Neoprene

What is neoprene?

When we speak of NEOPRENE, very frequently we refer to the material used for production of diving suits; of course this is true, but this intended use is only one of many possible! Today neoprene is not only intended for use in the sports field, in fact, requests from the most diverse markets are increasingly frequent, and the interest that has developed around this type of material is justified by the truly wide field of applications.
Neoprene is an artificial, spongy product with a microcellular structure; in some ways it is similar to a rubber, but it is lighter and with a high thermal and insulation capacity, therefore this material acts as a barrier between different environments, such as hot and cold, or air and water.
Considering its spongy structure, neoprene is a protective material against, for example, vibrations and shocks.

How we sell it

il SHEICO neopreneis supplied in sheets, whose indicative size is 120 x 210 cm with a tolerance of +/- 5%(attention: these measurements are not valid for certain types of sheets, for example those with Kevlar or with rubber J or C). If you need to know the real size of a sheet, please contact us.

The thickness of the sheets, referred to the foam only (therefore excluding linings), varies from a minimum of 0.5 mm to a maximum of 10 mm, with a tolerance of +/- 0.3 mm. Being cellular foams, all sizes and dimensions are subject to tolerances.

Neoprene can be made of different foams, which will consequently change the technical characteristics of the material (density, heat, elasticity, compressibility ...), can be perforated to allow perspiration and can be made with compounds with low flammable power.

The term "neoprene" refers only to the "rubbery" part of the material; the finish of the faces can be defined as desired. Various alternatives are available both for the rubber finishes (open cell, smooth, knurled ...) and for the type of fabrics that can be laminated on top (nylon, polyester, lycra, plush, more elastic fabrics, more resistant fabrics ... in a wide range of colors). The sheets can be unlined, sandwich, single lined or double lined.

At our warehouse a large quantity of neoprene sheets is available for immediate delivery; for sheets not available there is the possibility of producing them according to the specific requests, with delivery times starting from 30 days.

Have a look at the neoprene catalog
Do you want to know sheets availability?

SBR alternative

There is also the possibility of buying SBR sheets: a material that at a glance does not differ much from neoprene. In reality the different chemical composition certainly makes it cheaper, even if of a lower quality. For certain applications, however, this compound is certainly more than sufficient.
We find among the most recent innovations, pre-stressed neoprene, commonly known as "broken cell neoprene" or better yet "crushed neoprene".
The pre-stressed sheet is rather thin, particularly elastic, remarkably resistant; the only limit is the weight, which is much greater than other materials.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why our neoprene is not made in Italy?

Despite being great admirers of Italian made products, our neoprene is made in the Far East(Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan …).
Let’s see why…

First of all, it should be noted that neoprene sheet is generally composed of foam (CR) and eventually laminated fabrics on one or two sides, or in special cases, even inside.
The main CR foams we sell are “oil free”, namely are made without petroleum derivatives, confirming the desire to pursue environment and health goals.

The sector in which we operate requires materials with certain quality, comfort, strength and softness standards, and the producers we have selected are all engaged in the research and development of specific products for these niche markets.

Neoprene made in Europe is mainly dedicated to the industrial market, and despite it’s geographically more attractive, it has characteristics that doesn’t match the demand of water sports, clothing and accessories sectors.
The main difference is the quality lamination of the fabrics: for “water sport” sector, the bonding sealing of the fabric to the foam is fundamental, due to the frequent use of the products in aggressive environments (for example sea water) .
For this reason, manufacturers of the neoprene sheets that we sell, give absolute priority to the research for adhesives that are increasingly performing and more oriented towards environment respect.

The first “toluene free” glues are currently being tested, which represent a meaningful step towards more “green” products.

For any doubts, please, don’t hesitate to contact us!

How neoprene is sold?

Neoprene is sold in sheets, whose indicative dimensions are cm 120×220 (+/-5%)

Neoprene is waterproof?

Yes, neoprene is a waterproof material; under normal conditions, its closed micro-cell structure does not allow the passage of air / water.

How can I wash correctly neoprene items?
  • wash at 30 °C with a common detergent
  • do not bleach
  • do not iron or similar
What’s the minimum thickness and what versions available?

Currently the sheets have a minimum thickness of 0.5 mm.

The neoprene sheet is usually offered in three versions:

  • double lined: both sides are covered with fabric
  • single-lined: one side covered with fabric
  • unlined: not covered with fabric
What kind of fabrics can be laminated on the sheets and how they apply it?

The fabrics that are most frequently laminated is nylon or polyester. They can have different weights depending on the functionality required.
Nylon is the most widely used fabric, other than fluorescent and very light colors, in which a very thick polyester covering is used, to keep the colors very bright, without showing the color of the neoprene to which it is laminated.
In the lamination of neoprene, the fabrics are applied with solvent-based or water-based adhesives. It is a very remote event, although not impossible. If neoprene is used in marine environments, salt and UV rays can deteriorate the material, but by using the best adhesives developed for this type of use, this possibility of delamination is drastically reduced.

Which fabric colors are UV resistant?

All dark colors are on average very resistant; there is a faster deterioration / discoloration in light colors and especially in fluorescent colors, due to a less UV-resistant pigmentation.

Which are the finishes when neoprene is not lined?

Neoprene sheet sides, when not lined with fabric, can have different finishes:

  • smooth (smooth skin, Glide): side is uniformly smooth It can be black or in other colors; It can be naturally black or in other colors.
  • open cell: side appears porous
How do you evaluate the sheet elaticity?

Sheet elasticity depends on the elasticity of the laminated fabrics. The sheet will have the elasticity equal to the less elastic laminated fabric.

The sheet can be teared?

Yes, especially the non-laminated sheet, which is not lined with fabrics.

Can neoprene be sewed or glued?

Yes, the neoprene panels can be joined by gluing, in order to maintain and guarantee the waterproofing of the product and can be sewn. If you do not want to compromise the product waterproofing, the seam must be non-passing.
The seam can be applied only if there are linings on both panels.

What kind of adhesive can be used to glue neoprene?

To combine neoprene, the use of neoprene-based glue is recommended. This glue will not be optimal in case you try to glue something on the neoprene lining.

Suggestions to sew neoprene

When it becomes necessary to machine sew a sheet of non-neoprene lined, there is the problem of how to prevent the rubber from getting stuck in the machine mechanisms.
The rubber makes friction on the roller, the sheet does not slide, the thread is knotted … and the stitching is difficult, if not impossible.
To avoid this problem, you can:

  • use a sewing machine with a double transport foot
  • place a sheet of tissue paper between the rubber and the roller of the machine
  • use special silicone sprays that make the rubber and the needle slippery.

TYPES OF STITCHING

OVERLOCK
Overlock stitching, in our sector, is generally used for two types of applications:

  • finishing of hems
  • fast assembly of very low thickness panels

Finishing: in addition to a prettier appearance, the seam edge / hem finishing overlock (one sleeve, one trousers, of the hood ..) protects the product from small delaminations e fraying.
Assembly: many neoprene accessories come packed with this seam, which does not require pre-gluing of the parts. The overlock stitching does not guarantee any waterproofing.

FLATLOCK
It is a flat, very resistant seam also suitable for light neoprene. It is very decorative but it is not waterproof; can be made using simultaneously yarns of different colors.

BLINDSTITCH
It is the typical seam for neoprene products: the needle is not completely perforates the neoprene, so the joint is waterproof and the chain structure ensures elasticity.

WELDED There are no seams but the neoprene is only glued.