In a year without in-person trade fairs, industry suppliers are focused on finding solutions to help factories get product out the door, fast
After more than a year of watching the mattress manufacturing industry struggle through a global pandemic that has brought swings in demand and supply chain interruptions of epic proportions, the editors of BedTimes — reporting from the quiet isolation of our home offices — now bring you a mini-industry fair. It’s in print and online only and not half as fun as a walk through ISPA EXPO or Interzum Cologne, but here we try to share some news of the latest machinery innovations and mattress components. (Information was provided by the companies.)
With some of the biggest pressures currently on foam supplies, many of the innovations in this story are timely. There are more and better fibers and fiber blends newly available from a number of innovative suppliers. These components can take the place of at least some of the foam in a mattress. And some of the news in pocket springs relates to microcoils used in the bed’s top layer in place of comfort foams. In other springs news, the latest generation not only wants to replace foam in a mattress — it wants to replace glue, as well.
Industry suppliers also have tapped into other pressing needs weighing on producers’ minds:
- I want my plant to be more self-sufficient. Some of the newest equipment delivers simpler operation and more affordable pricing, allowing producers to bring things like foam fabrication in-house.
More Equipment News Coming in August and September
BedTimes will bring you in-depth news about the latest compression and packaging equipment in an August feature, and we’ll cover innovations in sewing equipment in a September feature.
- I need tools to boost productivity, while protecting my workers’ safety. You can move components and finished products around the plant with tools that mechanize nonskilled tasks, like hoisting, stacking and flipping products. And speaking of speeding up production lines, new adhesives allow immediate packaging of finished beds.
- I need a better FR barrier. The latest barriers are far more flexible in a number of ways. They have a better fit, are easier to work with, are available in a number of formats and some don’t use any fiberglass.
- I need to operate more sustainably. Springs suppliers offer units designed for recycling ease at the end of their useful life. New adhesives are made with renewable ingredients, and new manufacturing equipment reduces post-industrial waste, such as foam scrap.
- Need to enter a new niche? Have you thought about vegan bedding? Read on to find out which industry supplier can help you do just that and see what else the bedding industry’s suppliers have been up to on behalf of the bedding industry in the past year.
Both Space- and Glue-Saving
Atlanta Attachment Co.’s latest addition to its array of lamination equipment brings greater automation to what can be a messy operation. The Lawrenceville, Georgia-based company’s 1368R Rail Glue Machine neatly and quickly assembles the rails for foam encased mattresses, using hot-melt adhesive. Among its many advantages, the 1368R is easy to program and use. It automatically detects rail size, uses minimal glue and has a small footprint. The unit operates via touch screen on Atlanta Attachment’s signature Serial Bus Control System.
Making Foam Cutting Affordable, Quickly
CNC Foam Machines Inc., with headquarters in Pomona, California, has introduced its third generation H11 Horizontal Contour Machine with improved speed and accuracy. The continuous-blade CNC contour-cutting machinery offers a knife support, manual turntable and powerful nesting software as standard features. Engineer Andy Munteau brings more than 30 years of experience in foam-cutting equipment to the company, founded in 2019. “Our philosophy is simple — the ideal contour-cutting machine is reliable with cost-efficient design revolving around off-the-shelf parts from local suppliers, and delivering friendly, 24-hour customer support.”
Time to Awaken!
Ticking major BekaertDeslee, with North American headquarters in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, wants to shake everyone all out of their pandemic-induced slumbers with its new Awaken collection. Where color is used, it is the light blue of the morning sky, the playful yellow of sunshine and the warm orange of sunset, said Charlene Vaz, design and marketing director for North America. “We’ve been in hibernation for the past year; 2020 was a year of reflection, of discovering new sides to yourself and who you are as a person. Awaken is all about releasing your inner power and your senses — through our collection,” she said.
Components in Perpetuity
Innerspring supplier Agro International GmbH & Co. KGhas introduced A.NEXT Uni – Pocket PES, a pocket spring unit whose three components (springs, fabric and adhesive) are made from just two ingredients, steel and polyester. The coil unit materials use a polyester adhesive and polyester fabric, both of which can be recycled together at the end of product life and made into new polyester for another spring unit — again and again. Thus, the A.NEXT is “cradle-to-cradle ready” and can be part of a waste-free circular economy, the Bad Essen, Germany-based company said.
The CertiPUR-US foam certification program for flexible polyurethane foam has launched an online store (CertiPUR.us/Store) in partnership with Wright Global Graphics to offer merchandising materials that promote participation in the CertiPUR-US program. The site makes it easy for participating retailers and makers of bedding and upholstered furniture to order or reorder labels and top-of-bed and point-of-purchase materials bearing the CertiPUR-US logo. The materials are made by Wright Global Graphics, based in Thomasville, North Carolina. To order materials, companies must be registered and listed in the CertiPUR-US online directory, which is required in order to use the trademarked CertiPUR-US name and logo.
More Efficient Material Handling
Global Systems Group, the equipment division of Leggett & Platt Inc., with headquarters in Carthage, Missouri, has expanded its material handling lineup with the PS-140U Automatic Stacker/Destacker. The machine is an automated belt conveyor unit that can stack or unstack mattresses and bedding components — such as foam layers and spring units — with no labor involved. It handles units up to 300 pounds and transfers pieces between different conveyor sections or to transport carts. “Considering recent labor constraints, many mattress manufacturers are concerned with reducing manual tasks and high-skilled operations,” said Paul Block, GSG president of sales. “The equipment’s automated actions and ability to handle a mix of product types make it easy to integrate the PS-140U directly into production lines for a more efficient workflow. Solutions like this also have ergonomic benefits. Reducing the lifting strain on workers is a significant benefit to manufacturers.”
New Lamination Capabilities
Lava USA, part of Lava B.V., headquartered in Wielsbeke, Belgium, has made a major investment in laminating equipment at its York, South Carolina, plant. The new machinery enables the company to offer customers a number of lamination services for mattress fabrics. These include adhesion of thermoplastic polyurethane films (washable and nonwashable) for fabric waterproofing and the application of FR stretchable knits and FR nonwovens to ticking. Lava also is installing border-slitting machinery, giving it the capability to cut border fabrics in any width, and in rolls up to 40 inches wide.
Multiplying Comfort Choices
ANV Composites Ltd., based in Yardley, Pennsylvania, has added a new range of customizable components to its lineup. This includes insulator pads and felts, and individually wrapped pocket springs (pictured). Insulator pads and felts are manufactured on Italian machinery to customers’ specified density, length and width. They can be laminated with a nonwoven, a fabric or film. All pocket spring units can be ordered with or without foam encasement and are configurable by wire gauge, coil height, coil count, length and width.
Better Fiber Blends for Beds
Leigh Fibers, based in Wellford, South Carolina, has made a major investment in “state-of-the-art,twin-card opener” fiber processing lines. The opening and carding equipment gives the fiber supplier the unique ability to process hard-to-open nonwoven materials, as well as most textile byproducts, while protecting and preserving the materials’ natural properties and fiber integrity. Leigh is using the line to create customized fiber blends, while reducing costs and energy consumption. “People think of Leigh as a traditional shoddy supplier,” the company said. “This new fiber processing capability has allowed us to create a new product category in recycled fiber between the traditional shoddy we are known for and staple fiber. Customers achieve the cost savings associated with shoddy and the consistency of staple fiber.”
Stuck on Sustainability
Savare Specialty Adhesives LLChas launched C-MT Hot-Melt, a family of adhesives designed to help customers meet sustainability targets. Unlike other glues, C-MT hot-melt glues are derived from 100% renewable, nonfossil raw materials, contributing to producers’ efforts to reduce or eliminate their carbon footprints. C-MT adhesives provide superior bonding performance on a range of substrates with no residual noise, sometimes associated with hot-melt glues, according to the company
Contouring Comfort (Coils)
Leggett & Platt Inc. has expanded its NanoCoil family of pocketed microcoilcomfort layers with NanoCoil Edge Center Zoned. The 1-inch-tall unit enhances the sleep surface and features a firmer middle for additional hip and lumbar support, while the firmer edge coils prevent roll-off. The microcoils enhance air circulation close to the sleeper, contour to the body and help isolate motion transfer, reducing partner disturbance. The new NanoCoil Edge product works in tandem with L&P’s other edge-support innerspring units, delivering superior edge performance from the core right up to the mattress surface, the Carthage, Missouri-based company said.
A Smooth Fit
Precision Textiles has added a fourth product to its IQ FIT line of FR barriers. IQ FIT Glass Free has high char strength and maximum FR protection, and it slips on easily and conforms to the mattress like a glove, the Totowa, New Jersey-based company said. As the name implies, the new barrier is free of any fiberglass; its flame retardancy derives from a customized, FR-inherent cellulosic fiber. IQ FIT Glass Free is available as a sock or in full-width rolls.
The new Porter RFT-8484 Rotate and Flip Table from Global Systems Group, the machinery division of Carthage, Missouri-based Leggett & Platt Inc., is a heavy-duty workstation designed to allow a more productive mattress build-up process. The table allows workers to rotate and flip the bed build with a single piece of equipment. Its smooth, cleanable stainless-steel surface makes it easy for workers to handle and maneuver units, while keeping products clean during assembly. A strong pneumatic flipping device easily turns even the heaviest mattresses for completing operations on both sides of the bed. The table’s sliding extensions make the RFT-8484 compatible with all mattress sizes.
Billed by adhesives supplier SABA North America,in Kimball, Michigan, as “The Superhero of Water-Based Adhesives,” new Sababond 3392 is a versatile product, high in solids and with extremely strong initial tack. The two-component, water-based adhesive is an all-around glue, ideal for bonding different types of foam to a vast array of substrates. Whether you need an adhesive for mattress manufacturing or producing furniture, Sababond 3392 can do it all, the company said. “It creates the strongest, most enduring bond between all commonly used materials in mattress manufacturing,” the company said. It also is “perfectly suited for bonding all surfaces,” including bonding “foam to smooth, nonporous substrates.” The company recommends applying the adhesive with the SABA EZ-Mix Green Spray Gun for zero overspray.
Just a Trim, Please
The updated VTX 24-88 Vertical Trim Saw fromESCO (Edge-Sweets Co.) trims freshly glued mattress assemblies up to 20 inches thick. It can be configured with a blade-cleaning system, sharpening system and remnant removal system. The VTX can be the last stop on a cutting line or used as a standalone machine. A unique feature is that it can be ordered with a 3.5mm profile blade, 0.75-inch blade or an abrasive wire. The VTX is designed to fill a gap after the company’s full-featured, flagship VPX vertical blade cutters, the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based company said.
The new H339-SMP Automatic Mattress Testing Machine from Lawrenceville, Georgia-basedAtlanta Attachment Co. has multiple uses. It calculates and classifies the physical attributes (dimensions and weight) of finished mattresses or foam panels and can feed detected data into management software systems for the preparation of product labels or certification of conformity to product specifications. The testing machine also operates in tandem with filling equipment to adjust for the size of each piece fed by its motorized roller conveyor into the companion equipment.
Pour Your Own
Brighi Tecnologie Italia s.n.c. has introduced the FP4 Batch Block Foam Pouring Machine. It’s meant for mattress makers who want to produce their own viscoelastic and polyurethane foams in different sizes, densities and shapes for maximum flexibility and convenience. The FP4 also eliminates waste associated with cutting standard blocks. A variety of foams can be poured, back-to-back, with the machine managing the entire production cycle. Simply select the recipe on a touch screen. Raw material management is easy and product customization is a cinch, the Forli, Italy-based company added.
Less Need for Foam and Glue With These Coils
Hickory Springs Manufacturing Co. commenced domestic production of Flexecore, the patented pocket spring system it produces in partnership with Spinks. Made in its Hickory, North Carolina, bedding facility, Flexecore is a glue-free, high coil count unit designed to be more sustainable because it’s easier to recycle. Flexecore is UL Greenguard Gold certified and is produced on special coiling equipment that uses finer gauge wire, high coil counts and sonically welded pockets connected in a concertina pattern. The company said it is in the process of installing Flexecore coiling machinery at several of its other U.S. plants.
Who Needs Foam Encasements?
The new Red Edge pocket spring unit from Red Springs Ltd., with headquarters in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, has a frame of firmer coils on the border, providing benefits to producers and the end consumer. The unit provides edge-to-edge spring support, while eliminating the time and expense required to build foam encasements — at a time when foam is in short supply. Manufacturers can customize the border to their specifications by coil size, count or gauge. Finished mattresses made with the Red Edge unit have excellent recovery when roll packed and boxed. The Red Edge unit also gives sleepers greater comfort and support, reducing that feeling of roll-off when sitting or lying on the edge of the bed, according to the company.
Safer and Speedier Production Lines
Lawrenceville, Georgia-based Atlanta Attachment Co.’s versatile H290-2V Automatic Mattress Stacker keeps plants neat and tidy and speeds up assembly by automatically piling beds onto pallets or into bins. The stacker reduces production downtime and can be installed in line, functioning as a pass-through with motorized conveyor and frontal discharge, and/or to the right or the left. The equipment does the heavy lifting, sparing your plant personnel.
Filling the Newest Bedding Niche?
Fiber supplierEnkev Group,headquartered in Volendam, Netherlands, is betting on an emerging lifestyle trend — veganism — in procuring licensing rights to carry the official Vegan trademark of the century-old Vegan Society on an array of its natural fiber products. Products trademarked by the society must meet strict vegan standards — no animal ingredients, only vegan processing aids in manufacturing, no components or component ingredients ever tested on animals. Enkev’s vegan-trademarked products include Cocolok, a coir and natural latex fiber pad, as well as certain of its bamboo, coir, cotton, flax, hemp and other fiber offerings. “The rapid growth of veganism is driving demand for vegan-certified furniture and homeware,” said Enkev Principal Marc Dokter. “Our vegan products are uncompromising, offering a range of materials that can be used in place of synthetic materials.”
Easier Law Labeling
Label and converting supplier Topflight Corp., based in Glen Rock, Pennsylvania, makes it easier for producers to add appropriate law labels with new Dupont Tyvek blank, pressure-sensitive adhesive tags. The blank tags can be sewn into a sewn cover seam, then the appropriate preprinted law label easily can be adhered to the easy-peel blank tag after a product is fully assembled. This adds flexibility and speed to production lines, allowing a cover to be used for a variety of builds.
Unpacking Ease and Safety
Global Systems Group, the machinery division of Leggett & Platt Inc., has added the ROA-400RS Roll-Pack Coil Spring Opener to its material handling equipment to make unpacking spring units safer and more efficient. The machine automatically opens roll-packed spring units, which are packaged under enormous tension. An uncontrolled unbaling process can be both chaotic and hazardous to workers. If required, the ROA-400RS can dispense one unit at a time and then reroll the remaining units for storage until they are needed. This controlled dispensing unit is ideal for incorporating directly into a production line, the Carthage, Missouri-based company said.
Creating a More Flexible Bond
Adhesives supplier Simalfa, headquartered in Hawthorne, New Jersey, delivers speed and greater flexibility with a new adhesive formulation, Simalfa 350-IR. It’s a one-part, water-based adhesive designed to be applied one-sided via automated roll-coater equipment. “The unique Hybrid-IR formulation can be used with or without an infrared oven, providing clients with unprecedented flexibility for running roll lamination lines,” said national sales manager Harry Bajakian. The fast-drying glue creates an instant bond that allows for immediate roll-packing of products, the company said. Simalfa 350-IR bonds all types of foams and fibers with superior tack and handling strength, using minimal coat weights.
FR That’s on Trend
Springs Creativehas created the Firegard Green NS familyof FR barriers made without the use of any fiberglass. Three fiber blends with varying amounts of inherent FR rayon are available in a range of weights, widths and formats — including socks, snap-on caps, tubular, or open-width yardage. The machine-washable, 100% FR rayon product, pictured, has “an amazingly soft hand,” said George Booth, vice president of the Rock Hill, South Carolina-based company. “While we know core spun barriers that include fiberglass have been used safely for decades, and we expect them to be available for some time to come, we want to meet the market where it is. With Firegard Green NS, we’ve seen this line perform in some very challenging constructions, including latex.”
Compact, Creative Cutting
Machinery maker ESCO (Edge-Sweets Co.) has introduced HPX 50-88 Gen III Horizontal Blade Contour, the newest version of its continuous blade horizontal profile CNC (computer numeric control) cutting machine designed specifically for mattress manufacturing. “(It) leverages advanced machine design strategies where the engineer is the creator, the foam is the canvas, the CNC machine is the brush and the fabricator is the artist,” said Adam Firer, marketing manager for the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based company. The HPX can be used to fabricate every foam component in a mattress, from toppers to rails. “The unique pulley configuration and steel frame design allow for a compact footprint with unparalleled operator proximity to the work piece,” he said. New technical upgrades further enhance performance, accuracy and operator experience.