At Eccleston & Hart, we manufacture and mould high quality expanded polystyrene (EPS) products, specialising in the packaging, construction, film, theatre, exhibition, display, media and graphics industries. With expertise, knowledge and skills built up over 50 years, we mould our EPS products from polystyrene bead and use hot wire machines and cutting-edge CAD/CAM technology to produce your bespoke products to perfection.
Have you ever wondered how polystyrene beads are made? Read on to find out!
Making Polystyrene Bead
Polystyrene beads are strong, durable and ultra-lightweight, they have thermal properties, are shock absorbent, as well as moisture and compression resistant. Often associated with bean bag chairs, stuffed animals, pillows and cushions, polystyrene beads are also used in the production of low density concrete and cavity wall insulation, EPS sheets, blocks and tubing, packaging peanuts and packaging surrounds. Polystyrene bead and EPS products are a totally inert plastic product that is also 100% recyclable – read our blog about recycling here.
To make polystyrene beads, tiny foam particles are created from hydrocarbon compound molecules of Styrene and Pentane (only 2-4%) procured from natural gas byproducts and petroleum. Styrene creates the cellular structure of the bead and Pentane acts as a pre-foaming agent (which is removed during the latter stages of the manufacturing process) and combined together to form polymer molecules.
The polymer molecules are then exposed to steam, filling them with air, expanding them to create small polystyrene beads. Once expanded, the small beads are joined together using steam and pressure once more, to create larger beads which are suitable for the EPS moulding process.
Turning Polystyrene Bead into EPS Products
Manufacturing our EPS products from polystyrene bead is a three step process:
The pre-foaming agent within the polystyrene beads starts to boil when it is in contact with steam. Thus, expanding the beads to 40 or 50 times their original volume.
The beads then undergo a ‘maturing’ period in order to meet their equilibrium in temperature and pressure.
The beads are then placed into a mould and are reheated with steam; the beads expand further, completely filling the mould and fusing together creating blocks and many other customised products.
Bespoke products from Eccleston & Hart
We manufacture a wide range of EPS products for a number of industries, from polystyrene beads, EPS sheets, blocks and tubing, to custom shapes for media and retail displays. For bespoke packaging EPS products contact us directly to discuss your project requirements with our team and we will create you a bespoke solution that is efficient in both function and cost. Call the experts in EPS today on 0121 683 0300