Manufacturing Process of a Mattress

2023-02-02 03:48:31 - Patrick Gruce Patrick Gruce is a seasoned journalist with over a decade of experience in the tech and media industries, offering unique insights on the intersection of technology, media, and legal/regulatory issues through his background in journalism and law.

The origins of the mattress can likely be traced all the way back to prehistoric petroglyphs. Humans were able to sleep more soundly and comfortably on a simple nest made of leaves, straw, and animal skins than they would have on any other surface.  

It was possible to leave these early mattresses in place and reassemble them as people moved around, but as more people gave up their nomadic, hunting lifestyle in favor of a settled, agricultural one, more permanent structures were built to house their belongings, and the bed frame or bed fixture was among the first to emerge.

The evolution of the mattress and bed frame went hand in hand in the beginning. The bed frame was often the largest and most important piece of furniture in ancient societies. It was a common fixture in the heart of the home, where meals, conversations, and even slumber took place.  

Bed frames became increasingly ornate and elaborate over the centuries, especially for those with wealthy means, who frequently had them adorned with gold or inlaid precious stones. Mattresses, however, remained shockingly primitive and painful to sit or lie on.

Typically, a farmer's mattress would consist of a sack stuffed with vegetation such as straw, corncobs, crop debris, or other gathered vegetation. Rich people's mattresses were probably more tailored to their bodies and contained more layers of cotton, horse hair, and other textile scraps than they did agricultural waste.

In addition to being uncomfortably hard, these early mattresses were notoriously dirty and full of bugs. In both cases, the wealthy and the poor slept on primitive mattresses made from discarded materials.  

Mattresses weren't much different from the debris-filled bag used in medieval and even prehistoric times until the late 1800s. With the advent of mass production and the subsequent rise of industrialism, mattresses quickly underwent a period of rapid refinement.  

Instead of being randomly stuffed into the ticking, or sack, the materials were carefully layered by hand. This included plant-based ingredients like cotton or other plant-based ingredients, horse hair, and more refined textiles like linens or other fluffy fibers. For bespoke mattresses for wealthy clients, high-end mattress manufacturers frequently purchased remnants of fabric from tailoring shops.

The first commercially produced innerspring mattress appeared on store shelves in 1871, but it wasn't until 1857 that the concept of a mattress was fundamentally rethought, thanks to the work of German inventor Heinrich Westphal and his invention of a continuous framework of steel coils.

Manufacturers could create a uniform product with a firm, resilient feel by sandwiching a set of springs between two layers of upholstery. These mattresses, known as innerspring mattresses, were initially quite expensive to produce. luxury hotels and luxury cruise ships were the only ones able to afford them.

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Zalmon Simmons, Jr., a man who had served in the military during World War I, was an entrepreneur who dabbled in many fields, including the bed frame industry. He attempted to improve the uncomfortable firmness of the first innerspring mattresses. At the time, he produced a line of mattresses that retailed for $40, which was extremely low for a household item.

Simmons' coil systems were woven coil mats used for stabilization. These mats were typically 8 inches tall, had a wire wrapped exterior perimeter that was perfectly rectangular, and came in a variety of sizes. The steel was originally woven by hand, but with the advent of twisting machinery, an entire unit could be machine made very rapidly, and a method of assembly that involved placing the layers around the woven coil mat made mattress making profitable. This also meant that regular people of limited means could afford innerspring mattresses.

Zalmon Simmons's son Grant promoted the mattress line to the point where Zalmon's mattresses were used in the White House and on the first Air Force One. As the Simmons company developed and refined their designs, including tufting and padding, their products became increasingly comfortable and affordable. After many setbacks across several generations, they are still a formidable force in the mattress industry today.

A number of improved innerspring designs have brought about a sea change in the way contemporary coil-type mattresses are constructed. New innovations, such as individually pocketed coils, replaced the traditional one-piece woven coil "rack" style piece as the design standard used by many manufacturers, including another industry pioneer, the Leggett & Platt Company. , a company whose business is supplying coil components to numerous industrial mattress manufacturers

The innerspring unit is the most important part of a mattress with coils, and it consists of a series of wire coils that are attached to one another with additional wire in a sequential, cage-like format. Wires or clips are used to attach the various upholstery layers to the innerspring unit, with the first layer, the insulator, attached directly to the coil units to prevent the subsequent layers, the cushioning layers, from leaving an imprint on and molding to the coils.  

The insulator is consistent, but the padding can have anywhere from two to eight layers and a thickness of 1/4 inch to two inches ( 2.63-5.9 inches (.63-.2 centimeters) thick Following the quilted cover, the flanges are the connecting panels that are fastened in place using hogs rings, which are large, round staples. The mattress's top, bottom, and side panels are bound together with border or edge tape before being stitched together.

Different types of foam can be used for the comfort layers; examples include polyurethane, memory foam, latex, and even soy and other plant-based foams.

Some of the most common types of springs include the Bonnell, offset, continuous, and pocketed coils, but there are many other types of springs available. Hourglass in form, the Bonnell springs have knots at each end. Similarly hourglass-shaped, the offset design has flattened extremities to allow for a hinge between the coils.

One very long steel wire, bent into S-shaped units, serves as the innerspring's continuous element. Each coil is then enclosed in a fabric casing in the pocketed coil unit, which also serves to connect the individual coil-casing units together. Today, pocketed coil systems are by far the most widely used type of coil mattress insert on the market.

There are typically 250-1000 coil springs in a mattress, with the number increasing in mattresses that use a heavier gauge of wire. As much as 2,000 feet (610 meters) of steel wire may be needed to make an innerspring unit. Multiple methods exist for joining the individual coils. Using helicals, or corkscrew-shaped wires, to lace the coils together along the top and bottom of the springs is a common technique. Wires are sometimes attached rigidly around the unit's borders for stability purposes.

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Most producers also make the boxsprings and other foundation pieces that are placed under a mattress and supported by the bed's metal or wooden structure. Spiked coil foundations are one of the most popular kinds of box springs, and their springs are narrow at the base and widen as they spiral upward. Typically, a boxspring is supported by a spring system, but torsion bars are also an option. Other types of base mattresses have no springs at all, instead using a solid wooden structure.

Substances Used in Production

Mattresses today can be crafted from a wide variety of resources, both natural and synthetic. Wire is used to construct the innerspring, helical, and boxspring parts, with the boxspring wire typically being thicker than the innerspring wire. Semi-rigid netting or wire mesh makes up the insulator, and natural fiber, polyurethane foam, and polyester can all be used in the cushioning layers. Fabric is used for the flanges, while metal is used for the hogs' ear rings. Durable fabric covers the top, bottom, and sides, and is quilted over a foam or fiber backing; the binding is sewn to finish the edges.

Workers manually apply the insulator layer after receiving the finished innerspring unit. The final product's comfort and feel are then established by adding the padding layers. In order to create a one-of-a-kind "recipe" for the mattress being designed, these layers can be made from a wide range of foam layers, arranged in a wide range of sequences, and of varying thicknesses and densities. Depending on the situation, a firmer or softer mattress might be the best option.

The decorative ticking, encasement, or outer covering for the top, bottom, and sides is created on a massive quilting machine, which uses a computer to coordinate a large number of needles to sew the cover to a layer of backing material.

The base of the bed, called the boxspring, is typically made of either a wooden structure with slats or metal coils that are identical to those in the mattress. Even if the boxspring is not upholstered, it will always be covered in fabric.

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One new variety of mattress entered the market and quickly gained in popularity in the late 1980s. The Tempur-Pedic Company was largely responsible for popularizing the first successful generation of all-foam mattresses, which lacked traditional springs and coils.  

Mattresses made of Tempur-Pedic foam were originally created for a NASA program.

In the 1970s, NASA created the first memory foam. The goal was to give pilots and passengers more comfort and safety in the event of a crash. Apart from the well-known memory foam mattresses and pillows, the material has many other commercial uses.

Any consumer who has shopped for a mattress, pillow, bicycle seat, or even a mouse pad wrist rest in the last twenty years will be familiar with memory foam. Since its introduction to the United States in 1991, this new material has been used for a wide variety of purposes, ranging from ground-breaking medical applications like burn unit bedding to gimmicky new product designs. Indeed, the original material has been imitated by numerous companies, each of which has produced their own variant of the material, and it can now be found in a wide variety of mattress styles and configurations. The question is, what is it, who invented it, and how does it function?

While it has only been around since the 1980s, the U. S However, the first work on the polyurethane polymers that are part of the memory foam recipe and which give it the unique melting sensation that it offers actually began in 1937 by Otto Bayer and his colleagues.

Polyurethane pads were first tested as bedding material in 1965 by nurses at Lankenau Hospital in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, and were found to prevent "decubitus ulcers" (also called pressure ulcers or bed sores) from developing on bedridden patients. in addition to being bacterium-proof and hypoallergenic, they The space agency began developing materials in the 1960s that would serve as better cushions and protect astronauts from the intense g-forces experienced during launch.  

The Memory Foam Defense vs. Most "bed in a box" mattresses consist of polyurethane foam, another common ingredient.

Memory foam, which is fundamentally urethane foam, begins as polyurethane foam, a material first produced in the mid 1950s by combining polyols with either water or halocarbons or hydrocarbons. Polyurethane can be processed in a variety of ways to create a wide variety of products, from car parts to spray liner to, in this case, a globally renowned, extraordinarily comfortable sleeping surface.

Polyol, a di-isocyanate, and water make up the three main ingredients in today's memory foam manufacturing process. The foam develops a frothy, breadlike consistency as it rises, and an open cell structure that aids in its unique, albeit sluggish, resilience when subjected to pressure. Air can move from cell to cell thanks to a matrix formed when bubbled gases are introduced into the initial solution; the size of the bubbles can be adjusted by adjusting the concentration of the chemicals and the amount of gas infused. More air can circulate through a material with a more open cell structure, and the material will be more pliable as a result.

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IFD (Indention Force Deflection), also known as ILD (Indentation Load Deflection), is a unit of measurement for the firmness of memory foam and polyurethane foams. This measurement is the force in pounds required to make a 25% indentation in a 4 inch square of foam.  

The density of the foam, which determines how firm or soft it is, is also an important factor in determining its "softness." Densities of foam range from 1 to 7 pounds, but 4 pounds is considered minimum for use in mattress construction and 5 pounds is considered optimal. For example, at lower temperatures, a foam with a high density but low ILD may still feel firm when compressed. A foam's softness, firmness, and durability are all controlled by its density, along with the IFD/ILD and the resilience.  

Density plays a role in how easily foam conforms to pressure: lower density foam (typically 5-lb. or higher) conforms to the shape of the body when heated After NASA made the memory foam design public in the 1980s, mass production finally got underway. Using unique molds, Fagerdala World Foams began mass-producing the first "Tempur-Pedic Swedish Mattress" in 1991. This was a full-size version of the product, which presented its own challenges. ” 

These days, consumers can choose from a wider range of options and price points thanks to the proliferation of global manufacturers of viscoelastic memory foam. As a result, there is a greater chance that consumers will buy foams that are of poor quality and will eventually degrade. Many manufacturers in developing countries cut costs by including less desirable "filler" ingredients like styrene and polyols in their memory foam.   

Tendencies in the Mattress Market

Mattress sales are holding fairly steady at the moment. There were about 16 million mattress sales in the US in 1990. Mattresses and frames made up roughly $4 billion in annual sales. Most mattress factories are local, family-run businesses, with only a few exceptions. Across the United States, there are roughly 825 mattress factories, the vast majority of which are still owned and operated by their original families.

Generally speaking, mattress sizes in 2020 are standardized. The industry pushed for this standardization so that mattress and bed manufacturers could eliminate any potential sizing discrepancies. A twin bed is 39 inches wide and 74 inches long, a double bed is 54 inches wide and 74 inches long, a queen bed is 60 inches wide and 80 inches long, and a king bed is 78 inches wide and 80 inches long.  

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