Introducing: Our foam department Introducing: Our foam department
Diversity is one of soft trim's great strengths. Around 60 employees work on more than 3,000 square metres, specialising in different areas. One of the most crucial ones is the foam department.
“You can picture the structure of our company like a gearbox. The individual production sections mesh like cogwheels. Thus, the foam department is divided into several stations that are passed through in the production process,” explains Olaf Hofmann, production manager at soft trim.
Station 1 – Cutting
Seat foam parts are classified into different ranges of hardness. By combining different foam blocks with different degrees of hardness in one block, the component is prepared for the milling process. The basis for this is created by the company's own foaming shop, which produces the raw blocks in the appropriate hardness based on customer requirements.
Station 2 – Milling
Milling is the most important step to bring the foam into the right shape. The raw block is positioned accordingly and then machined by a robot. Each seat shape is individual and therefore requires its own milling programme, which is developed by the design department. This dictates how the block is to be machined step by step. “Our robots work around the clock so that we can ship the components to the customers as quickly as possible,” says Stephan Nitsche, head of the foam modelling department.
Station 3 – Finish & quality inspection
At least one further step is necessary for completion: During the so-called finish, employees check the foam parts for possible defects and correct any irregularities. “In addition, fine details are added that can only be worked in manually. These are, for example, additional attachments such as clips or filing wires,” says Nitsche.
Depending on the customer's wishes, the moulds then go to the skin-cutting stage. This is a refinement of the surface of the manufactured parts.
This is followed by delivery to the customer or further processing in the cover development department.