about the damage and that the painting was not packed properly! They said that the corners and side of the painting were damaged in transit and the 100 year old frame was now ruined. The end customer was so upset that he had to provide a refund, as well as cover the return shipping costs from Canada.

Since that time, our customer now takes the right steps to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again. After researching online, he found out that shipping framed paintings safely can be easily done by using EPS foam corner pads and that is how he found us. Obviously, we were happy to help him implement this better packing method.

Effectively Protect Any Item With 90 Degree Edges

Corner pads can be effectively used in order to protect any item with ninety degree edges. What makes them so special and effective at protecting your goods is the fact that they provide superior cushioning characteristics and are easy to use. EPS foam pads also offer a cost-effective alternative to custom designed packing and given the fact new shapes and sizes are continually being added, they make for a great choice for anyone who wants to ship or move fragile items safely anywhere in the world.

The Main Benefits of EPS Foam Corner Pads Are:

1. Maximum protection
2. Low cost
3. Simplicity of use
4. Versatility
5. Lightweight

On a daily basis, people ship millions of packages to all corners of the world and many of them arrive at their destination partially or totally damaged. If you want to have the peace of mind your fragile items won't share the same fate, then make sure to use our EPS Foam Corner Pads. See them here and make sure to ask us about our custom packing solutions too.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Fun and Creative Ways to Reuse Foam

Ordinarily this blog maintains a serious demeanor and highlights our ability to help businesses get a high return on investment, protect their merchandise, and provide solutions to packaging and logistics issues. We are proud of our high quality products and stand behind all we do 100 percent. Our last blog focused on the “green” aspect of EPS foam. While we are big proponents of recycling and reusing EPS foam products we were reminded by a few of our customers that not all communities have foam recycling facilities... yet. With that said, we now provide a few useful applications for your leftover packaging, coolers and foam peanuts.

Make Cool Stuff with your Kids

Turn off the video games and TV and start creating with your children. Mismatched packaging and large pieces can quickly become castles, spaceships, race cars or anything your child can imagine. You can create unique and personal picture frames, refrigerator magnets, or fun art. Use washable paint and turn a boring day into art.

Ice Cream Saver for the Trunk

If you have a slightly damaged cooler instead of throwing it away you can keep in the trunk for the trip home from the store. Summer is coming and it would be a shame for the ice cream to melt before you get to eat it. This also helps perishables and meats stay fresh if you have to stop somewhere.

Have a Pedicure Party

While foam peanuts are great packaging material they are also the perfect size when applying nail polish. Grab a bunch of friends or have a very cool child’s birthday party complete with pedicures.

Potted Plants Foam Trick

Break up thick pieces and use for potted plants, to help drainage and aeration. Much lighter than rocks and they help your plants. You can even break them into small pieces and add to your soil to help bring more air to your growing garden and help keep the soil from compacting too much.

Lollipop and Fondue Stands

Pieces of EPS foam can make a great base for a lollipop bouquets or prepared bamboo fondue sticks. This will keep food off the table and the floor and add some fun for your next party. Paint the foam with glow in the dark colors and have an alien fondue party.

Stage Props and Floats

Many people save used EPS foam for school play props and displays at events. It is easy to create large and lightweight pieces with hot glue and coping saws. Not only are foam walls safer, they can easily be reused. Foam blocks make great bricks, large boulders or trees. It is also great for parade floats due to its lightweight and waterproof characteristics.

Be Creative!

It’s unfortunate every community doesn’t have easy access to EPS foam recycling, but there are hundreds of great ways to reuse foam. So lobby your city council for recycling and then put on your creative thinking caps and find a way to make foam fun for your family.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Expanded Polystyrene Foam – White is the new Green

All of our EPS foam products are #6 recyclable
As more and more purchases are going “digital” or “online,” the world of packaging and shipping becomes increasingly more important. Not only do you need to consider the shipping cost (usually determined by the weight), the time between purchase and arrival and the “safety” of the item when it is delivered, but you must also consider the impact the shipping/packaging material has on the environment. The fantastic cost savings of using foam packaging is complimented by the ability to recycle this material. The EPS industry realizes the importance of recyclability and has chosen to take sustainability as a top priority.

Tons of Recycled Foam

The EPS industry maintains a 15% recycle rate, which is greater than most all the plastics family packaging material. In 2013 alone, 127 million pounds of EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) foam was recycled! What becomes of EPS when it is done cushioning your new purchase? Recycled EPS can be reconfigured into NEW foam cushioning, but can also be used in durable consumer goods like cameras and jewel cases for CDs!

Make a Positive Impact

These days, more and more people live in communities where #6 EPS foam recycling is offered. So let your customers know to look for the #6 recycling symbol when they are disposing of their packaging. However, for those consumers that live in smaller communities and may not have recycling centers nearby you can simply include a statement on your packing list about the mail-back recycling program from the Expanded Polystyrene Industry Alliance. Not only will this help the environment but show your customers you are diligently working to be a company that cares. Due to the light weight of EPS, the shipping fees run from about $1.50 to $9, and can be mailed through the US Postal Service. Because EPS is 98% air, this mail-back program is often an extremely economical way to remain environmentally friendly.

Recycling Foam Peanuts a Huge Win

The Loose Fill Reuse Program (packaging peanuts) is among the United State’s most successful packaging reuse programs. There are more than 1100 locations in the US, so it’s easy for most of us to find a collection center nearby. The location reuses the material for their own packing, so it’s a win-win-win. . .a win for you, a win for the collection location and a win for the environment. Reuse program locations report that 50% of their packaging peanuts needs are met by the donating consumers, and any business can become a Loose Fill Reuse Program Location by calling 1-800-828-2214.

EPS, in all its various forms, is LESS than a quarter of 1% of the landfills worldwide and less than 1% of municipal solid waste by weight and volume. What's more, because it is over 99.6% air and releases NO harmful gases and leaches NO chemicals into the earth if disposed, it is one of the few totally inert materials being used in shipping and packaging today. It is both water-resistant and can hygienically retain heat (thermal insulation), which means it can be used to ship food safely.

A Winning Packaging Choice

With protecting the environment on everyone’s mind; using, recycling and reusing EPS foam is among the safest and most cost effective way to ship/package your breakable items (safe both for your merchandise and your world). It is nice to know that your product can get from point A to point B on this earth and can be kind to each mile of Earth in between.  For more information call us at 1-800-725-6415 or contact us here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Safe and Sound Packaging

So you’ve just received that drum set that you have been eagerly waiting for. The task of ordering it online was no problem but the anticipation of your purchase’s delivery at your doorstep makes you a little uneasy. You spent a lot of money on the drum set and, like most people when they order something fragile online, you are worried about the damage that the product might suffer from shipping — after all, it is a bumpy ride to your home.

Fast forward to you opening that huge box, and voila! Your drum set is all perfectly intact with EPS foam packaging enveloping it. All your worries are set aside. Well before your purchased products come at your door or even to the store, many processes are involved to achieve this outcome. Intelligent planning by the manufacturer and/or packaging company on how to best protect the product is critical to avoid extra costs. This planning employs different types packing materials to ensure the right protection from damages.

Different packing materials include:

EPS Packing foam is often used for protecting and cushioning surfaces as well as insulating sensitive components. It is extremely versatile and can be fabricated, molded or is even available in sheets.

Bubble wrap is essentially a sheet of plastic that has evenly spaced air-filled sacs. It was originally intended to be 3-dimensional wallpaper, but it failed to get popular support. However, it was found that the use of bubble wrap works well for packing as it isolates shock and vibration.

Packing list envelopes are just like regular envelopes and only differ with the degree of protection of the enclosed documents. They come in cellophane and transparent ones.

Edge protectors are cardboard-like materials that are intended to do the job of protecting chipping and scratching of edges of products. EPS foam corner pads are also viable option here.

Furniture covers are for protecting furniture from any rips, moisture and damages.

Packing peanuts or foam peanuts are made from expanded polystyrene or styrofoam. They are loosely filled in to a fragile material’s packing during shipping.

Packing paper is the most basic type of material in the shipping industry. It is basically just paper which is often used when moving as it is readily available.

While protecting products during shipping by means of packing them properly is effective, products should also have their appropriate packaging to ensure their safe arrival.

Wait, what? Aren’t “packing” and “packaging” the same?

If you have been using packing and packaging interchangeably, well, technically you’re wrong. The two actually mean two different things and are just involved in the same process.

Packing has a larger scope than packaging. After products have been individually wrapped, they are then put in larger containers which would hold them while being shipped to other places.

Packaging on the other hand, is the wrapping of products with materials such as cartons, plastic, glass and metals to avoid damages to the contents inside. This can be done individually or in sets. Packaging also gives products more presentation and the proper labeling allows consumers to know what the content is, or what it is intended for. For instance, glasses are commonly used with drinks, and metals are for canned goods and carbonated drinks.

Another type of packaging material which is widely used is made from polystyrene. Generally, polystyrene materials are clear, brittle and hard, and are derived from petroleum. Polystyrene can also be rigid or foam and it is often used for protecting products during shipping. The most effective and popular type is commonly known as EPS foam or Styrofoam packaging.

EPS Foam Packaging is actually derived from extruded polystyrene that is often used for packing fragile items when shipping. It also has properties such as buoyancy and insulation, which why it is often used in life rafts and other aquatic applications. Plus because it is so light, it doesn’t add much weight which is almost always a benefit.

So, what is the best material for packaging?

Compared to most other options, EPS foam has three advantages: its cost, light weight and great insulating properties. Going back to the drum set that we were talking about earlier, the foam’s ability to be molded around the intricate edges also make it a front runner. Custom molded eps foam packaging provides effective protection to many products including electronic goods and pharmaceuticals. Moreover, properly designed foam packaging that properly fits items and meets client’s specifications provides more cushioning and safeguards valuable products.

Protecting products during shipping requires the right packing materials and packaging design. This can sometimes cost more than expected but we have seen time and time again that the investment saves companies more in the end. Plus it is always good customer service to ensure the delivery of your products in top shape. Using materials such as foam packaging gives you peace of mind from the potential damages that your products could go through. This includes everything from dropping, vibration from equipment used in transportation, compression from weights of other products that come along with your item, temperature changes which could affect composition of objects, humidity which could make boxes weak and air pressure that could inflate and pop air tight bags.

Come talk with us to see if our custom foam solutions are a good fit for your business. Call 1-800-725-6415 or contact us here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Foam Displays Create Lasting Impressions

Can you imagine an egg large enough and strong enough for a human to pop out of?  Imagine a whole array of huge apples, oranges, bananas as a display piece hanging above your produce in the supermarket.  What if you could have a 15 foot hammer as part of your trade show display to attract attention from everyone in the arena, and then when it is over, simply take it apart and ship it back to the home office? There are many ways to create such eye-catching displays, but one of the best is the use of Polystyrene Foam.

Everyone is clamoring for the attention of consumers these days or wants to have a display piece that creates lasting memories. The designers at Armstrong Brands, Inc., have years of experience creating some of the most innovative and memorable foam sculptures and creations. They have made display pieces for amusement parks, lightweight theater sets and everything in between. Whether large or small, the experts continue to amaze.

The Spark of the Imagination

All it takes is one simple idea and anything can come to life.  Your idea can turn into a showcase for a retail store, an imaginative backdrop for a playroom or the central part of a large corporate event. Just think of the impact a large model of Mt. Everest would do at your next sales meeting, especially if you were standing on top!

From Foam to Sculpture

Utilizing advanced 3D CAD software and foam cutting machines our design team models and then creates your ideas using state-of-the-art equipment and artistic talent. The finished products can be painted or protected using a special polyurethane coating which allows them to be used outdoors and withstand impact. You can bring your sketch in on paper, email it digitally or simply describe your dream to our team and watch it come true.

Be Adventurous

Start thinking today about how a custom designed foam display piece can bring the maximum impact for your event or location. Be brave and adventurous, you are only limited by your imagination. Then, give us a call at 1-800-725-6415 or Contact us here and we will gladly help you find the best solution.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Taking your Product Vision to the Next Step with Custom Foam Prototypes

Great ideas should never be stymied by the challenges of creating a prototype or the constraints of being able to custom design a product to meet your needs within a budget. We've created prototypes for a wide variety of products and industries with some of the most exacting specifications.

Why a Foam Prototype?

Cost Effective Foam Prototypes from Armstrong Brands
Basically, a prototype is a model created to test the design of an invention or product before you begin production or finalize blueprints. Although this seems rudimentary, our fabricated foam products deliver lightweight and cost-effective solutions whether you are in the beginning stages or meeting with venture capitalists. The foam prototypes of the actual product provide you the ability to hold a 3-D model in your hands and easily make minor adjustments. For larger items, foam is much easier to deal with than clay or wood and operation teams and investors benefit from seeing a live presentation piece.

We also can make foam prototypes of shipping or in-house transfer containers for extremely fragile material such as glass, bottles or electronics. It works much like a fabricated design to give us the ability to better customize the packing designs before we go through the steps of having an aluminum mold created.  Many clients have utilized our services to test several designs and run them through the paces in the assembly plant or warehouse. Often it becomes apparent quickly which forms provide the best protection or if a combination of ideas ends up working the best. The best solution will always provide the maximum protection with the minimum amount of labor.

Planning Ahead Creates Success

Our goal is to provide you a finished product that delivers high return on investment and performs exceptionally. We understand that your future business venture relies on our expertise.  Our professional design team is comprised of experts in modeling, creation and production of all foam products. By sitting down with our team in the pre-production phase our clients have saved time and money by working with our professional designers and evaluating the pros and cons of any design before any work is done. The added insights and exact details make the process efficient and successful.

Put Your Ideas in the Real World

Getting what is in your head onto paper is the first part of the process. Getting what is on paper produced into a real, live object is the second. Call us today at 1-800-725-6415 or contact us here, and let’s make your dream a reality.

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