View Full Version : Experience with EZ Flow Packaging System

Betsy Bruemmer
06-14-2011, 11:49 AM
Does anyone have experience with this biodegradable extruded foam in place system? We are considering using it for a major collections move over the next 6 months. Here is the link to further information: http://www.ezflowgreen.com/ Apparently it briefly heats up as the chemicals combine. It seems like a quick way to create a cavity pack for sturdy items made from metal or glass. Thanks!

T. Ashley McGrew
06-14-2011, 06:10 PM
Hi Betsy,

Have not used this particular foam.

I do know that there was a company in New York that was affiliated with Artex that made extensive use of foam in place materials catering to the auction house trade. Everything I heard made it sound as if it was very successful. Someone at Artex could probably give you more information. I would think about contacting them.

You are probably aware of the three concerns traditionally expressed about the use of any expanding spray foam.

1) Is the fact that most polyurethanes off-gas to some degree, so if materials are sensitive (metals could be included here) or will stay in the container for very long that could be a problem.
2) I have heard from multiple sources that the foam can continue to expand after it appears to be cured putting pressure on objects and potentially breaking them (don't know if this is due to bad mixing of the ingredients, or if it is a common problem or not).
3) The heat that you mentioned in your note in your question.

All that said, it sounds like you are carefully weighing both the nature of your objects and the circumstances they will face in making your decisions. So it might be a good match.

Personally I worked up a packing system for a grad student in the Art School next to the museum I worked for back in the early Pliocene or late Miocene epoch. She was sending a whole bunch of small somewhat delicate objects (small projecting pieces etc...) to a gallery in New York (a very big deal). She used the foam in place material for it and it was very effective.
The trick was that the projections received a temporary layer of tissue wrapped around them.
After the foam was injected the excess material covering delicate areas was removed leaving a cavity where they could "float" untouched. This allowed for selective contact with the more stable portions of the objects. This solution produced very accurate contours without the skill level and time normally required to achieve this kind of result. It also minimized the handling that goes along with individually wrapping all of the pieces. The gallery folks were very happy because the pieces could go straight from the walls into their compartments in a fraction of the time required for much of the other work they received.
While the spray foam allowed for the selective stabilization of objects (especially those with moveable parts), this kind of foam is not as effective in mitigating shock and vibration as is using the right amount of a standard foam. So, as the second part of the system these inner boxes were floated inside of a secondary outer box using foam calculated to match its weight by using one of those old CCI circular cushioning calculators.
Worked like a charm.

Getting back to your question this forum is pretty new having just been launched a little over a year ago and as a result it only has around four hundred registered members. While it includes a lot more international participation than our list serve, there are more folks signed up there (around a thousand). You might want to put the question out there (or I could if you would like) as well.
Hope your project is very successful. Take lots of pictures and share them on the website if you want!
Best regards,


Betsy Bruemmer
06-15-2011, 09:49 AM
Thanks Ashley. I will follow up on all accounts. -B.

06-16-2011, 01:08 AM
I always thought it would be difficult to control the pressure of the foam against the object, when applying. But I never used this method nor researched it. It's an interesting method. I've heard of a company that ships motorcycles using a similar product.

Let us know what happens.

T. Ashley McGrew
06-16-2011, 11:02 AM
I seems as if judging how much of the stuff to use is the key. If you watch the video during the demonstration he doesn't spray in much at all. Without practice I can see how it would be easy to overfill and end up compressing your contents to some degree. It sounds like some practice with non-objects is called for.

One other thing that it is worth noting in the video is when the guy talks about comparisons between different kinds of fills (cost and effectiveness) when he discusses the use of "peanuts" he is unintensionally (I'm sure) misleading.
While it is true that peanuts used loose can shift allowing an object to shift to the bottom of the container, that is not the appropriate application of the materia when used with art objects. In use with artifacts it is customary to bag the peanuts - very loosely - in the thinnest bags available. This still allows them to conform to the objects (their primary function) but it prevents the object from shifting through to the bottom. It also prevents the "scatter" that occurs with unbagged peanuts and facilitates reuse.

In fact I believe that on the SMM collections move - documented in the book "Moving the Mountain" - that at the end of the project they made arrangements with UPS or FedEx or somebody to trade in their peanuts (still clean since they had been bagged) in exchange for credit on future shipping.
In that case nothing goes in a land fill or compost station and it saves money for the institution as well!
In my view "intellegent use" which emphasizes practical re-use of resources is often the "greenest" option available in terms of being both ethical and effective in the work that we do.

Mary Nicolett
06-21-2011, 08:43 AM
One additional note of caution- if this becomes a "sturdy" foam, then it may loose all vibration and shock absorption, which may also cause harm to the packed object during transport. I heard that one of Jeff Koons' porcelain pieces was damaged from being packed using an expandable foam product. This was hearsay, but is enough of a cautionary tale.