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Foamalux, Imagination is the only boundary

Foamlaux, Foam PVC

From everyday shop signage, to hanging art installations and ecological chicken coops, Brett Martin’s Foamalux Foam PVC range is so versatile it can be used to create anything from the highly functional to the completely esoteric.

Brett Martin has been innovating the Foamalux range for over 20 years and it’s been an organic development process, driven by the needs of end users – namely signmakers, designers, printers and fabricators and their customers. The range has been continuously developed to improve its processability, usability and workability and the options now include the widest ever choice of colours, thicknesses and sheet sizes available with direct to print Foamalux White, Foamalux Colour in 12 vibrant shades, the high gloss Foamalux Ultra in six colours and ‘eco’ Foamalux Xtra. 

With such a choice is it any wonder that Foamalux Foam PVC is used in so many applications? It has been used to produce powerful, professional, yet cost effective sign and display solutions by every major supermarket, airport and shopping centre throughout the UK, as well as by the UK’s leading retailers.  

For example, the signage used at the recent Chelsea Flower Show was manufactured from Foamalux Xtra, which was chosen for its durability and ‘green credentials’, while the pure whiteness of Foamalux White made it the ideal choice for directional signage at the Goodwood Revival, an event, which attracts over 134,000 visitors, and celebrates the golden era of motor racing. 

Other eye-catching displays include the spectacular globe of light that featured at the launch of the UK’s first Restaurant & Bar Design Awards. Made from Foamalux White, it was suspended between trees in Hoxton Park, London. 

Even beyond traditional sign and display, Foamalux White is a winner. Artisan coop makers, Doodlehouse, upgraded its chicken coop production from timber to 13mm thick Foamalux White, a move which proved so successful that it has discontinued its timber version! Celesta Braithwaite, owner of Doodlehouse, says: “Foamalux White has fantastic insulation qualities which keeps hens warm in the winter and cool in the summer. And, as the entire Foamalux range is manufactured to rigorous standards, the coops don’t warp or bend, whatever the weather.”

The Foamalux foam PVC range is suitable for a wide range of applications as it’s highly durable, easy to form and fabricate, and is lightweight and therefore easy to transport and install. In addition, the range has achieved a Class 1 fire performance rating.

Foamalux also offers exceptional rigidity and its mechanical properties provide excellent results for the intricate die cutting and routing of built up lettering and shapes. It can be drilled, riveted, nailed, fixed with suction cups, glued, double sided taped, hung or Velcro backed, and can be framed or left frameless: in short it is the ideal signage solution. 

Further, its flat and consistent surface means that it is the ideal base for screenprinting, application of vinyl, digital graphics and photographic print mounting. Double sided printing onto Foamalux is also possible, thus providing the flexibility required for highly
imaginative display and POP requirements.

Creating the “Wow” factor with Foamalux White

It was, in fact, originally the demand from the digital print sector for a direct to print substrate that led to the development of Foamalux White. Previously, printers had typically found that the whiter the sheet, the more yellowing would occur at the UV curing stage of the digital process. Brett Martin worked in consultation with leading digital equipment manufacturers, ink producers and printers to develop a bright white colour formulation that would remain stable under UV light and now,  Foamalux White not only retains its pristine perfection; it also prints with ease and WOWs end users with its reproductive and processing capabilities. It doesn’t yellow and achieves the outstanding print clarity and quality that complements current hardware innovations.

Mike Lewis, the Industrial Products Manager at Hybrid Services demonstrated the Foamalux White material at this year’s Sign and Digital UK exhibition. He reports: “When used with the Mimaki JFXplus LED UV printer, it printed superbly, outputting everything from high-end black and white photographs, through to safety signage, and we found that we were able to achieve excellent adhesion, a high quality of curing and extremely vibrant colours, even at maximum speeds.”

Based in Northern Ireland, Alexander Boyd has been supplying signage for over 60 years and with an advanced line up of digital printers, it is now one of Ireland’s leading digital print specialists too, which is why a trial was recommended using  Foamalux White. Barry Desmond, Alexander Boyd’s Sales and Marketing Manager comments: “We have to meet tough deadlines, so there is little margin for error. When it was suggested that we try Foamalux White, we were all for it and the results more than surpassed our expectations. It delivered a noticeably brighter and truer end result for our printed signage; it really brought the print to life.”

Octink, the Middlesex-based sign and display specialist company recently used Foamalux White for an Easter tea party installation piece at the London Eye, which was commissioned by Merlin Entertainment and event managed by Innovision.

The installation was used to launch a competition designed to highlight a new Afternoon Tea Capsule available for hire at the London Eye. To create the installation, 8mm thick material was router cut into various shapes with printed vinyl being applied to create a layered 3D effect. The signage was then suspended, using invisible fixings within a glass display unit.

Will Tyler from Octink says: “Foamalux White material performs extremely well, as Its smooth flat surface ensures consistent results when printed or when cut vinyl is applied. The material also machines impressively; we’ve never had an incident when it has deformed during manufacture. In fact, vinyl sticks to it so well that we can fret-cut individual letters from pre-vinyled sheets. We have experienced curling and unsightly swarf between layers with other substrates, but with Foamalux White, the finish is flawless.”

Octink has also capitalised on Foamalux’s processing potential. Will continues: “We have used the material in so many ways – it’s been cut, routed, scored, folded and bonded to make eyecatching displays for retailers such as Joseph, who wanted ‘icebergs’ as part of its store window display. We have also routed into the surface of Foamalux White to create a relief effect and have found that a sawn edge will absorb colour, thus creating a unique result which adds another dimension to signage.”

Foamalux White provides choice for designers and material specifiers by offering a range of thicknesses from 1mm-19mm. At one end of the thickness spectrum is 1mm Foamalux White, which prints and is easily cut and formed. This material was recently stamped out and intricately cut to produce a pack of 24 cards, each measuring 8cm x 12cm. Designers were asked to assemble the cards by interlocking them to make a model, prior to the planned installation, using 10mm Foamalux White at a larger scale, at the 100% Design Show in London.

The lightweight 19mm option enables the material to be used in a broader spectrum of applications where strength, rigidity and the bulk of a thicker sheet is required. It has been used as substitute for wood based products for large hoardings, billboards and exhibition stands where moisture resistance, fire ratings and weight are all important considerations. In keeping with the rest of the Foamalux White range, 19mm is a direct to print substrate and its mechanical properties facilitate intricate die cutting and routing of built up lettering and shapes. 

Foamalux White is available in a range of sheet widths including widths up to 2050mm for wide and super wide format printers. Nick Hughes, National Sales Manager of Brett Martin’s Semi-finished Products Division, comments: “We strive to evolve in order to provide cutting edge products, as demonstrated through our extensive Foamalux range. With its outstanding results in print clarity, print quality and its endless applications for forming, fabrication and bonding, Foamalux White really does have the WOW factor.”

Foamalux White and more
Products available under the Foamalux banner include:

Foamalux Colours in a choice of 12 colours in a silky smooth matt finish provides the ultimate palette available for sign, print and display.
Foamalux Ultra is durable and rigid with a high gloss finish, which provides high end appeal and improved UV protection. It is available in white plus six colours and a range of thicknesses and sheet sizes. It may be suitable for outdoor use.
Foamalux Xtra is the ‘green’ choice. It comprises of a core of up to 80 percent recycled material, sandwiched between virgin white PVC available in 3, 5, 10, 13 and now 19mm thicknesses.

Robert Horne is the UK’s largest distributor of Foamalux foam PVC products and has been supplying Foamalux for more than 14 years. Clare Burke, Robert Horne’s Customer Segment Manager, Sign & Display says, “Foamalux is an incredibly popular product due to its quality, versatility and value and because it can be easily fabricated for 3D displays using drape forming, thermoforming, hot air welding, hot plate welding and folding. What’s more, its rigidity and mechanical properties create incredible results when challenged with intricate die cutting and routing or when guillotined, sawed or drilled.”

For the latest product information, or to request the latest direct mail campaign, including printed samples, please visit: www.roberthorne.co.uk.

The Foamalux Challenge
Brett Martin is inviting sign and display companies to enter projects they have completed using Foamalux for the Foamalux Challenge. The entrant of the winning project will be
rewarded with £250.00 worth of high street gift vouchers and a feature article in Sign Directions!

If you have shaped formed, fabricated, bonded and printed any of the Foamalux products to create imaginative sign and display solutions, Brett Martin wants to hear from you!
Any project, whether large or small is acceptable, just as long as Foamalux has been used.
For further details and an entry form, e-mail viviennewalsh@brettmartin.com or Tel: 0289 084 9999

Terms and Conditions: Closing date for entries 30th September 2011. Entrants must submit the completed application form and supply a photograph of the project/application. The winning application will be chosen by the judging panel, the judging panel’s decision will be final. Applications must feature or incorporate the Foamalux foam PVC product range, Foamalux White, Foamalux Colour, Foamalux Ultra or/and Foamalux Xtra. No alternative prize will be offered. This competition does not and is not intended to constitute a legal relationship between entrants and Brett Martin Ltd. The winner will be requested to participate in publicity.

For further information on Foamalux "Bright White" visit Bright White Foam PVC.