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What if you could replace wood with a foam composite at a fraction of the weight, while making manufacturing processes easier and extending the lifespan of the end product? Nomaco’s transfoamation experts have developed just such a solution with HercuLean™ structural foam.

HercuLean structural foam replaces woodWith a name that’s a nod to Hercules, the super strong hero from classical mythology, HercuLean was developed to provide tremendous strength in a lean, lightweight material. The resulting material, an ultra-dense structural foam, has been shown to withstand up to 72,000 pounds while being made up of 84% air.

Why Foam Over Wood?

Wood has been used for years, so some might wonder how foam could be better.  Wood is heavy and can crack or splinter, all of which make it difficult to handle. Wood absorbs water and over time is susceptible to mold, mildew and rot.

In comparison, HercuLean structural foam and composites made with HercuLean technology are resistant to water, mold, mildew, rot and other elements that commonly break down wood. Plus, the smooth, closed-cell foam structure of HercuLean is easy to handle, doesn’t splinter and makes the product up to three times lighter than wood.

Unlike common foam products, HercuLean structural foam has excellent screw and nail retention.  It can also be cut, routed, laminated and thermoformed, fitting into standard manufacturing processes.

But perhaps HercuLean’s biggest wood replacement opportunity is the in elimination of joints normally required when butting wood panels side by side …

Seamless Custom Panels

HercuLean Video - Replace Wood
Link to HercuLean video.

The air-like HercuLean structural foam core can be combined with a variety of laminate skins to create seamless composites specific to a customer’s requirements.  These seamless panels eliminate the need for joints, thereby simplifying the manufacturing process and decreasing labor with no epoxy joint filling or sanding required. Consider the labor savings and increased efficiencies if one seamless 8’x30’ panel made with HercuLean Technology can replace eight standard plywood panels used in a boat floor or bus ceiling.

Where Can HercuLean be Used?

Marine – Due to its closed cell structure, HercuLean has a natural buoyancy and is ideal for boatbuilding applications such as deck flooring. The product is being introduced this month at the 2017 International Boatbuilder’s Exposition, but the opportunities extend well beyond the marine industry.

Transportation – Manufacturers of recreational vehicles and buses see value in removing weight while maintaining structural integrity. Composite panels can be used from floor to ceiling, providing huge savings in the transportation industry.

Industrial Storage – Other manufacturers that stock industrial sheet materials such as wood, steel, glass and more see value in utilizing runners made with HercuLean Technology.  ReRun™ foam runners can support weights equivalent to 10 full-size extended cab pick up trucks. These runners can be used multiple times and resist cracking, splintering, warping and rot.

Construction – Construction professionals see opportunity for HercuLean in a variety of structural applications.  Check back with us as these opportunities continue to evolve.

What’s Next?

In classical mythology, Hercules was known for his super strength and far-reaching adventures. Similarly, far-ranging possibilities abound for this new air-like, super strong structural foam. In addition to being available in custom sizes and composite skins, HercuLean can be customized to specific densities based on the end use properties required. There’s truly an open horizon ahead for what this material replacement innovation can do. What could you replace with HercuLean?

The Innovation, Inspiration & Ideas blog was created to share stories and profiles of companies, products and individuals creating innovation in business through inventive material solutions. For more information on why we launched it, read our blog introduction.


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About the Author

Allison Stroud

Allison Stroud is the managing editor of the Innovation, Inspiration & Ideas blog. A 14-year veteran of Nomaco, Allison specializes in marketing communications and serves as the company historian.

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