How Do Compression Cutters Make Us Products?

Have you ever been curious about how some of your most comfortable pieces of furniture came to be? The cutting of some things like a foam mattress or a cushioning foam pad with straight lines and 90 degree angles would seem to be fairly straightforward process. But how about that contoured memory foam pillow you sleep on, or the custom foam packaging you had made for your company’s new product? These feature smooth, clean curves that would be impossible to make by all but the most skilled hand. So what’s the trick? In many of these situations, special foam forms are made with compression cutting technology.

The process of making a piece of custom contoured foam is done with molds that utilize its compressibility. Templates are made on a CNC router, often out of wood, that reflect what the ultimate product is to look like. The material is placed on these templates and passes through the machine under compression as a blade passes through the foam directly above the template. This compression cut produces two interlocking forms; the interior piece that was forced inside of the template during compression, and the piece trimmed off the top above the blade. Higher points in the template create greater compression, meaning more foam is squeezed into an area. When released after cutting, this creates high points or peaks in the foam’s outer section in the cut above the blade. The area that was in the template under the blade receives a lower area from the compression. The interior pieces of foam are often used in cushioning or packing foam, while the outer sections of foam are used to create zoned mattresses for foam bedding.

These computer-created, foam-forming templates can be made in virtually any pattern or design, with contours, curves and tapers. The only thing that prevents this process from creating full 360 degree moldings is the flat side these forms from complete molding is the single flat side where the blade cut.