Pro-Foam blanks are made using MDI instead of TDI. Others had tried and none had succeeded.
The use of MDI was essential as making blanks in the UK using standard blank chemistry was incompatible with our strict health and safety regulations. Due to increasing concern regarding health hazards of isocyanates and TDI, UK-made MDI blank production was developed by 'Homeblown'.
They introduced a foam system that was based on MDI (methylene di-phenyl di-isocyanate) rather than TDI (toluene di-isocyanate). This decision was based on global concern of both the short and long term health hazards of isocyanates in general, and TDI in particular. The main health hazard associated with isocyanates is inhalation of vapour or aerosol.
When working with surfboard blanks, there is an additional hazard of partially-cured foam dust which becomes airborne in the shaping process. MDI is by far the least hazardous of the commonly available isocyanates, since its vapour pressure (which is an indication of how easily it evaporates) is some 2500 times less than that of TDI at ambient temperatures. This fact makes handling, storage and shaping of the blanks safer.
Pro-Foam blanks are the ONLY blanks available in the UK to use MDI Foam technology.
Another additional benefit of the system is it produces a closed cell structure foam, which is totally waterproof, unlike TDI or EPS foam. No more sessions pulled short trying to avoid water ingress! The MDI system relies on a computer controlled pouring machine that ensures the foam is delivered precisely in the right amounts to each part of the mould. The result is consistent density from top to bottom of the blank. This provides a harder, less ‘dingable’ foam; production with minimal wastage of resources; and (by inference) a dramatically reduced rubbish disposal problem - a major issue worldwide.
Our blanks are produced in the UK, and use mostly UK-produced components.
Your final surfboard will have a lower Carbon footprint than those made using imported blanks, but realistically there’s no way to justify the impact a surfboard has on the environment. The whole process has to move on. It has to be market-led, which puts the onus on us the surfers to demand more of the materials in our boards. Using Pro-Foam blanks is a step in the right direction.
Pro-Foam took over from Homeblown UK in June 2017. Headed by Martin ‘Minzy’ Mynne, a well-known name in the surfing world and surf industry since the early 80s.
Pro-Foam continues the work that they started; researching more sustainable and environmentally-friendly alternatives with our chemistry and working practices.