The clever choice
Targets made from Ethafoam have proven their worth in archery and bow sports for decades. Ethafoam is a protected term for a special polyethylene foam material. This disc material disappeared a few years ago from the market due to copyright reasons. Producers of targets for bow sports have relatively quickly relied on other synthetic foams and served the market, partly also unfair, under the term Ethafoam. Also, new names like Targetfoam, etc., were created, to suggest to the end user “This is something tried and tested.”
We have not been able to bring ourselves to initiate something which in the end had already been done by others. Instead, we offered targets made of a polyethylene which were not BY BEIER GERMANY products. We refused to use Stramit, because in our opinion Stramit has no place in bow sports. Anyone who has ever moved Stramit discs knows how heavy they are. And anyone who has shot at Stramit knows how hard the arrows are stopped, how difficult it is to get the arrows out again, and how easily the beautiful and cost-intensive arrows break when they hit the target.
We wanted to offer our customers targets from Ethafoam again, and, therefore, we made a search for a suitable manufacturer. In 2010, we went into a cooperation and were able to include Ethafoam targets into our range again. In the meantime, not only in Germany these “Made in Germany” targets are shot at, but also abroad: after a request from the Argentinian Bow Sports Union we also delivered them there.
But what is so special about Ethafoam targets?
If you ask around, you will hardly find someone who is able to answer this question. You always hear then:
“The holes close again”, “good and soft deceleration behavior”, “good stop action without breaking of arrows” “the arrows can easily be pulled out”, “in winter, the targets also stay soft”. etc.
* The closing of the holes is relative, the penetrated arrow has, of course, left its mark in the disc and the hole is inevitably there. But the material is so elastic that, depending on the temperature, it returns to its original shape and thus closes the hole.
But why is it like that?
The properties mentioned are based on the special material properties of Ethafoam, but there is much more to it! We changed a few things in our discs and we think for the better.
Facts and basic characteristics of Ethafoam targets:
Ethafoam is a closed-cell, non-cross-linked PE (polyethylene) foam. Its flexible and closed-cell structure contributes to a particularly good and highly elastic cushioning property. This positive feature is used in archery: Ethafoam spares the arrows no matter what material they are made of.
What is the advantage of the non-cross-linked Ethafoam structure compared to other targets?
Very simple: Cross-linked foam is not recyclable, cross-linked foam discs cannot be melted and, thus, are contributing to environmental pollution.
A non-cross-linked molecular chain structure as in the Ethafoam is also responsible for the soft “dipping” of the arrows. For in the case of non-cross-linked Ethafoam foam, the molecular chains lie side by side, almost ordered and they can move. This structure has the result that the arrow can displace the material and it can move back into the initial position after the arrow has been pulled out. The speed of this return movement is temperature-dependent. In comparison to this, for the cross-linked foams you can imagine a fishing net, which does not stretch or move, otherwise it would not be a net and fish could not be caught with it. The movement is accordingly so severely restricted or not possible at all, which ultimately leads to a hole formation in the target discs.
Polyvinyl discs are often sold as recycled material. This is true, but these discs are glued together from cross-linked foam pieces. After being shot at, the discs begin to crumble. Therefore, to slow down this process, a mat is glued on the front and rear. A clever solution to the industry – they simply sell their waste.
But now, back to the advantages of Ethafoam (EF) in bow sports:
- EF has an extremely good compressive and creep resistance over long periods of time. This ensures a very good fit, which advantageously influences the exchangeability and the seat of the change-over centers.
- EF has the same performance at great temperature fluctuations. Whether it is cold in winter or warm in summer, the temperature does not affect deceleration, it is always good. Even extreme temperature fluctuations and high humidity create no problem for Ethafoam. Ethafoam can take all of this and can be used in bow sports in all seasons.
- EF is resistant to mold fungi, which cannot really be said of any other target material.
- EF is resistant to vermin; the beasts do not like it.
- EF has a medium resistance to solvents and chemicals, but above all good resistance to acids, bases, oils and greases. Ok, this does not play a big role in archery, but we do not want to keep this information from anyone.
- EF targets can be safely handled, transported and stored without additional safety precautions.
- PE waste can be disposed of without problems, no hazardous waste!
Now, however, comes the bombshell:
Ethafoam has only a 2% water intake during a 24-hour underwater storage. Now, some might say, “well, are we diving when doing our bow sport?” No, of course not, but discs that stand on the outdoor shooting range and are persistently rained on – which in our latitudes, unfortunately, from time to time is the case – suck up water like a sponge, especially the open-cell foams or Stramit, however, Ethafoam does not.
What is the disadvantage when a disc is full of water like a sponge? It becomes heavier (extremely heavier) and it is more susceptible to UV light. The water in open-cell structures makes the foam age faster and it becomes brittle. And then imagine, we come into the cold season with rain, snow and cold spells. You go to do your bow sport and have no Ethafoam discs, but another. The disc is now no longer filled with water, no, it is now filled with ice crystals! Imagine a wet sponge that was in the freezer. You might as well shoot on ice sheets. What happens with your arrows in that scenario is quite clear.
The Ethafoam targets of BY BEIER GERMANY are processed in such a way that a steel sheet strapping is not necessary, which, of course, will spare your arrows when you accidentally hit the edge of the disc.
We hope to have clarified some possible questions with the given information.