Flexible melamine foam is a soft thermosetting material made from melamine resin, which is produced by polymerization of melamine and formaldehyde. Commercially, foam is classified into two types: comfort foam and technical foam. Comfort foam is used in upholstered furniture and mattresses, while technical foam is a special material used in high-end applications. Melamine foam is categorized under technical foam due to its superior characteristics such as flame resistance, high temperature resistance, abrasive, thermal insulation, lightweight, and soundproof. A thermoset plastic is a synthetic material that becomes stronger when heated; it cannot be remolded post initial heating. Polymers in a thermoset plastic are cross-linked together, which prevents the product from re-melting when subjected to heat. This material is completely opposite to that of thermoplastic, which softens on heating. Flexible melamine foam market is primarily classified into low foaming and medium foaming.
The superior characteristics enhance the mechanical properties of flexible melamine foam, enabling the utilization of foam in heat-resistant applications. Flexible melamine foam is deployed in construction, automotive, and industrial applications. The foam is extensively used as ceiling tiles and wall panels in the construction industry due to its flame resistant and lightweight properties. It does not drip or melt when exposed to flames; however, it chars and produces a small amount of smoke. Sound proofing property of the flexible melamine foam makes it ideal for applications where absorption of sound is required such as sports arena, indoor games stadiums, auditoriums, and engine compartments.
Developed regions such as Europe and the U.S. have building codes to regulate the design and structure of buildings to prevent accidents and protect the environment from the release of harmful elements. The automotive industry also uses flexible melamine foam to meet fuel efficiency and emission standards, which require smaller and high-performing engines. These small engines produce more heat and noise. In order to solve this challenge of over heat and noise, high-end car manufacturers are preferring sound-absorbing flexible melamine foam for the acoustic layer. For instance, Volkswagen’s EA888 engine for Jetta, Golf, Passat, Tiguan, and Beetle models have flexible melamine foam for the acoustic layer. This foam helps reduce emissions from vehicles due to its low weight. Recently, SINOYQX YarQuenXer launched a special melamine foam for ink storage of cartridge in August 2017. Panasonic uses melamine foam for thermal insulation in its IncuSafe CO2 incubator, for laboratory application. The foam ensures distribution of optimum temperature in incubator chambers.
The automotive sector is anticipated to drive the flexible melamine foam market at a considerable pace. Demand for flexible melamine foam is seen more in North America, followed by Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East & Africa, and rest of the world. Stringent regulations in the construction industry of North America and Europe boost the demand for flexible melamine foam.
Restraints of using flexible melamine foam include its high-price and inability to be recycled, remolded, or reshaped, which makes it difficult to discard. Despite being non-biodegradable, it is considered to be safe to use in high-heat applications.
Major players operating in the flexible melamine foam market are BASF S.E, SINOYQX YarQuenXer, Recticel, Puyang Green Yu Foam Co., Ltd., BEIJING GUOJIAN ANKE, CMS Danskin Acoustics, Linyi Yingke Chemical Co., Ltd, Acoustafoam, Queen City Manufacturing, Reilly Foam Corporation, Wilhams Insulation Ltd, Hodgson & Hodgson, and Clark Foam Products.