Renegade foam start-up Ice-Nine has just acquired Mexico-based Glory Foam – a synchronistic takeover that can truly be described as sweet. Glory Foam specialized in blanks made out of sugar – sugar-based polyols, actually, which it incorporated into its MDI technology to produce environmentally safe polyurethane.
Ice-Nine Foam Works president Jon Stillman sees the acquisition as a way to amp up customer quiver options. "Our development here at Ice-Nine has been focused on polyester-based polyurethane,” he says. “The addition of Glory Foam's polyether line gives us a broader range of performance and price options for our customers, as each of these families of polyurethane have their unique advantages."
In addition, by bringing this pioneering new technology back to America, Ice-Nine reverses the current US manufacturing disaster. Currently, Ice-Nine employs 20 people at its rapidly expanding Orange County manufacturing site. When set up for full production by the end of this year, Ice-Nine expects to employ dozens, as its own custom rocker program and proprietary mold and stringer technology combines with Glory Foam’s polyether-based foam production to offer a selection of 51 revolutionary new blanks.
Ice-Nine Foam Works Inc. was founded in Orange County, California in January 2006 by surf culture enthusiasts and entrepreneurs with the goal of advancing foam blank and stringer technology. Its focus has been advancing traditional polyurethane technology to produce a high-strength, flexible blank for the most demanding shapers and riders.
Glory Foam was founded in Ensenada, Mexico in April 2005 by a group of committed, expatriate surfers, including general manager Tom Brown who spent several years sailing and surfing south of the border before cooking up his signature foam. "After what we saw in both lack of good surf product as well as crazy amounts of trash,” he says, “we wanted to do something for surfers and the environment by leading the way in responsible, clean, and safe manufacturing."
In addition to making the light, flexible and durable sugar-based blanks, Brown devised a state-of-the-art, computer-controlled dispensing machine which ensures the quality of foam and reduces waste. "We've spent the last few years developing innovative methods of producing an environmentally sound product," Brown continues. "We are happy to pass on what we have learned to Ice Nine, which is dedicated to providing shapers and consumers with a better product."