Polyester Fabric Question

Hello everyone,

I’m wondering if anyone knows any of the specifics of the outside fabric material on this case from IKEA. The listing says it is polyester, but are there particular properties that allow it to be deformed permanently (the front bumps and the round edges) while still maintaining the weave of the fabric? Any suggestions of physical properties or specific fabrics would be very helpful…

You can zoom in on the image here: Products - IKEA


That is a heat formed case. The fabric is pressed into a negative mold and steamed / heated and then usually spray sealed as well. It’s a great solution for small volume containers that require light weight but a relatively soft demeanor with durable surfaces. You can most often provide 2D views as a pattern or also provide a 3D data model (but many sew shops won’t use it for anything more than guidance).

Sometimes used in conjunction with and referred to as ‘formed EVA’, there are several common materials used and many manufacturers in the Far East. If you’re looking for a shop for costing / sampling / production, feel free to email me - I can put you in touch with a good one. Consider spec’ing an edge-band and/or a zipper closure if appropriate for your designs, it finishes the edges and makes for a nicely refined appearance.

Thanks! Sending you an email now…

I would describe this case as thermoformed EVA with a poly jersey outer. The jersey is adhered to the EVA before molding into the final form. I agree with the post above that the edges should be finished with binding because it will help prevent the outer fabric from de-laminating through use and give a clean appearance.

Many other outer fabrics can be used to cover the EVA. Lycra is generally more expensive than poly jersey, but gives a neoprene-like look. Other polyesters work well too - you can play with textures to create an appearance that is coarse and rugged, or smooth and easy to clean.

In terms of creating a tech pack for your design, I have worked with suppliers in China that do not have 3D software and prefer 2D dimensioned ortho and section views, where others have asked for a 3D file.

I would describe this case as thermoformed EVA with a poly jersey outer. The jersey is adhered to the EVA before molding into the final form.

… and has been around since the late 1960s as seen in stereo speaker grille inserts, etc.

Those grilles were most often stretched and adhered over a cheap frame - I haven’t seen any from the 60’s that were formed.

Just jumped back on this forum and wondered if we ever talked, I can’t remember! Feel free to email me if you need the manuf. info.

Wish I still had the samples Scott … I worked for Arvin Industries Home Entertainment Division in Columbus, Indiana as my first job out of school (1973-1975). Arvin did proprietary “Stereo” design and manufacturing for Sears, Radio Shack, J.C. Penny’s, and Sound Design.

The speaker covers we manufactured (in Taiwan) were absolutely not adhered over a cheap frame… they were an EVA-like jersey material pre-bonded to perforated ABS sheet and then vacuum-formed to final shape. It was nothing new to the design staff when I came on board, so I’m assuming (?) that the technology had been around for a few years… but then, maybe not.

Thanks Lew - good to know they were doing this that long ago. Do you remember if they heat staked the cover material to the ABS sheet or adhered it? They must have tried a bunch of face materials to get that right and to prevent surface scarring during the vac forming. Neat stuff.

2010 - 1973 = 39 years :open_mouth:

I can’t say that I know exactly Scott. I doubt is was a staking operation; the material was uniformly “adhered” to the surface of the substrat - there was no looseness at all. Arvin also manufactured a proprietary vinylclad-sheetmetal product they called Arvinyl ® (clever name, huh?); it may have been a proprietary material in the grille covers as well. Arvinyl is still in production but Arvin Industries is no longer in business… too bad, it was an innovative company and provided a lot of jobs.

I do remember thinking it was cool stuff; an “advanced” material at the time (considering BSR auto-changer turntables mounted on top, with dark dust covers, 8-tracks, AM/FM radio (with no flywheel in the tuner), hiding behind an injection molded facia (with inset brushed aluminum panels), mounted on wood-grain vinyl, groove-folded cases were the technology of the day).

Cool - now I get to read up on Arvinyl! Thanks for the additional info.