Did you know that not all latex mattresses are created equally? Among the many factors that determine the quality of the latex foam is the manufacturing process. To produce the latex used in mattresses, manufacturers choose either the Dunlop or the Talalay process. Let’s learn more about these two production processes below.
How Dunlop Latex is Made
Being the more simple method of the two, the Dunlop latex process was created by the Dunlop Rubber Company, and is now widely used throughout the world for the manufacture of thick latex foams. The main basis of the process is the combination of foaming and delayed gelling.
Here’s the basic process for producing Dunlop latex:
- The liquid latex is first extracted and later mixed with stabilising and compounding ingredients, such as soap, sulphur, accelerator and antioxidant.
- The latex is whipped into a frothy foam using a mixer.
- The frothy foam is transferred to a mould.
- The material is then baked in a vulcanisation oven to allow the foam to set into a firm gel.
- After the cured material is removed from the mould, it is washed thoroughly.
- The material goes through heavy rolls to remove excess moisture.
- The foam is then dried and undergoes inspection, while the mould is cleaned and dried.
The Dunlop latex process produces a fairly heavy, firm foam. Since the material is not evenly distributed, it creates a composition where the bottom is firmer than the top. This composition is suitable for manufacturing mattresses with support cores in mind. There are some mattress models that use Dunlop latex as part of their comfort layers, but it may not be the most ideal due to its firmer characteristic.
How Talalay Latex is Made
The Talalay latex process is a highly sophisticated manufacturing process invented by Joseph Talalay in the 1930’s. Despite its higher cost compared to other materials, Talalay latex is still a popular bedding material due to its softer feel.
Here’s the basic process for producing Talalay latex:
- The liquid latex and other raw materials including zinc oxide, fatty acid soaps and sulfur are mixed together to form a compound mix.
- The compound mixture is whipped into a froth and subsequently injected into a mould. Freezing, which is unique to the Talalay process, prevents particles from settling to create a consistent structure. Carbon dioxide is introduced to gel the foam. Then a strong heat is applied to cure the foam as the core is baked into a solid state.
- The material is removed from the mould and is washed thoroughly. The washing is important to prevent premature softening of the latex.
- The material is then dried to complete the curing process and the removal of excess moisture.
Softer and less dense, Talalay foam is more suitable for comfort layers than support cores.
What Is the Difference Between Dunlop and Talalay?
Compared to other mattress materials, both Dunlop and Talalay are exceptionally durable. However, Dunlop latex is denser than Talalay, which makes it more durable and long-lasting than its counterpart.
Because of Dunlop’s firmer foam texture, it definitely has a firmer feel to support the sleeper’s body. Talalay foam, on the other hand, provides a softer, more gentle feel than Dunlop. Despite the differences in texture, both are able to provide consistent support that can alleviate body aches and pains.
Cost & Environmental Impact
Dunlop latex has a less intensive manufacturing process and is more energy efficient compared to Talalay latex. The more mechanical processes that are involved in the manufacturing process, the more harmful byproducts are released into the atmosphere. While the extra steps taken when producing Talalay latex create attractive benefits for the end user, the environment doesn’t fare so well in addition to being more costly.
Talalay latex is generally more breathable than Dunlop latex. As Talalay latex is less dense than Dunlop latex, it allows better airflow to keep you cool while you sleep.
Blended and synthetic latex are usually processed with petrochemicals that cause the material to emit more volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are responsible for off-gassing smells. While organic and natural Dunlop and Talalay latex carry much less odour potential, some off-gassing should be expected from any new mattress.
Springy vs Bouncy
When it comes to elasticity, Dunlop foam is more springy, whereas Talalay foam is bouncy. Although springy and bouncy might seem similar, they have different meanings when it comes to mattress composure. While a bouncy mattress is one that allows you the ability to jump on the bed, it doesn’t return rapidly as a spring does when pressure is released from it. While all types of latex foam have a springy and elastic feel, Talalay foam has an extremely springy, “bouncy” feel. Some people prefer this, but many do not like this “bounciness”.
Whether you choose a Dunlop or Talalay mattress, both have their own distinct benefits to the sleeper. Here at Getha, we have been using the Dunlop process since 1969, making latex mattresses that fit your comfort. Browse our quality range of latex mattresses today.