Expanded Polystyrene technology

There are many reasons why expanded polystyrene (EPS) is among the most common foam packaging materials in use. EPS can be moulded into customised solutions designed for an optimal fit as well. Find out if EPS is suitable for your application.

Why use Expanded Polystyrene 

There are many reasons why expanded polystyrene (EPS) is among the most common foam packaging materials in use. Take the example of food - which can go off quickly if it’s not stored properly. EPS packaging helps to overcome this, keeping contents at the right temperature. EPS is light too, so it doesn’t add significant weight to transport – one of the aspects when trying to minimise CO2 emissions of your product. For fragile items and those which are hard to transport, EPS can be moulded into customised solutions designed for an optimal fit. That means your products are protected during normal handling and transport, no matter their size or shape.  

We know the world needs to move towards long-lasting, responsibly sourced materials. At the same time, there are significant challenges around levels of food wastage. That’s why we are constantly innovating with our customers on solutions to keep products fresh for longer and using recycled plastics to reduce dependency on virgin materials. (Clean) EPS is fully and easily recyclable and we want to lead by example to increase the availability of EPS recycling schemes in countries where we are active. Recycled quality EPS is included in more and more of our solutions. Furthermore, because our manufacturing process in Askeaton is increasingly energy efficient, EPS has a relatively small environmental footprint. Therefore the overall consumption of both energy and water during the production process is less than some of the competing materials.

What is EPS?

EPS is a lightweight insulation material with many attractive properties. It is produced by applying heat and water to granulated Polystyrene. The expanded beads are then blown into a mould and steam sealed. EPS is available in different shapes like sheets or boards, blocks and beads, and also as tailor-made shapes. The final product consists of 98% air. 

Where is EPS used?

EPS is used for all sorts of product packaging. Custom moulded to your exact needs, it ensures that any properly treated item arrives in the same condition as it leaves the manufacturing floor – without adding significantly to the weight of the package. 

When you need to maintain food and medical items at a stable temperature for extended periods (as low as -79°C and up to +80°C), the excellent insulation properties of EPS will keep your products in perfect condition. 

The wide range of useful properties makes EPS a great material for bespoke innovation. It is being used in buoyancy aids, as a shock absorber for safety equipment such as in cycle helmets and infant car seats. It’s useful to note that EPS is rigid and may suffer permanent damage during extreme or multiple impact. If you need a more flexible material which can recover its shape after impact, take a look at our Expanded Propylene (EPP). 

EPS is easy to handle, mould, shape and cut. It provides long-lasting solutions, keeping its properties over a long lifetime. Could the combination of these properties lead EPS to offer you a better solution than existing materials you are using? Get in touch to discuss how we can help you to do things better.

What colours are available for EPS? 

White is the most common colour for EPS packaging products, and we also offer grey or graphite injected EPS with an increased insulation value. Don’t be constrained by monochromes, however. The application of a coating will bring your EPS products to life in a multitude of colours.

Can EPS be recycled? 

Yes. Clean EPS is fully recyclable. There is a very active market in Europe for recycled material, with demand outstripping supply. We can help you locate EPS recycling facilities in your country and partner up with regional initiatives. We also offer turnkey solutions through which your EPS products can be taken back and recycled in a closed loop. In addition, as a member of the Association for European Manufacturers of Expanded Polystyrene (EUMEPS) and regional associations, we are encouraging industry organisations across Europe to increase the availability of EPS recycling schemes. 

Finding the technology that’s right for you

We don't believe in one-size-fits-all solutions. We create solutions using various materials and invest in new technologies to support complex assembly processes, allowing us to advise customers on the best options for their needs.