Impression Foam for Tools
Foam shadow-boards to protect and identify tools / equipment
Tool control foam – also known as shadow boards – are similar to foam case inserts but, by using layers of different coloured foams, it is allows you to quickly see whether a specific tool or item is missing.
This can help improve productivity as engineers / operatives do not head out on site without all of the required tools, but can also be critical to safety too (preventing foreign object damage). They also prevent or expensive kit becoming lost on site. All laser cut tooling foam also offers excellent protection for your equipment. Read More
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More info on Tool Control Foam
Tool control foam provides a quick and simple way to reduce damage to and loss of tools and equipment.
With a bright coloured foam as the base, a layer of darker (usually black) foam is laminated over the top. The recesses for the individual tools are then routed or cut through these two layers of foam creating a high-visibility pocket. Once the tools or equipment are in place, this brighter base colour of the layered foam sheets will not be seen. However, as soon as a tool is removed to be used, the bright colour is clearly visible, even “at a glance”.
This means that this impression foam for tools will help prevent items becoming lost or left behind when working on site.
This can be particularly problematic when a vast range of hand tools and equipment are being used on location – it is surprisingly easy to leave a tool behind having completed a complex job. Kit then needs to be replaced. Projects can be severely delayed. Replacements must be sourced. And this all leads to considerable expense to your business as well as delays for your customers.
The shadow foam also acts as protection for the tools. It prevents them from damaging each other during transit (again, surprisingly common if tools can collide into each other when being transported).
This prevention of loss and damage in turn eliminates the need (and cost) of replacing what can often be expensive, high value items.
It also means that delays to projects and jobs caused by not having the correct tools can be avoided. The cost savings of this alone can be very significant.
Productivity and safety gains
As well as helping to identify missing tools, shadow board foam inserts can also be used to identify which tools are required for a specific task or job.
By logically laying out the tools within the foam insert, for example in order of use, it can both simplify and speed up specific procedures.
Although this will only result in a small increase in productivity, the effects over the months and years the foam will be in use can be significant. This also makes them ideally suited for use as chest or drawer liners.
Foam shadow boards were in fact originally created to prevent “foreign object damage” to aircraft and military vehicles; it was found that, frequently, the foreign object in question was often a tool that had been left behind during routine repairs or maintenance.
As a result, shadow board and tool control foams are extensively used in the aerospace sector (often as Peli™ case foam or in similar cases).
Key benefits of foam shadow boards at a glance
- Quickly highlights if tools or equipment are missing from case / foam
- Helps prevent loss / theft (and expense of replacements)
- Aids productivity of field engineers by allowing quick visual checks of equipment
- Can help avoid delays caused by staff arriving on site without correct tools
- Safety improvements by eliminating potential for tools being left inside machinery following maintenance / repairs
- Provides cushioning protection for items during transit (minimising damage)
- Compatible with all outer cases, toolboxes etc.
Common questions about foam shadow-boards
Tool control foam can have a wide range of benefits for nearly any business using foam inserts.
The below section sets out how, along with answering a number of commonly asked questions too (although please get in touch if you still require further assistance).
What is the difference between tool control foam and shadow boards?
Tool control foam and shadow boards are essentially two different terms for the same product. Both describe coloured foam inserts that have been designed to allow engineers to quickly see if items are missing from a case / toolbox.
Can these be used in outer cases?
Tool control foam can be produced to specific sizes and designs. Not only does this mean that they are tailored to your specific set of tools / equipment, but that they can be adapted to fit inside virtually any exterior protective case or toolbox too. They are even sometimes used for flight case foam.
Can shadow boards be used in drawers?
Shadow boards can – and often are – used within tool drawers and chests to keep items organised and easy to find. This can help the efficiency and productivity of staff in workshop, assembly line or manufacturing environments.
What is Kaizen foam?
Kaizen is the Japanese word for continuous improvement. The term became affixed to foam (referring to shadow boards) as they have been used in factories and production environments adhering to this continuous improvement strategy, enabling staff to more quickly and easily find the tools / equipment they require.
What is tool control foam made from?
Tool control foam is manufactured from Plastazote® – the same material as custom case inserts. This is because not only is the foam a high quality that offers good levels of protection but is also available in a wide range of colours and allows for a quality finish and well-defined edges once machined.
How are the different colours made?
The different coloured recesses or pockets that characterise tool control foam are produced by layering a darker colour foam (such as black) over a lighter coloured foam. Once the top layer has been cut or machined through, it reveals the lighter colour underneath. In fact, it is even possible to purchase tool control foam rolls / sheets to use for DIY or individual projects.
Will these protect fragile items in transit?
Tool control shadow boards perform in a very similar way to regular foam inserts, in that they prevent the movement of the items when being transported. This protects them from impact with each other and the outer walls of the case, but also provides a level of cushioning from shock and impact too (which can be calculated to exact levels if required).
What is FOD?
Foreign object damage (FOD) was a term originally used in aviation to describe when damage to engine or other mechanical part of the aircraft is caused by an object that shouldn’t be there. On many occasions, this foreign object was a forgotten tool or piece of equipment left inside the engine or critical control system by an engineer during repairs or regular maintenance. This is one of the reasons tool control foam was first developed.